A sci-fi spoof is a rare commodity but a musical sci-fi spoof (and an operetta at that!) is most probably unique; for the record, Vittorio Cottafavi's film career was also unprecedented in that, while the unexpected box-office failure of his masterpiece THE HUNDRED HORSEMEN (1964) curtailed it untimely, fortunately he managed to turn this setback to his advantage by immersing himself in prestigious TV work for the next 20 years!
The occasionally hazy-looking black-and-white show (preceded by an amiably obtuse introduction from composer Roman Vlad) runs for just over an hour: set in 2250, the world is divided in two warring factions the Triangle (that lies below the Equator) and the Square (above the Equator); the former send a rocketship-ark that is singularly controlled from Amarillo, Texas, U.S.A. but containing six Southern Italian astronauts (the Captain, a stowaway from the North in love with him, a bitchy Countess, an engineer and two slogan-spouting officials) and a bunch of peasants accompanied by their farm animals!
The opening mechanical ballet of the Triangular Earthlings is shot by Cottafavi in a highly stylized fashion; the dialogue is almost entirely sung, although the comical Captain does slip in some amusing Sicilian slang on occasion. Even so, the score (which includes a musical piece by the animals as they are being conducted into the spaceship!) is not excessively obtrusive despite being in a format I don't generally appreciate.
In the course of the film, the world explodes (another notably abstract sequence) and the crew are divided on what their next step should be i.e. returning to Earth to see what can be salvaged or proceeding to Saturn as instructed; through deceitful measures which imprison the naysayers into an anti-gravity cell, the rocketship eventually sets course back home. The epilogue, then, sees an Earthling a century later getting the Icarus itch to fly all over again by donning feathered wings, plunge himself off a cliff and diving headfirst into the sandy beach below!!
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