Andrei Sayenko (Boris Borisyonok) writes a song for his girlfriend Tanya Krilova (Larisa Gordeichik). The song goes out into space where it is heard by a race on the far off planet of Centuria. The humanoid life on Centuria decides to contact Earth. They travel across the vastness of space but their spaceship encounters problems so they land on Mars. They send a message to Earth that they need help. Earth sends a rescue mission. Andrei and Tanya are both cosmonauts. Tanya is sent on the mission but Andrei is not.

The rescue ship eventually reaches Mars but because of solar interference they use more fuel then they planned so they can’t continue to orbit the planet or they risk not having enough fuel to return to Earth. The ship lands on the planet surface. They manage to find the alien ship but there is only one passenger on it and he is dead. They believe the other aliens left in an emergency ship but they don’t know where it went.

A second, smaller ship is sent to Mars. This one has two cosmonauts on board. One is Andrei and the other is Ivan Batalov (Otar Koberidze). The second ship was sent to deploy some observation satellites around Mars to try to find the other aliens. They cannot land on Mars so they land on one of Mars’ moons, Phobos.

On Phobos they find the second alien ship. There are two aliens on the ship but only one is alive. It is a female alien (T. Pochepa) and she is injured. The alien needs medical care so Andrei and Ivan need to get her to the main ship. They have a problem in that their small ship is not able to carry three passengers. If they are to save the alien, one of them must stay behind on Phobos and be left to die.

“Encounter in Space” AKA “Mechte Navstrechu” AKA “Meeting a Dream Halfway” AKA “A Dream Come True” AKA “The Galaxy Applauds You” was released in 1963 and was directed by Mikhail Karyukov and Otar Koberidze. It is a Russian science fiction movie and was based on the novel “Heart of the Universe” by Olesya Berdnik. The film is very obscure but I have seen it on youtube.

Footage from this movie and “Nebo Zovyot” (The Sky Falls) were used by Roger Corman to make his film “Queen of Blood” 1966. The stories are similar in that they involve aliens stranded on Mars and Earth goes to rescue them. The main difference between the two is that the alien “Queen” in Roger’s movie turns out to be a blood sucking vampire. To tell you the truth I liked Roger’s take on the story better.

The movie was made during the height of the cold war. Most Russian science fiction films of the sixties were heavy handed in the propaganda area. Because of that, and the lack of a vampire queen, the Russian story is not as interesting. The visuals are stunning and the cinematography is fantastic. That’s the reason “Queen of Blood” looks so good. The Russian film has singing and is more of a romantic view of space and the unknown. It also incorporates a narrator (Vitold Janpavlis) who adds some poetic views of the cosmos. It is a good movie and a good story with some wonderful miniatures and special effects but a lot more flowery and a little on the boring side.