Tuesday, January 11, 2011

1950 - DESTINATION MOON, obviously outdated space travel film is still interesting

The first trip to the Moon as envisioned by science fiction writer Robert A Heinlein in his quasi serious science fiction phase and produced by George Pal coming off of his puppetoon shorts. 

Well they got a lot of things right and they got a lot of things wrong.  Heinlein's story proposes that only private industrialists in an altruistic mood (!) will finance, build and fly the first rocket to the moon.  The United States government will be more of a pain in their side than a partner in this enterprise.  The film also contains warnings about an unseen foreign source agitating the public to undermine the space launch, the 1950's favorite bogeyman communist Russia. 

The crew was played by character actors which helps to communicate a sense of realism to the story, no big time Hollywood star to bring any image baggage to the film.  However one of the actors, Dick Wesson who plays Joe the radio operator, the comic relief, and man is he ever the comic relief with his cracks about hot dates with dames and trying to see who the Brooklyn Dodgers are playing from his view in space.  Wesson is very grating.  Joe the radio operator is supposed to be the regular guy along with these egghead scientists for the audience to identify with.

The famous 1950's science fiction illustrator Chesley Bonestell appears to have been responsible for a lot of the look of the film.  He certainly was in charge of the impressive moonscape paintings.  Destination Moon was filmed on a low budget, Bonestell's paintings had a lot to do with making the film look more expansive then it is.

The scenes outside of the spaceship are obviously animated using some of George Pal's puppetoon effects, very clever.

The spaceship "Luna" still looks very cool.

91 minutes.

No comments: