Project Moon Base

∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗ 

(3/10) In a nutshell: This rather inventive and surprisingly scientifically ambitious film was a TV pilot halfway through filming. Unfortunately the TV budget shows. A Communist saboteur infiltrates a 1970 reccie flight for the first American moon base, and the two pilots are more interested in settling the fifties war of the sexes than actually doing their jobs. A thin and silly script with a mixed but ultimately stuffy gender message. Crude but fun special effects save the film.

Project Moon Base (1953). Directed by Richard Talmadge. Written by Robert A. Heinlein and Jack Seaman. Starring: Donna Martell, Ross Ford, Hayden Rorke, Larry Johns, Herb Jacobs. Produced by Jack Seaman for Galaxy Pictures. IMDb score: 2.8

Modelwork by Jacques Fresco on Project Moon Base.

Modelwork by Jacques Fresco on Project Moon Base.

I have just finished my review of Cat-Women of the Moon (1953), in which I bemoaned the turgid sexism of that particular fifties turkey, only to be thrown into a film that is, if possible, even worse in that department, although it tackles it from a slightly different perspective. Continue reading

Advertisements

Destination Moon

∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗ 

(6/10) In a nutshell: The first real serious big-budget science fiction film made in the United States by the father of the fifties’ sci-fi craze, George Pal, was released in 1950. Not only sci-fi fans, but NASA, can thank this movie for boosting a national interest in outer space and for convincing many that a moon flight might actually be possible. Audiences were wowed by the vivid Technicolor photography of the moon and outer space and, disregarding blunders like the nuclear powered rocket, the science is solid. Unfortunately as a drama this is just about as exciting as reading the phone book.

Destination Moon (1950). Directed by Irving Pichel. Written by Alford Van Ronkel, Robert A. Heinlein, James O’Hanlon. Starring: John Archer, Warner Anderson, Tom Powers, Dick Wesson. Produced by George Pal for George Pal Productions. Tomatometer: 60 %. IMDb score: 6.4

Taking a space walk on Destination Moon.

Taking a space walk on Destination Moon.

This is one of those films where you sort of have to tread a bit carefully when reviewing: it is considered by many to be one of the most important films in science fiction, however it influenced the industry and the audience more than it did the actual films that followed in its wake. Key players in the foundation of NASA cite the film as an inspiration, and it opened the door for science fiction, which had up until then been assigned to cheap kiddie serials and B horror movies, into the big league in Hollywood. But although it is admired by many, it is loved by few. Continue reading