Stanislaw Lem Film Retrospection: Ikarie XB 1
Voyage to the End of the Universe, Original title: Ikarie XB 1, CZ, 1963, drama sf, 88 min. Version ORG, sub titles ENG
Director: Jindrich Polák, Writers: Stanislaw Lem (novel "The Magellanic Cloud"), Pavel Jurácek (adaptation), Casts: Zdenek Stepánek, Frantisek Smolík, Dana Medrická
This is for sf-film completists. It seems to fill a gap between the late-50's style of sf movie and the forever-after effects of Star Trek and Kubrick's "2001." The only version you're likely to see is the American International release. The Encyclopedia of SF says the original film is in color, but AI's print is B&W, probably to save costs on the number of prints they may have made from a film I suspect they got for little money in the first place.
The story is about a big "community" sized spaceship making a long journey to "the green planet." Another reviewer said the ship was faster than light, but a couple of references to time-dilation effects in the dialog make it more likely that the ship was a near-lightspeed model. This has an influence on the spooky atmosphere that pervades the whole film, making the crew/community highly insular, as they realize they are cut off completely from the lives they have left behind.
The sfx are slightly better than Dr. Who episodes of similar vintage, with a couple of really good spacesuits and an unusual design for the ship itself. There's also a very, very neat shot of the ship in orbit around its destination that is a dead ringer for a similar moment in "Alien," and quite effective (in both films), in a way that most movies about spaceships seem to forego.
Still, the story rambles and seems kind of shallow. The sets and sfx aren't bad, but don't make up for the weak script. I recommend this for true lovers of the form (as I am), because you just wouldn't want to be left wondering what might have been going on in sf films, even east European ones, in the early '60s. Here's your answer.