Director: Charles Lamont
Writers: D.D. Beauchamp and John Grant
Cast: Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, Mari Blanchard, Robert Paige, Horace McMahon, Martha Hyer, Jack Kruschen, Joe Kirk, Jean Willes, Anita Ekberg, James Flavin, Jackie Loughery, Ruth Hampton, Valerie Jackson, Renate Huy, Jeanne Thompson, Jeri Miller, Judy Hatula, and Elza Edsman
Composer: Joseph Gershenson
Release Date: 4/6/1953
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
While inside a top-secret facility, lab worker Lester (Bud Abbott) and his goofball companion Orville (Lou Costello) launch a rocket intended for Mars. Accompanied by fugitives Harry (Jack Kruschen) and Mugsy (Horace McMahon), Lester and Orville go on a series of adventures in their commandeered rocketship.
Relying on copious slapstick over intelligent wordplay, this offering earns its reputation as the weakest Abbott and Costello feature. Specifically, Abbott and Costello Go to Mars is hampered by drawn-out pacing and mediocre humor.
Fooling around on a rocketship, Orville activates the ignition button, flies across the country, and lands in New Orleans during a Mardi Gras celebration. Believing themselves on another planet, Lester and Orville mistake the costumed participants for hideous alien creatures—the funniest gag in the entire movie, despite dragging on much longer than necessary.
Abbott and Costello Go to Mars may evoke criticism for emphasizing two escaped convicts, one clever and the other dim-witted, instead of Bud Abbott and Lou Costello—the titular stars of this film—for the majority of comic relief.
Also poorly executed is the final act, wherein Lester, Orville, and the two bandits arrive on Venus and discover that beautiful, Amazonian women have controlled the planet since men were banished long ago. Though potentially humorous, the Venusian subplot consumes an inordinate amount of the film’s 77-minute running time.
Spoofing popular science fiction classics of the early space age, Abbott and Costello Go to Mars pays amusing tribute to Destination Moon, Rocketship X-M, and Flight to Mars.
Abbott and Costello Go to Mars benefits from the usual hijinks of its eponymous duo. Sci-fi fans and comedy buffs may, however, wish to avoid this middling entry in Abbott and Costello’s line-up of films.
Overall Quality: 5/10
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