This was exciting - Disney versus DC Comics! This movie was filmed in two weeks in 1967, and looks like it. It stars Tommy Kirk (best known for his career with Disney in films such as Old Yeller, The Shaggy Dog, and The Monkey’s Uncle) and Yvonne Craig (the original Batgirl). Sadly, that was pretty much the only exciting part about this movie.
It begins with random little vignettes - a woman playing tennis, one out to dinner with a man, one taking a shower - and one by one the women suddenly disappear. From there we cut to a government facility where they’ve received a message: Mars needs women!
Suddenly Tommy Kirk appears in the facility - he’s on a mission from Mars - they’re having a fertility crisis and have come to Earth looking for female volunteers to come back with them. Naturally the authorities are outraged - worldwide.
Even though Tommy asked for volunteers, the authorities are looking at this as a threat and send rockets off to look for the Mars ship. They can’t see it and it doesn’t show up on radar, so they send a ship armed with a warhead in the general direction they think the Mars ship is but hit an invisible wall - Martians are able to neutralize anything that can scan them.
Meanwhile, the Martian ship hides in an old ice factory and the Martians, armed with flashlights from Sears, climb out of a hatch one by one. Tommy Kirk is dressed in what pretty much looks like a black wet suit (like scuba divers use) complete with a hood and little ear pieces stuck to the side with antennae sticking up. Five more Martians climb out through the hatch dressed the same only their suits are silver with black sleeves. They’re on a mission - Operation Sleep Freeze!
Tommy Kirk, apparently their fearless leader, sends them off for money, transportation, and earth clothing. Apparently they know karate - one of them karate chops some guy at a filling station and robs the till. Another one steals a car - guess they have cars on Mars because he knows how to drive. Another steals clothes (and complains bitterly about the ties when they dressed). They have 20 hours to each choose, research, and abduct a woman that meets their exact specifications.
They go cruising (not sure what city) - one of them gets out at a movie theatre, one goes to a strip club, two of them (Tommy and “the doctor”) go to a hotel but it’s full and they’re told they can wait in the bar. They watch a news report on TV about a genetics expert (Yvonne Craig) who’s arrived to offer advice in this time of crisis. She’s an expert on space sex and is giving a talk in the hotel which makes them very excited (in a deadpan sort of way).
They use Martian mind control to steal a room from a reporter and then use a communications console to see how the others are doing. They get a little worried when the guy in the strip club doesn’t answer - he’s mesmerized by the stripper (who's played by a real stripper) and followers her back to her dressing room. Tommy Kirk is going after Yvonne, the doctor is going to wait for the next day when the coeds come out to play.
Tommy goes down to the press conference where the reporters are giving Yvonne a hard time. He asks her a couple of serious, valid questions which she jumps all over in gratitude. She seems sympathetic to the Martian’s quest. That’s pretty much it for the press conference, and she ends up flirting with Tommy and they go for a walk to the planetarium. The show is about Mars and partway through the tape breaks and Tommy continues the dialogue that goes with the movie being shown. Yvonne is impressed (so is the curator).
They go for a walk as the sun sets - he looks a little shell shocked as he goes back to his room. One of the guys is wandering around the airport and has his sights set on a stewardess. He uses some kind of Martian mojo on her. Another is at a college football game - sets his sights on the homecoming queen and uses the Martian mojo on her.
Back to Yvonne where she’s in some kind of meeting with some scientists and the military. Some guy is talking about how the Martians are able to use hypnosis to kidnap the women - three women have disappeared without a trace.
The doctor is following a blond artist - uses the Martian mojo on her. Cut back to the strategy meeting. Yvonne suggests the ship could be at the old ice factory - she explains about “sleep freeze” for space travel. They decide to make a raid on the factory after sunset.
Yvonne and Tommy go for a drive after dark - they go to an exhibit on genetics (that showcases the work of her dead father) at some museum. She lets slip that they think they’ve found the ship and they’re going to raid it at 9. Tommy takes off and she follows - they drive to the factory in silence (she doesn’t even ask what’s going on). Tommy rushes inside where the others (back in their Martian suits) have the four missing women unconscious on tables. He tells them to abort the mission.
At this point Yvonne figures out who he is. He doesn’t want to go back to Mars and argues with the others. Meanwhile, soldiers surround the building. Tommy finally agrees to go if they leave Yvonne behind - he loves her. Yvonne cries as they leave. The ship escapes but they had to leave the women. Yvonne and the army guys stare up at the departing ship, more crying.
All in all, this movie wasn’t all that bad. That’s not to say it was particularly good, it just wasn’t really bad. The story was kind of sketchy and the action was pretty choppy, and despite assurances they were looking for volunteers, they had to use their mojo on each of the women. The movie pretty much tanked Tommy Kirk’s career, although it didn’t seem to do Yvonne Craig any harm. And although it was intended for a theatre release, it went straight to television.
I found it kind of strange that after all their effort they ended up going home empty handed. If they could pass so easily as human, why didn’t they just stay? I guess we’ll never know. All we’re left with is the sad fact that Mars still needs women.