IMDb > Toward the Unknown (1956)
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Toward the Unknown (1956) More at IMDbPro »

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Down 52% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Beirne Lay Jr. (written by)
View company contact information for Toward the Unknown on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
October 1956 (USA) See more »
ROCKET SHIP PILOTS, U.S.A.! (original print ad - all caps) See more »
At the dawn of supersonic flight in the 1950s a group of Edwards Air Force Base experimental aircraft test pilots push themselves to the limit. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
User Reviews:
It's mainly Great, a hash of both good and bad... See more (30 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

William Holden ... Maj. Lincoln Bond

Lloyd Nolan ... Brig. Gen. Bill Banner
Virginia Leith ... Connie Mitchell

Charles McGraw ... Col. 'Mickey' McKee

Murray Hamilton ... Maj. Bromo Lee

Paul Fix ... Lt. Gen. Bryan Shelby

James Garner ... Lt. Col. Joe Craven

L.Q. Jones ... 2nd Lt. Sweeney

Karen Steele ... Polly Craven
Bartlett Robinson ... Senator Black

Malcolm Atterbury ... Hank - Bell Technical Rep.
Ralph Moody ... Harvey Gilbert
Maura Murphy ... Sarah McKee
Carol Kelly ... Debbie
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Richard H. Cutting ... Doc Bailey - Flight Surgeon (uncredited)
John Daheim ... Stranger in Nightclub Fight (uncredited)
Cathy Ferrara ... Lucy Craven (uncredited)
Don C. Harvey ... Jerry the Bartender (uncredited)
William Henry ... AP Captain (uncredited)
Robert Hover ... Pilot (uncredited)
Les Johnson ... Pilot (uncredited)

Nelson Leigh ... Chaplain (uncredited)

Jon Provost ... Joe Craven Jr. (uncredited)
Autumn Russell ... Harriet (uncredited)
Jeffrey Sayre ... Party Guest (uncredited)
Mickey Simpson ... Gate Guard - Edwards A.F.B. (uncredited)
Bob Stratton ... Jimmy (uncredited)

James Westmoreland ... Pilot (uncredited)
Will J. White ... AP Sergeant (uncredited)
Jean Willes ... Carmen (uncredited)
James S. Wilson ... Chase Pilot (uncredited)

Directed by
Mervyn LeRoy 
Writing credits
Beirne Lay Jr. (written by)

Produced by
Beirne Lay Jr. .... associate producer
Mervyn LeRoy .... producer
Original Music by
Paul Baron 
Cinematography by
Harold Rosson (director of photography) (as Hal Rosson)
Film Editing by
William H. Ziegler  (as William Ziegler)
Art Direction by
John Beckman 
Set Decoration by
Ralph S. Hurst  (as Ralph Hurst)
Costume Design by
Moss Mabry 
Makeup Department
Gordon Bau .... makeup supervisor
Production Management
Mel Dellar .... unit manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Al Alleborn .... assistant director: second unit
Russell Llewellyn .... assistant director
Russell Saunders .... second unit director (as Russ Saunders)
Sound Department
Stanley Jones .... sound
Special Effects by
Hans F. Koenekamp .... special effects (as H.F. Koenekamp)
Leo K. Kuter .... special effects art director (as Leo E. Kuter)
Camera and Electrical Department
Harold E. Wellman .... photography: second unit
Paul Mantz .... aerial director of photography (uncredited)
Editorial Department
Thomas Reilly .... film editor: second unit
Other crew
Frank Everest .... technical advisor (as Lt. Col. Frank Everest Jr. ARDC)
Price Henry .... technical advisor (as Maj. Price Henry ARDC)
Ralph Martin .... technical advisor (as Lt. Col. Ralph Martin ARDC)
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
115 min
Color (WarnerColor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (RCA Sound Recording)
Finland:K-12 | Sweden:15 | USA:Approved (certificate #17997)

Did You Know?

The farewell fly-by honoring Lloyd Nolan's character was led by "Pete" Everest (Frank Everest), accompanied by Iven Kincheloe, Lou Schalk, Stu Childs and Robert M. White. All were famous Edwards AFB test pilots.See more »
Factual errors: Early in the film when Bond observes General Banner crash his aircraft, it's referred to as an "F-102". In reality the hulk that Banner is pulled from is a Convair XF-92, the experimental predecessor to the F-102 Delta Dagger.See more »
Brig. Gen. Bill Banner:[to Maj. Lincoln Bond] Even with torture, you're not the kind to crack.See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in The Story of Esther Costello (1957)See more »
The U.S. Air ForceSee more »


This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
12 out of 13 people found the following review useful.
It's mainly Great, a hash of both good and bad..., 14 September 1999
Author: (shaman-9) from Long Beach

I think this is one of the best films on the gritty business of flight testing--back in the days before a bad airplane could be tested inside a computer program.

In several respects, it is a film of its time, with a young L.Q. Jones as a bumbling staff officer, a "love interest" and a sub-plot showing the protagonist, played by Bill Holden, as an agonized alumni of a Korean POW camp. In one of several galling items, he has made an attempt on his own life before the action began, but he is accepted as a test pilot anyway--which is absolutely bogus. Aircraft manufacturers are portrayed badly--which, in the main, the relevant history doesn't support. Disregard of orders is treated with unrealistic indulgence by a commander.

Read Scott Crossfield's autobiography for some corrects on this.

On the other hand, some of the action is simply great. A mythical bomber develops a metal fatigue problem in the air, which another pilot cannot duplicate. Several weeks later, the plane's wing once again fails and this time it costs a third pilot his life. (My personal take on this--there's a big difference between "fixing" the blame and fixing the problem.)

At this point and at several others, the film is a worthy complement to the Edwards AFB scenes of "The Right Stuff". The photography is simply stunning.

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (30 total) »

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