First Man Into Space (1959) Poster

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A late night favourite
John Seal5 April 2000
First Man Into Space has its low budget limitations, but it's story is a corker. It's one of the few 50s science fiction stories that question non-atomic technology: how far sure man go? What are the consequences of his thirst for knowledge and experience? This time there are no invading aliens, no throbbing radioactive brains from another planet, and no marauding killer tree stumps. We are simply confronted with a man who crosses a line and tries to come back. It helps that he looks like The Incredible Melting Man, but this is a movie that does more than simply shock the audience.
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Good ideas in a low-budget film.
Bruce Cook2 March 2002
A first rate little sci-fi story, told on a modest budget. Air Force office Marshall Thompson (star of 'It! The Terror from Beyond Space', and 'Fiend Without a Face') is the Earth-bound brother of an undisciplined test pilot who yearns to be be the 'first man into space'.

While testing a new rocket plane, the pilot kicks in all his reserve power and takes his ship right out of the atmosphere. Please note that this not a far-fetched idea in view of the fact that the X-15 had special attitude rockets along the fuselage to allow it to maneuver in the near vacuum of the upper atmosphere!

In space the pilot encounters a strange cloud of meteoric particles that smashes through his canopy and envelopes both his ship and his spacesuit-clad body in a flexible, asbestos-like coating. The material alters his physiology, changing him into creature that can survive in the low pressure of the upper atmosphere but NOT in the killing pressure at sea level.

He returns to Earth as a hideous monster (good makeup), gasping as his lungs struggled with the pressure that he's now unsuited for. In his dazed and desperate mental condition, the monster commits acts of violence, using the razor-sharp edges of his rough coating to slash his victims flesh.

While trying to track down the monster, Thomas and a scientist discuss the possibility of using the strange substance on the wreckage of the rocket plane as a heat shield for future space craft. Nice thinking, there.

All in all, a film with more to think about than to laugh at, unlike so many other low budget 1950s films.
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Low budget sci-fi, but still interesting.
Michael O'Keefe23 September 2000
Rivalry between brothers leads to main story line. Navy Commander Chuck Prescott(Marshall Thompson)has developed the Y12 aircraft to test how far man can go up in the atmosphere. His brother, Lt. Dan Prescott(Bill Edwards), seems to be the best test pilot around and is chosen to go up in the Y12. Dan of course has a problem with taking orders and is also an over confident dare devil.

On Dan's second flight, he hits over the 300 miles up comfort zone and his craft passes through a meteor dust storm. Returning to earth, Dan becomes a monster that resembles 200 pounds of bad asphalt. He also has a demanding craving for blood, whether it be from farm animals or fellow human beings.

Short runtime of an hour and seventeen minutes; black & white with near stoic acting...typical of low budget sci-fi.

Rounding out the cast is Marla Landi, Robert Ayers and Carl Jaffe. Noteworthy trivia: about two months after this film was released; the Russians put the real first man in space.
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Scary as hell
seattlemuse24 April 2013
I also saw this movie in 1959 as an 8-year-old. I went to the theater with my "older" friends, they were like 11-12. The movie scared the wits out of me; I hid my view behind the person sitting in front of me, my friends never let up on making fun of me. This was the first time I had gone to the movies with non-adults...big mistake! The monster was scary and creepy. It haunted me for years. In fact, I probably had some persistent subliminal turmoil over the movie. Fast forward to 2008 and I found the DVD to rent. I watched again, and guess what? The movie is still scary! It's pretty high-camp and was made on a limited budget, but the creepiness is still there. I suppose the fact that the back line story is believable makes it even more scary. Watching it with my wife probably exorcised some demons. Funny how movies can move us, positively or negatively. All my 60 years I can still rehash this event when I was eight. Still the scariest movie I ever saw. I dig it.
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Enjoyable, but don't believe the DVD box artwork
John (opsbooks)10 April 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I came across this movie and wrongly assumed it was a cobbled together compilation of three episodes of William Lundigan's classic MEN INTO SPACE TV series, the year of release (1959) being the same. I've not seen the latter since it first screened in Australia around 1960 so momentarily forgot that the hero in that series was Colonel Edward McCauley and not Commander Charles Prescott! The box art should have cured my memory as McCauley would never have faced a monster.

