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King of the Rocket Men (1949)

Passed  |   |  Action, Adventure, Crime  |  8 June 1949 (USA)
7.2
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 747 users  
Reviews: 13 user | 5 critic

Jeff King in his experimental rocket suit battles the evil Dr. Vulcan.

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Writers:

(as Royal Cole) , , 1 more credit »
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Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Tristram Coffin ...
Jeffrey King
...
Don Haggerty ...
Tony Dirken
House Peters Jr. ...
Burt Winslow
James Craven ...
Prof. Millard [Chs. 1-7, 10]
...
Prof. Bryant
Douglas Evans ...
Chairman [Ch. 12]
Ted Adams ...
Martin Conway [Chs. 1-4]
Stanley Price ...
Gunther Von Strum
Dale Van Sickel ...
Henchman Martin [Ch.1] / Prof. Drake [Ch. 1] / Henchman Gates [Chs. 6-7, 9-11]
Tom Steele ...
Henchman Knox [Chs. 1, 3-4, 7] / Taxi Driver [Chs. 10-11]
David Sharpe ...
Henchman Blears / Cliff / Stark
Eddie Parker ...
Rowan [Ch. 3]
Michael Ferro ...
Henchman Turk [Ch. 8]
Frank O'Connor ...
Warehouse Guard [Chs. 1, 10]
Edit

Storyline

Prof. Millard pretends to be dead and helps Jeff King ferret out Vulcan, the evil traitor at the science academy. Donning his Rocket Man costume King goes from one hair raising rescue to the next in order to keep the newly invented Decimator out of the clutches of Vulcan and his minions. Written by Randy Spencer <spencer@ricochet.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Watch "Rocket Man" sweep from the clouds to battle America's enemies! (original poster) See more »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

8 June 1949 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der König der Raketenmänner  »

Box Office

Budget:

$165,592 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(12 episodes)

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

This was another of Republic's titles to use a play-on-words for "King of..." "King" was actually the name of the main character. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Siskel & Ebert 500th Anniversary Special (1989) See more »

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User Reviews

 
The best of the three "rocket man" serials
19 May 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

1949's "King of the Rocket Men" was the first of three serials from Republic Pictures featuring a man wearing essentially the same rocket suit and helmet. The other two, both released in 1952, were "Radar Men From the Moon" and "Zombies of the Stratosphere." All three have things going for them though, each time, Republic tried to reinvent the character ... Jeff King in "King," Commando Cody in "Radar," and Larry Martin in "Zombies." The first and second serials were later revised for different purposes. "King of the Rocket Men" was edited to remove the cliffhanger sequences and the "remember when" episode (the one which is primarily flashbacks of prior chapters) and re-released it as a feature film titled "Lost Planet Airmen" in 1951. And "Radar Men From the Moon" was released as a 12-episode TV series under the new title, "Commando Cody: Sky Marshall of the Universe" in 1953. The third serial, "Zombies," while not remade, is probably the best remembered since it marked the science-fiction feature film acting debut of Leonard Nimoy (later, Mr. Spock of Star Trek fame) playing Narab, a Martian zombie.

But, "King of the Rocket Men" was the best of the three. Especially during 1949 and subsequent years, it was far more believable to envision a potential traitor, blackmailing government entities and possibly selling secrets to a foreign power than to believe in invaders from the Moon or Mars (in "Radar" and "Zombies," respectively). Also, and this is just my opinion, the two later serials seemed a bit contrived ... like they were merely attempting to cash in on the success of "King" ... a very well-acted serial for the time with an iron-clad plot line.

So, why the 8 of 10 rating? Back in 1949, money was tight in the studios. And sometimes, it was cheaper to "buy" special effects than it was to make them. That's exactly what Republic Pictures did. Since they wanted cataclysmic special effects in the last chapter but didn't want to spend the money, they simply bought rights to the 1933 film, "Deluge," for the sole purpose of borrowing the special effects footage for use in "King." And while there's nothing inherently wrong in such a practice (it has been done many times by Hollywood), it almost forced "Deluge" into obscurity. There were very few copies of "Deluge" available and, after Republic borrowed the scenes, they trashed the rest of the footage. Fortunately, one copy (not the Italian one with English subtitles) was discovered in France and it has since been preserved (though not openly released by any studio). In English? Don't know.


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