Devil Girl from Mars (1954)

Edward J. and Harry Lee Danziger may have come from America, but their films were all over UK screens through the 50’s and 60’s. Devil Girl from Mars is a great example of the kind of movies they made money with.

Patricia Laffan was Empress Poppaea in Quo Vadis — with costumes by Herschel McCoy, hairstyles by Sydney Guilaroff and jewelry by Joseff of Hollywood — before this movie and an international fashion impresario after this. She owns every single moment of screen time as Nyah, the title character.

Accompanied by one of the goofier robots ever — Chani is its name — she also has a raygun that she uses to kill anyone that gets in her way, seeking men to come back to help repopulate her planet, which has been dying off ever since a devastating battle between the sexes that one would assume that the women have won.

She can’t find a single man willing to go back to Mars with her. This is why this movie is science fiction, because Nyah — and Laffan herself — is absolutely stunning.

Maybe it’s because she’s landed right in the middle of a soap opera, because she’s outside a bar where a fashion model (Hazel Court, Dr. Blood’s Coffin) is running away from the runways of New York City and a relationship with a married man. And at the very same place, a convict who accidentally killed his wife has come to reunite with the barmaid (Adrienne Corri, Mrs. Alexander from A Clockwork Orange) who he really loves.

What’s even more interesting is that while The Day the Earth Stood Still presents Klaatu as Jesus, this movie pretty much presents Nyah as an evil Virgin Mary. Or seeing as how Laffan had dark reddish eyes and green eyes, perhaps we can see her as the Scarlet Woman, come to Earth to lead us to the End Times.

One final irony: Laffan was a lesbian and the last girlfriend of divorce lawyer Frances Blacket Gill, the first female lawyer in the UK. So how strange is it that she’s here on Earth ready to kill men to get them to copulate with her?

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