Also known as: The Stranger (original TV movie title)
Release Date: February 26th, 1973
Directed by: Lee H. Katzin
Written by: Gerald Sanford
Music by: Richard Markowitz
Cast: Glenn Corbett, Cameron Mitchell, Sharon Acker, Lew Ayres, George Coulouris, Steve Franken, Dean Jagger, Tim O’Connor
Bing Crosby Productions, Fenady Associates, 100 Minutes
This movie exists as The Stranger and as Stranded In Space. The only real difference is that Stranded In Space was re-released on VHS in the ’80s and it had a new credits sequence that looks very ’80s. This was kind of confusing for the era this was made in and for the overall look of the picture. That credit sequence wasn’t even made up of shots from The Stranger, instead, it was made up of footage from a low budget 1983 sci-fi film called Prisoners of the Lost Universe. I have no idea why the film’s distributor did this, as both movies are completely unrelated.
The reason why I watched the Stranded In Space version of this terrible film is because it was featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000. However, even with the riffing of Joel and the ‘Bots, this was a real bore to get through.
But if I’m being honest, the concept and the plot weren’t bad. A NASA astronaut wakes up in a hospital after a mission that saw his crew get killed. He is told that he has to stay under observation and isn’t allowed visitors or even a newspaper. Eventually, he escapes but soon discovers that the planet is very different because he’s not on Earth.
There’s a lot of cool territory to explore with the plot but this film doesn’t care about being an interesting or engaging film, it would rather take a good idea and then throw it into a shredder.
Like several films from this era that MST3K featured, this one was actually a television show. It wasn’t, however, a couple of random episodes strung together, it was a TV movie used to serve as a pilot. But it falls flat, even if it is more coherent than similar MST3K selections.
Pairs well with: a lot of the other sci-fi films riffed on MST3K.