Destination Moon (1950)

Destination MoonDestination-Moon-Poster
Directed by Irving Pichel
Written by Alford Van Ronkel, Robert A. Heinlein and James O’Hanlon from a novel by Heinlein
George Pal Productions
First viewing/Amazon Instant


General Thayer: The reason is quite simple. We are not the only ones who know that the Moon can be reached. We’re not the only ones who are planning to go there. The race is on – and we’d better win it, because there is absolutely no way to stop an attack from outer space. The first country that can use the Moon for the launching of missiles… will control the Earth. That, gentlemen, is the most important military fact of this century.

Turgid story but still an interesting insight on how space travel was envisioned about 20 years ahead of time.

General Thayer and Dr. Charles Cargraves set out to convince the titans of industry to invest in the space program since government will not do so in peace time.  The feasibility of a mission to the moon is illustrated by a Woody Woodpecker cartoon.  The audience is sold and work begins on an atomic-energy-powered  rocket to the moon.

destination moon 1950

Sinister forces sabotage plans to test the rocket by spreading rumors of possible radiation leaks in the area.  So it is decided just to go directly to launch without any testing.  In addition, the radio man has to have an appendectomy at the last minute so the ship takes off with an untrained man aboard.

Our astronauts survive a couple of possible disasters, one by making an early space walk to fix a part, to land on the moon and arrive safely home.

Destination Moon

For sheer entertainment value, I would go with Rocketship X-M, which was actually a low-budget rip-off of this film.  The effects are much better here, though.  I actually learned something from the Woody Woodpecker cartoon!

Destination Moon won the Academy Award for Best Effects, Special Effects.  It was nominated for Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Color.


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