Cultural Gutter: Vaudeville on Mars

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Over on the Cultural Gutter, I’m writing about the musical science fiction spectacle Just Imagine. Vaudeville on Mars is a look at the similarities between the lavish 1930 Fox Studios production and the 1928 Soviet film Aelita, Queen of Mars; as well as a celebration of the outrageous costume and set design.

In my interpretation of The War of the Worlds, the Martians attack hapless planet Earth not because they need water or are merely imperialistic, but in retaliation for us having sent El Brendel to their planet. Armed with the knowledge of the shtick El Brendel will force upon both his Martian and human viewers, when the 1930 science fiction musical comedy Just Imagine asks us to “just imagine,” it seems more of a chilling warning than a hopeful dream.

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