Monday, February 1, 2016

From The Earth To The Moon (1958)

Starring Joseph Cotten, George Sanders, Debra Paget, Don Dubbins, Henry Daniell
Directed by Byron Haskin
(actor & director credits courtesy IMDB.com)

In 19th century America, a brilliant inventor plans to test a powerful new explosive by firing it at the moon, but when persuaded otherwise, he modifies his plans to travel there in a spaceship.

Based on a novel by Jules Verne, this is a rather disappointing misfire considering the quality of the source material and the talent in front of and behind the camera.  Although the picture starts out with promise, setting up a worthy conflict between Cotten and Sanders as well as an impressive demonstration of the "Power X" explosive, and introducing us to a well-designed rocketship, once the characters take off on the rocket, the film takes a turn for the worse.  Lackluster special effects, overly technical explanations that are difficult to follow, and the ill-conceived re-use of "electronic tonalities" from Forbidden Planet take over from that point on, robbing the film of the excitement the screenplay had built up.  According to Wikipedia, the film's studio, RKO Radio Pictures, went into bankruptcy and had to sell the film off to Warner Brothers for its release, so perhaps budgetary concerns played some role in the finished product.   

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