Much to my surprise I did enjoy the movie. Why my high rating? Considering the low budget, the result was an entertaining, generally well-acted movie. The story was good, certainly well above average for the period when so much dross was being screened. The script could have been better but the actors managed to rise above it for the most part. The photography and direction were first rate.

In one line, I'd suggest this movie was value for money.

The DVD, in Australia anyway, is a good transfer. A cheap release but with no extras.
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Average Sci-Fi monster film.
Paul Andrews10 February 2008
Warning: Spoilers
First Man Into Space is set in Albuquerque where the US Navy are trying to send the first man into space, that man being pilot Dan Prescott (Bill Edwards). Dan pushes things too far & disobeys orders going higher than he should, while in space his spaceship is engulfed by a mysterious cloud of meteorite particles which attach themselves to the ship & Dan inside. Crashing back down to Earth in Mexico Dan has undergone a hideous transformation into a space crud encrusted monster who needs to feed on blood to survive, it's up to Dan's brother Commander Charles Prescott (Marshall Thompson) to hunt Dan down & try to help him...

This English production was directed by Robert Day & feels like an attempt to cash in on the success of Hammer studios The Quatermass Xperiment (1955) in which an astronaut is sent into space comes back turned into some sort of alien monster, personally I think First Man Into Space is a little slow going & not as good as Hammer's effort. The script by John Croydon & Charles F. Vetter for some reason is set in America even though the film was financed & made in England, disappointingly even at a scant 75 minutes in length First Man Into Space felt really padded & slow moving. The first 30 odd minutes are totally forgettable with the initial exploration into space which goes alright & it's the second time Dan goes into space that he gets turned into a monster where I feel it should have been the first, I mean the makers could have hit the ground running with the monster turning up within the first 10 minutes but for some reason they padded the story out. I wouldn't call it a bad film, there's a few minutes of decent monster action & it's competent throughout but I will probably have completely forgotten about it by the end of the week.

Don't be fooled by the DVD box artwork, the monster feels like a secondary sub plot for the majority of the film before it turns up at the end. The monster itself is quite good with it's deformed space mud encrusted face. There's a bit of blood but nothing too graphic. The special effects aren't too bad either, even though the spaceship looks like an ordinary US Navy jet plane the model work is alright as are the scenes set in outer space.

Technically the film is OK, filmed in black and white the cinematography is satisfactory & help make the very English locations look American. There's plenty of stock footage as well just to pad things out even more. The cast are alright, look out for an appearance by Roger Delgado who would later go on to star in several Doctor Who stories from the 70's as the Master.

First Man Into Space is a passable way to spend 75 minutes even though it still seems slow & padded. The monster is decent as are the effects but when all said & done it's nothing special. Although not credited as such AIP remade this in the 70's as the rather good The Incredible Melting Man (1977) which is much, much better & a lot gorier.
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Silly B Movie Without A Shred Of Logic
Theo Robertson9 February 2008
Warning: Spoilers
It's not just Hollywood that is interested in making a fast buck , even the British aren't immune . FIRST MAN INTO SPACE is a rather cynical excersise in remaking a superior story , namely THE QUATERMASS EXPERIMENT , while pretending that it's an American film by casting a couple of American actors while cutting to a sign saying " Welcome To The American State Of ... " at every opportunity . So ignore the tagline of " The first motion picture to lift the veil of the first man in history to be rocketed into the terrifying unknown of outer space " because Nigel Kneale captured this concept several years earlier . It should also be pointed out that New Mexico where much of the story is set has a lack of vast forests as seen here

The real problem however is that there's a serious lack of internal logic . By this I mean you'll be entirely puzzled as to the monster's motive for killing people . For example a couple of highway cops see a car driving erratically , so they stop the car and find a dead female driver and a man mutated into a monster who then kills the cops . Ask yourself this: How would a crazed bloodthirsty monster be able to drive a car ? Perhaps more importantly why would a driver stop to pick up a crazed blood thirsty monster in the first place ? It also becomes more puzzling that this monster is able to articulate its motives when the script demands it at the end of the film . None of this makes much sense

