We must at every cost communicate with it.
In 1985 engineers involved in a construction project unearth a mysterious "spool". The spool is found to be made of a material unknown on Earth. It is believed the spool is linked to the Tunguska explosion of 1908. There is speculation that the explosion that was originally blamed on a meteor was actually caused by an alien spaceship.
Professor Harringway (Oldrich Lukes) deduces the alien craft must have come from Venus. The spool is determined to be a flight recorder. An international team of scientists led by Professor Sikarna (Kurt Rackelmann) and Dr. Chen Yu (Tang Hua-Ta) are able to partially decode the spool. The scientists send radio greetings to Venus but they go unanswered. Professor Harringway believes that the only way to get answers is to journey to Venus. The Soviet spaceship Cosmostrator, intended to voyage to Mars, is redirected to Venus. The trip will take approximately a month. During the voyage, Professor Sikarna works on the spool to try to translate the remaining alien message using the spaceship's computer.
As they approach Venus radio interference from the planet cuts the crew off from communicating with Earth. By then, Sikarna has completed his translation of the Venusian message. The spool describes a Venusian plan to invade the Earth and exterminate mankind. The news stuns the crew. Harringway discusses with the rest of the team whether or not to continue on to Venus. The team decides to press on and land on the planet.
With the ship's robot, Omega, American astronaut Robert Brinkman pilots a one-man landing craft. He will scout out the area before the ship lands in case there is danger. The ship can only land once and take off once so the team needs to be cautious. They don’t know what they will find on the planet surface.
“First Space Ship on Venus” is an American dubbed and chopped version of the German-Polish film “The Silent Star”. It was originally released in 1960. The US version was released in 1962. I don’t know how long the original film was. I’ve heard everything from 130 minutes to 93 minutes. The American version is somewhere around 79 minutes.
Even though the movie was sliced and diced it still retains a good amount of continuity. I could follow along with the plot with basically no problem. Most of the stuff that was cut out was character development. The action is still there and the sights and sounds on Venus are basically as they should be. The film was based on Stanislaw Lem's 1951 novel "Astronauci" ("The Astronauts"). It’s an Eastern Bloc movie so there’s plenty of cold war feel to it.
As for the film itself; I was rather pleased with it. The special effects were better than I thought they would be. The spacesuits actually looked like spacesuits. The matte paintings were quite good. The Venusian landscapes were interesting. The rocket was what I expected it to look like for the time. All in all a decent movie.