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Rocketship X-M (1950)

Approved | | Sci-Fi | 2 June 1950 (USA)
An astronaut crew on their way to the Moon are unexpectedly propelled by gravitational forces and end up on Mars instead.

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Writers:

(additional dialogue) (as Orville Hampton),
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1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
...
Harry Chamberlain / Voice on Loudspeaker
...
Patrick Aherne ...
Reporter #1 (as Patrick Ahern)
Sherry Moreland ...
John Dutra ...
Physician
Kathy Marlowe ...
Reporter (as Katherine Marlowe)
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Storyline

Astronauts (Lloyd Bridges, Osa Massen, John Emery, Noah Beery, Jr., and Hugh O'Brien) blast off to explore the moon. Because of craft malfunction and some fuel calculations, they end up landing on Mars. On Mars, evidence of a once powerful civilization is found. The scientists determine that an atomic war destroyed most of the Martians (who surprisingly look like humans). Those that survived reverted to a caveman-like existence. Written by Matthew Soffen <matt@tuxie.aai.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The screen's FIRST story of man's conquest of space! See more »

Genres:

Sci-Fi

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

2 June 1950 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Journey into the Unknown  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$94,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When George Pal announced production of his space epic Destination Moon (1950) this film was rushed into production to capitalize on it and beat Pal's film into theaters by several weeks. See more »

Goofs

When the RXM lands on Mars, a rainstorm immediately starts, complete with thunder and lightning. There has not been a rainstorm on the planet Mars in billions of years at least. See more »

Quotes

Dr. Karl Eckstrom: With that differential of six over N to the thirtieth power the halfway check result is two hundred and sixty-two thousand to three hundred and forty-one thousand both using tangent E, correct?
Dr. Lisa Van Horn: That isn't the result I have.
Dr. Karl Eckstrom: They must be the same. There is an error there.
Dr. Lisa Van Horn: [defensive] I have made no error, Doctor Eckstrom.
Dr. Karl Eckstrom: I have to say that you have made and error and to discard your figures. I'm sorry.
Dr. Lisa Van Horn: [sarcastic] Don't be.
Dr. Karl Eckstrom: Surely you are not going to let emotion enter into this?
Dr. Lisa Van Horn: [dejected] ...
[...]
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Excellent, Memorable Little Film
12 September 1999 | by (Chicago, Illinois) – See all my reviews

This is one I've carried in my memory for years.

Without the Technicolor budget of George Pal and Robert Heinlein's "Destination Moon," "Rocketship X-M" succeeds in becoming a far more meaningful and memorable pre-"2001" science fiction film.

"Destination Moon" attempts a "scientific" preview of man's first lunar visit. Of course, this effort seriously dates the movie (I also smile at the rather whimsical, seat-of-the-pants, "outsider" endeavors of our heros as they manfully put forth, launching their rocket one-step ahead of the narrow-minded "authorities." Okay, so much for that!).

Rocketship X-M had to vie with "D.M." for entertainment bucks at the box office. X-M's b&w budget (with special effects courtesy of White Sands V-2 stock footage and model-making of the string and cardboard variety) didn't allow the producers to throw a lot of "science" at us, however. What they did have going for them, however, were a few excellent character actors doing star-turns for a change of career-pace, a script by Dalton Trumbo, music by Ferde Grofe, and excellent -- and evocative -- sound and camera work...etc.

Granted: The film's overall messages are a bit simplistic -- nuclear war is bad and should be avoided and the human spirit for exploration and discovery cannot be put down by failure and difficulty (I guess they never considered budget shortfalls as a "failure of spirit"). These ideas are, at least, given voice here during what was, after all, a dangerous era in American politics. Remember, Dalton Trumbo was blacklisted!

The science? Okay, it sucks. Who cares!? Science fiction, to my liking, is less about science and numbers than it is about people and life. This has all of that and carries it forward with distinction and class.

When I first saw this movie as a kid, I remember being truly frightened by the bleak view of a post-apocalyptic Mars and shivered in disbelief then terror at the onrushing tragedy of the about-to-crash rocket bearing the two doomed lovers and their sole-surviving crew-mate (a young Hugh O'Brien) to a fiery demise over the Ural Mountains. The producers did a terrific job with what they had and they deserve a great deal of credit.


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