The early 1960s was a turbulent time for the film industry and the Hollywood studio system was becoming a relic of the past as television and other competitors in the entertainment field lured audiences away. Some movie actors could see the writing on the wall and began to pursue film offers outside Hollywood and the U.S. Some of the more famous former studio contract players who escaped and reinvented themselves in Europe were Clint Eastwood, Charles Bronson, Lee Van Cleef, Jean Seberg and Jane Fonda. Even seasoned veterans like Edward G. Robinson, Lee J. Cobb and Bette Davis appeared in movies made overseas but one of the more unusual examples of American actors appearing in an international production is Barry Sullivan and Martha Hyer in Pyro…The Thing Without a Face (1964, aka Fuego in the European market), directed by Julio Coll and filmed in Spain.
Space travel was truly a visionary concept when Jules Verne first introduced it in his 1865 novel From the Earth to the Moon and it continued to attract readers when H.G. Wells explored the idea further a few years later in 1901’s First Men in the Moon. Although both authors were fascinated with science and technology, these novels were essentially outlandish adventures with elements of humor and satire. Even the first acknowledged film about an expedition into outer space—Georges Méliès’s A Trip to the Moon (1902)—was a whimsical fantasy rather than a realistic approach to the subject. Fifteen years later, the release of the Danish film A Trip to Mars (Himmelskibet), directed by Holger-Madsen, announced a new kind of approach.