Destination Moon (1950)

“The race is on — and we’d better win it!”

Synopsis:
A group of astronauts (Warner Anderson, Tom Powers, John Archer, and Dick Wesson) defy the American government by flying their rocketship to the moon.

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Response to Peary’s Review:
As Peary notes, this 1950s classic is a “slow, dated, but influential science-fiction film”. The filmmakers focus primarily on portraying space travel (as-of-yet unachieved) in a realistic manner — in addition to providing a healthy dose of red-baiting, which is the weakest element of the plot by far. Nonetheless, once the astronauts actually get out in space, you’ll be enchanted by their amazement as they experience zero-gravity for the first time. Especially exciting — if a bit contrived — is the finale of the film, in which the four astronauts must figure out how to make their ship light enough for a successful return. It’s a trip watching this movie so many years after it was released, when travelling to the moon — and beyond — is accepted as commonplace; this would make a great double bill with The Right Stuff (1983) — with Destination Moon shown first, of course.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Excellent early special effects
    Destination Moon Special Effects
  • Good focus on the science behind space travel
    Destination Moon Science
  • A humorous Woody Woodpecker cartoon which explains to laypeople how rocket science works
    Destination Moon Woody

Must See?
Yes, simply for its place in film history.

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One Response to “Destination Moon (1950)”

  1. First viewing. Yes, a must for film fanatics due to (as stated) its place in history — here is a case where it’s fascinating to trace the development of a subject as depicted in film. If it’s a little slow in places, it’s also quite watchable. The performances are just adequate but the story’s the thing. Occasionally slightly silly (when they need to lighten their load before returning to Earth, one guy actually says to the others, “Empty your pockets.”), it’s never laughable.

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