Thursday, December 16, 2010

1959 - FIRST MAN INTO SPACE, Criterion tries to mine the cult film culture

Like The Blob, First Man Into Space, is another attempt by Criterion to find a way to tap into the cult film market.  The First Man Into Space, is essentially a vampire film dressed up with the background of late 1950's space travel. 

Two brothers in the military are in conflict, one is a follow the rules kind of guy while the other is a hot shot pilot.  The hot shot pilot is trying to break the atmospheric barrier so he can be the first astronaut, instead his spaceship gets pulverized by space dust which sticks to him and turns him into a blood sucking monster. 

The film isn't the good silly fun is should be.  It plods along from plot point to plot point. Who is the mysterious killer lurking around the countryside?  Does it have anything to do the missing astronaut?  Will the United States military figure it out, etc?

The problem with First Man Into Space is Criterion.  The company is just too much of a class act to do this kind of film.  It gets the best print of the film possible, it finds the original cast and director and interviews them it puts together an outstanding disc.  However the film lacks any of the values of a cult film.  It's not "so bad its good" or has a premise and execution that is completely ridiculous.  Criterion can't quite lower itself to that level. 

 Criterion should stick to what it does best, producing boring dvd's of Bertolucci or Godard films.

77 lame cult minutes.

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