After their their latest rocket fails, Dr. Charles Cargraves and retired General Thayer have to start over again. this time, Gen. Thayer approaches Jim Barnes, the head of his own aviation construction firms to help build a rocket that will take them to the moon. Together they gather the captains of industry and all pledge to support the goals of having the united States be the first to put a man on the moon. They build their rocket and successfully leave the Earth's gravitational pull and make the landing as scheduled. Barnes has miscalculated their fuel consumption however and after stripping the ship bare, they are still 100 lbs too heavy meaning that one of them will have to stay behind. Written by
The rocket uses water, heated by a nuclear reactor, as reaction mass. This system, although with electrical heating, is actually occasionally used for small unmanned rockets for scientific research. Both the US and the Soviet Union tried to build (jet) airplanes on the principle but abandoned the concept because a flying nuclear reactor was too risky. See more »
A radio announcer explains, "It takes three seconds ... for radio waves to travel between the Earth and Moon." In fact it's 1.3 sec each way, but the round-trip causes delays of almost 3 sec in conversation, which probably is what the announcer meant. See more »
[after stepping onto the Moon's surface]
Claim it, Doc! I'm your witness - claim it officially.
Dr. Charles Cargraves:
By the grace of God, and the name of the United States of America, I take possession of this planet on behalf of, and for the benefit of, all mankind.
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At the end of the film, a story of the first flight to the Moon, the words THIS IS THE END are displayed first, then OF THE BEGINNING is added. See more »
Most science-fiction films are actually raw fantasy, with a disregard for reality that commonly borders on pure contempt. This isn't always a bad thing, since I really like fantasy. But techno-babble and flashy gadgets are too often only gimmicks favored by dumb producers, ignorant directors, and lazy writers who get themselves into of a jam. "Destination Moon" is rare and different. An enormous amount of time and effort were expended to make it as technically accurate as was possible in 1950. Even Kubrick wasn't this consistent in "2001"; he often let gravity appear where it shouldn't be. They never made that mistake in "Destination Moon". So it's unfortunate they didn't spend as much effort on the story and the acting, but both cast and crew were so wrapped up in creating a real moon trip they skimped on these aspects of story telling. The result was surprisingly impressive visuals for the time, but characters who are shallow, trite, and dull, and crises that arise and are solved while leaving us indifferent.
But there is real drama here, the drama of people trying to imagine what was virtually unimaginable back then -- how to actually get people to the Moon and back -- using real physics and engineering. And if it doesn't measure up to the story of "Apollo 13", another technically accurate film about a REAL trip to the Moon, it still stands out as unique among 1950s films and remains almost as unique among all science-FICTION movies ever made.
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