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53 out of 57 people found the following review useful:

I enjoyed the movie, "On the Threshold of Space", very much.

Author: roncyriter from United States
28 March 2005

I was fortunate enough, along with my Air Force, Air Research, Balloon- Launch teammate's to be at Holloman AFB from 1953 to 1957 and took part in the actual making of the movie while they were shooting there for three months, July, August and September, 1955. I was in nine different scenes, working in the background and one "walk across" scene, handling the gondola for launch. Of course, we were not paid, however a Sargent in the outfit did because he had a "speaking line". I was "bigger than life" walking across that Cenimascope and Stereophonic Sound screen at the age of 22. My green '55 Chevy was in the crash scene of the gondola in the desert and I drove it across the sand dunes and mesquite bushes. The gondola was dropped from a crane in that scene and "catsup" was spread on Guy Madison's face and mouth to look like blood! I remember talking baseball and the World Series with Dean Jagger while lying on a mattress in a Quonset hut near the set. He was a "regular Joe". I passed football with Martin Milner, Warren Stevens and John Hodiak on the tarmac near the movie set and launch site...John Hodiak died suddenly one week before the film was finished. Scenes were also shot in Florida. Guy Madison would arrive in his black limousine, late, every morning, with his French wife and poodle. Guy was smoking his cigarette with a cigarette holder dangling in his mouth. Yes, he was very "snooty!" Virginia Leith could not remember her lines and we had to repeat the scenes with her 15 times or so before she would get it right! It was fun helping to make the movie and seeing the finished product at the premier showing on the base in 1956. I made a lot of good friend's including the set electrician while working around the set. He promised me that if I would come to Hollywood after I was discharged, that he could get me a job as Studio Projectionist at Twentieth Century Fox, as I was working part-time at the Frontier theaters in Alamogordo, New Mexico as a projectionist! My life took a different route and I never did take him up on the offer. Could have been a "movie star!" By today's standards it was a humdrum movie and kind of "corny", but it was a chance of a lifetime for me.

Ron K. Brown, Dayton, Ohio retired, now age 71 March 28, 2005

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22 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

Space Medical experiments taken to new heights!

Author: James S. Prine ( from New Orleans, Louisiana
4 September 1999

Guy Madison portrays an Air Force flight surgeon who performs daring experiments in space medicine. He's somewhat of a cross between real-life researchers Col. John Paul Stapp (rider of the famous rocket sled) and Capt. Joseph W. Kittinger, who performed a free-fall parachute jump from a balloon floating at 102,800 feet in 1961...5 years or so after the release of this movie!

The planning and execution of the high-altitude balloon jumps is detailed in this movie.

Admittedly, it's not a film for everyone, and it has its share of cliches, but remember that this was released in 1956. It's an interesting movie, very dated now, but that actually enhances its appeal for those interested in the earliest days of the space program.

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20 out of 23 people found the following review useful:

This is a MUST if you have followed the space program from the begining.

Author: mz4392 from United States, Florida
14 May 2001

I saw this film in 1959 and again in the 1970's and it reminded me how much research and testing went into the space program before John Glenn made his historic entry into space. This film is a must for younger people to see what went on before they were born and how the space program began. Stand back and look at it today and see just how far we have come in just 42 years.

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7 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Fascinating and cerebral

Author: planktonrules from Bradenton, Florida
14 March 2010

I assume this film won't appeal to everyone. It's a bit cerebral and a bit slow, but a very important movie historically. The title of the film refers to the experiments that made even the consideration of space travel possible. In other words, the film is NOT about early rockets or the space program, but experiments on the suitability of humans for the harsh demands this or ultra-high speed planes would put on their bodies. Two particular scientific programs run by the air force are featured here--high speed rocket sled trials as well as super high-altitude balloon flights combined with insanely dangerous parachute drops from as high at 100,000 feet! For folks like me who are fascinated by airplanes and space travel, this film is a must-see. And, instead of the typical science fiction film of the day, this is all based on scientific fact--feats that even today seem extraordinary. What I particularly liked, other than the story, is that the film did NOT rely on grainy stock footage--everything looked very real. And, on top of that, the acting and direction were excellent.

While teens and kids might not sit still for this sort of film, try to get them to. It's highly educational and makes you really appreciate these men and their brave deeds.

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2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

More a training film than a movie

Author: dinky-4 from Minneapolis
15 February 2010

Someone at 20th Century-Fox must have really wanted to make this movie. It would seem to have only marginal appeal to a general audience, lacking in romance for women and in action for men, and top-billed Guy Madison simply didn't have enough box office clout to carry it to success. It has the straightforward, humorless feel of one of those this-is-good-for-you training films you sat through in orientation sessions.

Perhaps for that reason, however, it does have a certain value as a documentary-like glimpse into the very beginnings of the USA's space program in the mid-1950s, unencumbered by phony heroics and comic relief. It also offers a final look at John Hodiak as well as providing a bit of work for the always-welcome Dean Jagger. Guy Madison seems too much of a lightweight for his part and Virgnia Leith can be no more than pleasant. To be fair, however, neither one has much to work with in the script.

Madison has two bare-chest scenes -- one on a beach and one in the bedroom. (He and wife Virginia Leith have separate beds.) In order to project a clean-cut image, Madison's hairy chest has been shaved into a boyish smoothness.

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8 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

About actor Warren Stevens.

Author: williamdonahue999 from United States
31 December 2006

Having met actor Warren Stevens several years ago, and having corresponded with him as such, I can tell you that he is a truly kind gentleman and a World War II hero, having been a Navy pilot in the Pacific Theatre of Conflict. He is always patient and generous with his time and nothing like the villains that he has portrayed on screen! I and many of his fans believe that he never achieved the recognition he truly deserved in the industry. However, he is still acting, just recently appearing on "E.R." and will hopefully be acting for many years to come! He recently did a voice-over for the 50th Anniversary edition of "Forbidden Planet". Here's to you, "Doc" Ostrow, many voyages into the galaxy...

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