Stranger from Venus

A parallel work to Devil Girl from Mars, and another display of British analytical or satirical science fiction, like Quatermass and the Pit or Teletubbies (that spoof of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers).

This time the country inn is visited by a telepathic healer and polyglot. The great cast includes Patricia Neal (from The Day the Earth Stood Still), and Nigel Green in a small part as a baboon-faced bobby; the editor is Peter Hunt, who later directed the James Bond film nobody seems to have liked, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, as well as Shout at the Devil and Gold and Assassination, among others.

The marvel of this rare species is its matter-of-factness. The Venusian cannot outwardly be distinguished from an Earthling save by his vestments, but his fingerprints are an assortment of squares, circles and triangles like the UPN logo. His knowledge of Earth languages is explained rather as Arthur C. Clarke did the French interiors of 2001: A Space Odyssey—TV transmissions have been received on Venus, and given him a picture of Earth. In the end he vanishes, leaving nothing behind him but a lady’s handkerchief.

How this film developed into The Man Who Fell to Earth and Something for Everyone is as much a function of its delicate astringency as of the alien’s power plant, which works both ways. Skolimowski’s The Shout owes a debt to this (or both to Robert Graves), and so does (the long way round) the Lancelot theme of Camelot. The Venusian Elder Brother Peace Plan is expounded in a fascinating bit of writing, and found its way to Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (as well as The Monitors).