Of course this is a problem with a great number of horror films where in order to follow horror convention so that someone gets killed every 15 minutes people do things that are totally unrealistic and you could argue that if someone is pointing out these faults then they're taking this film far too seriously . Maybe . But there are also some horror films that compelling and thought provoking and FIRST MAN INTO SPACE isn't one of them
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Almost Bearable Baloney
BaronBl00d16 November 2001
Cocky astronaut goes into space and disobeys direct orders from his brother, turns into a one-eyed standing pile of glop, and tears the necks of cows and humans for their blood. Premise of film is totally ridiculous, but everyone involved seems so earnest. That doesn't necessarily(and particularly in this case) mean they are good. The film is very cheaply made with some of the most improbable space flight footage ever shot. Marshall Thompson(from It! The Terror Beyond Space) plays the monster's overbearing, hard-working, tougher than nails brother who frequently throws out one cliche after another. Listening to him call his superior 'Skipper' had me laughing from the get go(okay, thought I would use some well-worn cliches). Thompson is the best the film has to offer in terms of acting. He is stoically adequate at best. Marla Landi is the monster's Italian love interest and looks at least effective in some Capri slacks. The scientific mumbo jumbo churned out is spectacularly immense, with scientific sounding names and theories bombarding the viewer repeatedly. Certainly not a good film(nor anywhere near it), the film does have a unique charm(albeit not over-powering)and does manage to keep the viewer awake throughout the 78 minutes of running time. And some of the scientific premises put forth have some interesting possibilities as well. Do watch out, though, for the pervasive corny dialogue. It gets pretty thick folks!
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Decent Sci-Fi film
vtcavuoto7 January 2006
Warning: Spoilers
"First Man into Space" is one of those movies that doesn't have much in the way of thrills but is good viewing nonetheless. Marshall Thompson is good in the lead as a commander for the space program but the rest of the acting is so-so. The space scenes are dated but hold up O.K. Special effects aren't very special but the make-up is pretty cool. So, why do I recommend this film? It's because it's one of those"so-bad-it's-good" movies. Actually, it's not real bad. I wish there was more action in the film. The pacing is a bit slow in parts and some of the lines are laughable. There were far worse films of this genre though. Still, it's something you may want to catch at least once.
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Good 1950's scifi
dbborroughs3 September 2007
1959 movie about a test pilot who disobeys orders and ends up flying higher than he should -becoming the title in the process. He also returns to earth looking like the burnt casserole man.

Filmed in England yet set in White Sands New Mexico this is a slow but decent little scifi thriller about an experiment that goes horribly wrong. Its the sort of thing you put on late at night to fall asleep to or laugh at or drift off in the ways that black and white movies of the period are prone to make you do.

Not one of my favorites I recently picked it up as part of a Criterion box set called Madmen and Monsters of four lesser films from the late 1950's packaged together with a host of typical extras. Why Criterion would choose these films was a bit beyond me until I realized that all of the films were made by the same producers and were the follow ups to Fiend Without a Face (the crawling brain film) which Criterion put out several years ago. The transfer and such is sterling and the commentary is very informative dealing with the film and the producers life as exploitation filmmakers and to be honest listening to it boosted my appreciation of the film.

Its a good way to see the film- though to be honest I'm still not convinced the film needed a Criterion edition-especially since its pricey set (which I got greatly reduced) will limit peoples exposure to the film.
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FIRST MAN INTO SPACE (Robert Day, 1959) **
MARIO GAUCI27 April 2007
Lame rip-off of THE QUATERMASS XPERIMENT (1955): the first half is deadly dull, even dreary - but the latter stages improve considerably with the scenes involving the rampaging 'monster'. In the accompanying featurette (a rather dry affair at a mere 9 minutes, when compared to the ones created for the other titles in Criterion's "Monsters & Madmen" set), director Day - who admits to not being a fan of the sci-fi genre - tries to justify the film's shortcomings by saying that he had a zero-budget to work with (where all the outer space scenes were composed of stock footage!)...and I'd have been inclined to be more lenient with the film had I not recently watched CALTIKI, THE IMMORTAL MONSTER (1959) - a similar (and similarly threadbare) but far more stylish venture from Italy!

Bill Edwards as the cocky but unlucky astronaut - obsessed with achieving the titular feat - is positively boring at first, but he eventually manages to garner audience sympathy when his physical features are deformed and the character develops a taste for blood! Marshall Thompson as his commanding officer and elder brother is O.K. as a leaner Glenn Ford type; he had previously starred in FIEND WITHOUT A FACE (1958), another (and more successful) Richard Gordon-produced sci-fi which, incidentally, is also available on DVD through Criterion. Italian starlet Marla Landi, struggling with the English language, makes for an inadequate female lead; even her input in the featurette proves to be of little lasting value!

The Audio Commentary is yet another enjoyable Tom Weaver/Richard Gordon track where, among many things, the fact that FIRST MAN INTO SPACE was intended as a double-feature with CORRIDORS OF BLOOD (1958) is brought up - but it was eventually put out as a standalone release, so as to exploit the topical news value of the current space race; it's also mentioned that the monster dialogue was actually dubbed by Bonar Colleano (who, tragically, died in a traffic accident prior to the film's release!). Weaver even recalls a couple of anecdotes from the time when he was involved in the production of the DVD featurette shot by, of all people, ex-cult-ish film-maker Norman J. Warren: Landi, who by then had become a lady of title, was still ready to help out in carrying the equipment necessary to film the interview down several flights of stairs!; Edwards was supposed to have contributed to the featurette but, once in London, he proved reluctant to co-operate with Weaver - eventually, the latter learned that the actor had been recently diagnosed with cancer and, in fact, he died in 2002!
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It's okay--nothing more or less
MartinHafer18 June 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I love 1950s sci-fi films, so seeing FIRST MAN INTO SPACE is a natural. While there are usually two types of sci-fi from the era, serious and bug-eyed monster types, this film managed to be a little of both. In the process, it ended up being neither so super-cheesy it was funny nor serious enough to merit seeing--making it instead an adequate time-passer.

The first third of the film has to do with the experimental rocket plane program of the 1950s. Instead of calling them 'X planes' (like they actually referred to them at the time), they were called 'Y planes' and were concerned with seeing if a rocket plane fired from a bomber (in this case, an old B-50) could pass through the Earth's atmosphere. Problems seemed certain when a hot-shot pilot (the brother of the Commander in charge of this specific program) showed a lack of restraint and caution--taking unnecessary risks to go farther and higher than anyone before this time. Eventually, on the second flight, he actually does leave orbit and then something terrible occurs. The plane crashes, but the pilot is nowhere to be seen. Unknown to everyone is that the guy was alive...of sorts, and is now an enemy of mankind (what else?).

Overall, despite being released by MGM, it has all the marks of a reasonably well-done B-movie from a secondary film studio. All of the actors are unknowns or nearly unknowns and some times they tend to talk over each other's lines. As far as the special effects go, mostly they were excellent for the era...but the guy with the slime layer over him is a bit silly (you'll just need to see it to understand).
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Lack of oxygen in Upper Atmosphere!
sanzar27 May 1999
Marshall Thompson (pre - "Daktari") as Commander Chuck Prescott, toplines this modest sci-fier in earnest fashion as he agonizes over the impulsive behavior of his test pilot brother, a hotshot determined to be the "First Man Into Space". Seems brother Chuck just can't follow orders, as he exceeds the safe-altitude limit of his aircraft and is forced to abandon his mission some 300 miles up, only to find himself in the midst of a "hurricane' of meteor dust.

This mysterious meteoric material coats our spaceman with an impervious crust that leaves him looking like a petrified victim from the last days of Pompeii. Not to mention the fact that he also has an insatiable craving for blood (human, animal; any blood will do).

Space happy Chuck manages to shamble from his crash site all the way back to the aerospace lab, commandeering the odd truck & car along the way, taking a few breaks for some throat slashing & blood drinking. You see, he told his brother he would bring back all the "dope" from his test mission, so he's duty bound to get back to the base & make his report.

Having filled in the brass on what happened, Chuck keels over, dead. End of movie. Final tally: 6 or 8 people and 15 or so cows dead, authorities and service types scratching their heads in bewilderment.

The cast is pretty stiff, giving the entire film a pseudo-documentary feel. Italian love interest Marla Landi gets to talk "some Macaroni" (that's Italian, you know)and wring her hands in distress. Everyone else just looks like their in some other kind of distress.

All in all, pretty quaint, but still better than most direct-to-video sci-fi junk produced these days. Worth a look!
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Excellent Sci-Fi Horror Film
gavin694224 October 2016
The first pilot to leave Earth's atmosphere lands, then vanishes; but something with a craving for blood prowls the countryside...

After being turned down by AIP, Gordon successfully pitched the film idea to MGM. Gordon and Vetter then signed on as producers for the project because of the financial success of their two previous films, "Fiend Without a Face" and "The Haunted Strangler". Because of MGM's financial involvement, the budget set for "First Man into Space" was slightly higher than for the producers' two previous films.

While the film is not terribly well-known today, it is a great movie about space exploration before such things became standard. Indeed, who knew what might happen in space, or if the radiation would be a problem? The makeup and costume effects are excellent, and more than make up for any shortcomings from the actors.
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Obscure 50's Sci-Fi Thriller
babeth_jr27 April 2010
Warning: Spoilers
"First Man into Space" is a somewhat overlooked 1950's sci-fi movie that stars the always reliable Marshall Thompson as Commander Chuck Prescott whose test pilot brother, Lt. Dan Prescott, (portrayed by Bill Edwards) wants to be the first man into space. Lt. Dan disobeys his brothers'and the governments' orders and takes his space capsule farther than any other man has before, and of course, it has disastrous consequences. Dan is turned into a hideously deformed creature who looks like a cross between a pile of concrete and a one eyed cyclops who must drink blood in order to survive.

I like the fact that this movie combined sci-fi with a horror element. The makeup of the tormented Lt. Dan as the creature is truly creepy. The special effects of course are hilarious to watch as they are so dated, but of course this film was made in the late 1950's so this has to be taken into consideration.

Marla Landi portrays Lt. Dan's girlfriend and Robert Ayres rounds out the cast as the gung-ho police captain who is on the hunt for the monster.

This definitely isn't the best sci-fi movie of the 1950's, but it is a fun movie to watch.
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Glum, Gooey, & Downbeat Misfire...Forgotten & Ignored for a Reason
LeonLouisRicci14 April 2017
Not the First and In Fact the Last of the Sci-Fi of the "Sci-Fi" Infused Decade. It came Way Late and not just a Dollar Short.

It's Obscure and Unknown for a Reason. While it did do Good Business and Baby-Boomers Lined Up, it is Not Remembered with Fond Feelings. A Stiff Presentation it Contained Heavy Horror Elements that Stifled some of the Entertainment Value of the then Public's Fascination with all Things Space Travel.

Marshall Thompson is Forever Frowning and Dull as Dirt and the Italian Female Actress Mara Landi is Miscast and a Glaring Misstep. Bill Edwards as Astronaut Dan is an Obnoxious, Strutting Fifties Stereotype until He Returns from Space Humbled to Say the Least.

In the Second Half the Movie Becomes a Blood-Sucking Bore as the "Monster" is Seen Wandering the Countryside like "Frankenstein". It then becomes Extremely Downbeat as the Tragedy Unfolds. If the Reveal was Meant to be a Twist, it Failed Miserably.

Worth a Watch for Sci-Fi Completest with Low Expectations.
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marijuana flick
Lee Eisenberg10 June 2006
While the plot involves a man getting blasted off into space, running into a meteor shower, and getting turned into something resembling a golem carved out of rock and having a strong desire for blood, I notice something else here. There seem to be some references to marijuana. Aside from the fact that they talk about the astronaut being very "high", he says that he'll bring back the "dope". If only they knew what they were saying! As for the movie itself, "First Man Into Space" was mostly like any '50s sci-fi flick. Although what the Italian woman said seems more relevant than ever: "Sometimes you have to understand that people are more important than science." As it is, if I'd had a hubby like that babe, you couldn't have paid me to go into space! All in all, nothing special, but worth seeing.
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A bit dated, but wonderful film.
oscar-3524 June 2014
Warning: Spoilers
*Spoiler/plot- First Man into Space, 1959. An test pilot wishes to be the first into the lower reaches of space flying his test aircraft. While trying he has to eject. While falling to Earth, he comes back to Earth covered in a metallic crust. He turns into a blood seeking monster but still seeks to get help from his friends on his airbase support staff. Drama ensues.

*Special Stars- Marshal Thompsom. Bill Edwards, Marla Landi, Roger Delgado.

*Theme- The unknown space is to be feared.

*Trivia/location/goofs- English. Has good stock footage of Chuch Yaeger's flight in the X-1.

*Emotion- A bit dated, but wonderful film of the era that is enjoyable to see. The duplication of the film's plot is in many of the other competing films of this subject matter. One of the better scripts of these test pilot films.

*Based On- 50's space exploration lore and fantasy.
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Ol' Dan Don't Look So Good!
Hitchcoc6 June 2015
A not too exceptional fifties science fiction film involves an impulsive astronaut who can't follow orders. The up side is that it has allowed the program to go ahead by leaps and bounds; the down side is that he is out of control. On a dangerous mission, he breaks through the earth's atmosphere and finds himself in orbit. While there, he passes through some space dust which coats his ship and him. The ship comes down, an automatic parachute breaking the fall (sort of hard to swallow) and when it is found, Dan is gone. We finally get to see him. He is in a monster suit that is impenetrable (actually it's his skin). He also has a lust for as many pint of bloods as he can get his hands on. He goes on a killing rampage. Hs brother, who warned him about his lack of coach-ability (spoilsport), is trying to save him while other work to do him in. He ransacks a blood bank and siphons several innocent people. The movie shots of space are better done than most, but the acting is stiff and uninspiring, with dull sets and little real action.
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Ha ha ...ha!
Released ten years before man actually landed on the Moon and during the height of the race to the stars between Russia and the United States, First Man into Space is oddly deficient in actual science. No, it's not very good, but it's okay for a few unintentional laughs.

Simple plot runs like this: cocky ace test pilot Dan Prescott (Bill Edwards) is on a mission to fly an experimental plane/rocket (it's kind of both) up, up, and away, higher than anyone's gone before, and then come back down, nice and easy. But our Dan, he's a daredevil! So he goes higher and higher, trying to become the first man to go into space. Not the first IN space, just into it. I know, it's sketchy. Anyway, he does come back down, sasses his superior – his brother Charlie (Marshall Thompson) – and is immediately assigned to pilot the next plane, to go even higher.

Which he does, only instead of making his turn and heading back Earthward, Daring Dan goes higher and higher, and this time his craft, bombarded by meteorites (I know, I know) and the ever-popular cosmic rays, is smashed open. Dan and the ship crashland. And then the killings start, and no one can find ol' Dan's body.

As the picture hints, there may be some kind of ugly monster involved. I don't want to give away the twisty plot, but – oh, who am I kidding, there is no twisty plot. Dan's survived his crash, only he's now covered in some sort of protective layer of cosmic whatever. Seems that when his ship broke apart, this stuff coalesced on Dan's mortal human body in order to protect him from those nasty cosmic rays. (Doesn't explain how he could breathe when there was no air to be breathed, but perhaps they were SUPER COSMIC RAYS, now with added Oxygen!)

Anyway, it's a funny movie.
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Stiff As A Bored
Scott_Mercer8 July 2012
What if Ed Wood had an actual budget of some type? And he really, really, really applied himself in his directing chores? And maybe had some other person do a polish on the script for him, to smooth out some of his legendary surreal dialog? And then he hired some people as actors that were much less embarrassing than anyone in his usual stock player company?

The result would have been something close to First Man Into Space.

It has a low budget, and some really obvious science fiction tropes. Everyone plays the whole scenario deadly seriously, but not SO seriously that they enter bizarro world, say, in the manner of Criswell in Plan Nine From Outer Space. If you want to be generous, you could say the acting is reserved and tasteful. If you want to be less generous, you could say the performances are stiff and mind-numbingly boring.

There have been many other bad, low budget science fiction movies with similar premises (astronaut goes into space, comes back to Earth as inhuman monster), such as The Crawling Hand, The Incredible Melting Man, and that abomination to end all abominations, Monster-A-Go-Go. I'm sure there were some that pre-date this film as well.

Nobody's shaming themselves here, but still, this is not worth seeking out as some sort of lost classic or anything. There are many science fiction classics of yore you should check out before this one. If you want a bonafide well-done, outstanding film, it isn't this. By the same token, if you want a hilarious, goofy, over-the-top slab of goofball incompetence to mock and deconstruct, this is not that type of movie either. Put this one on the back burner, there's plenty of other flicks to get to before you spend 75 minutes with this puppy.
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Cosmoeticadotcom7 June 2012
Warning: Spoilers
All in all, First Man Into Space is a solid example of mid-level 1950s science fiction. It's not on par with Invasion Of The Body Snatchers, Forbidden Planet, Gojira, nor The Day The Earth Stood Still, but it's amongst the better entries in the second tier, and a good deal of the 'believability factor' has to be credited to the always underrated Marshall Thompson. In both presence and ability, he was one of the few B film actors it can honestly be said it was a shame that he wasted his talent in them. The obvious exemplar of this was Vincent Price, but not even Price could pull off military and leading man roles the way Thompson did. And, although he eventually did garner some level of fame on television, to me, he will always be best recalled in such films as this, where the joy received, especially to young boys, was always far greater than it reasonably should have been. And how many films, A, B, C, or Z, can claim that?
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In Space No One Can Hear You …. Transform into a hideously gooey one-eyed monster!
Coventry11 February 2008
I'll admit that "First Man into Space" is a pretty bad film, mainly because the creators made the huge mistake of trying to give a hideous monster a voice and emotions, but still I can't help appreciating this British low budget late 50's Sci-Fi horror effort. The reasons for this are almost exclusively linked to the fabulous make-up effects and the brutality of the killings. Despite the fact that they want you to empathize with the monster, the murders it commits are extremely gruesome (involving throat-slitting, blood-drinking and that sort of things…). You can imagine it's pretty difficult, and actually even a bit ridiculous, to have sentiments for a one-eyed pile of smut that just tore apart the throat of an innocent trucker and drank the blood of cows. The plot of "First Man into Space" is fairly rudimentary, as are the set pieces and scenery. The footage of the intergalactic journeys and the interiors of the spacecrafts & laboratories look extremely cheesy by today's standards, but they were top-notch equipment during the late 50's, when the popularity of the Sci-Fi genre literally boomed. The plot itself often feels like a low-keyed imitation of one of Hammer Studio's greatest successes, namely "The Quatermass Experiment". If you, like me, consider that particular film to be one of the greatest landmarks of 50's Sci-Fi, you'll definitely also find some entertainment in the derivative concept of "First Man into Space". The story revolves on a cocky astronaut who desperately aspires to become the first man into space no matter what. With a stubborn attitude like that, he naturally disobeys important orders from ground control (his brother) and puts himself in great danger. His first flight has a happy ending but during a second flight his capsule vanishes from all radars. The astronaut is still alive, however he transformed into a hideous monster that craves blood and slowly heads back to base camp. The first half of the film is overly talkative and every single stereotype and cliché regarding space exploration also features in the script. There's the helpless love-interest, torn between the two brothers, the elderly pipe smoking scientists and – of course – the inevitable hammy monologues where one of the characters lifts up his head and stares into space while saying something like: "Perhaps we're still too small to comprehend the secrets and menaces of the great universe". It's not an exact quote, but you get the big picture. The middle section of the script compensates for most of the flaws, as the film temporarily turns into a good old-fashioned monster-on-the-rampage spectacle with suspense and bloody killings. The silliness reaches an absolute highlight when the monster (which only has one eyeball and even that hangs out of its socket) is shown driving a car with the bloodied corpse of a woman in the passenger's seat. The final sequences are pure sentimental baloney and not exactly the type of anti-climax die-hard fans of the genre prefer to see, but what the hell. The least you can say about "First Man into Space" is that it's an admirable effort.
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Workable B-movie is an interesting rival to Quatermass
Leofwine_draca17 July 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Ah, just what I love, a '50s B-movie. This low budget, shuddery sci-fi shocker uses much the same premise as THE INCREDIBLE MELTING MAN would twenty years later, but obviously without the gore. The plot is pretty minimal, and with most '50s films, the main thrust concentrates on pseudo scientific babble about why what has happened has happened. Although the film is obviously dated because of this, it's kind of fun too, as we listen to the gobbledegook about 'cosmic dust' and stuff like that. Very funny indeed.

The cast is nothing to write home about, but the dialogue can be hilarious and frequently is, because it has dated so badly. The man of the title is an excitable chap who speaks like one of the teens from I WAS A TEENAGE WEREWOLF all grown up, talking about "dope" and other silly things. The rest of the cast are all pretty stiff and stilted in their delivery of their clichéd lines, but there's no need to worry about that, it's just typical for a film like this.

The special effects aren't bad. The space travel looks quite poor in these post-STAR WARS days, but at least it has some imagination put into it and has that odd quality of looking fake and unrealistic yet looking interesting, magical even, in a way that CGI animation can't create. I can't explain it very well. The makeup for the monster is surprisingly simple and effective, he just looks like he's been covered in some molten rock or something which has then settled. I like the way you can see one of his eyes too.

While FIRST MAN INTO SPACE may not be original, or scary, it remains a solid piece of entertainment from a much different time. The scenes of the rampaging monster and weird space travel deserve classic status, these types of things WERE cinema in the '50s. Not brilliant, but okay anyway.
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