An international team embarks on an expedition to the moon in an uncommonly spacious rocketship. There they encounter a faceless alien intelligence who conclude that the human race is too ... See full summary »
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An international team embarks on an expedition to the moon in an uncommonly spacious rocketship. There they encounter a faceless alien intelligence who conclude that the human race is too immature and dangerous and must be destroyed. Written by
Leo L. Schwab <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Despite the overall low budget nature of this film, the producers obtained the services of the highly regarded cinematographer John Alton. This became one of two features shot by Alton during the final year of his active career. This did not indicate a decline in Alton's professional reputation; the other film shot that year was the far more upscale Elmer Gantry (1960). See more »
You can see near the end of the movie above the ceiling in the rockets lower level including the wiring and brackets for the recessed lighting. See more »
The "starring" cast credits are shown against a background of stars. Each name seems to zoom outward from the center of the screen, like meteors in a shower; but as each one appears it stops and remains onscreen until all 12 names are visible simultaneously. Ken Clark's name is the first shown, followed in order by Michi Kobi, Tom Conway, Tony Dexter, John Wengraf, Bob Montgomery Jr., Phillip Baird, Richard Weber, Tema Bey, Roger Til, Cory Devlin, and "and Anna-Lisa"; but when they have all settled in their places, the first row of names has Clark, Baird, Dexter, Til, Conway; the second row has Devlin, Bey, Montgomery, Wengraf; and the third row has Kobi, Anna-Lisa, Weber. Francis X. Bushman's name appears on a second screen as a "guest star". See more »
I have given this movie a rating of 1 because I don't know how to describe the feelings of anger and confusion that washed over me as I watched it. Twelve scientists go to the moon -- taking a cocker spaniel on a leash with them, wouldn't want it to run away -- and the story, though well-intentioned, was tripe, the acting was horrible, the dialogue was stupid and even the science was idiotic gobbledygook -- in 1960 the screenwriters felt no need for anyone to express surprise when there was plenty of breathable air on the moon.
Yes, it clearly had a budget, something in advance of the usual Roger Corman shot-on-three-days-with-what-we-found-in-the-payphone-slot amount of money. But I was getting angry because I couldn't stop watching, even as I wanted to turn the sound off, or at least jab an icepick into my ears. What was going on here...... and then it hit me: they had John Alton as the Director of Photography!
Who, you ask, is John Alton? Well, I would suggest you go over to his IMDb page and see for yourself, but let's put it this way: when you're shooting pictures, the DP is important. A great one can make a mediocre movie great. A bad one can ruin the world's greatest script, director and cast. And in the subjective and opinionated world of commercial art that is film making, if I told you that X was the greatest cinematographer ever, you'd look at me like I was crazy. But if I went before a meeting of the American Society of Cinematographers and announced "John Alton was the greatest cinematographer ever!" The reaction would probably be "Well, I think so-and-so had a little more on the ball, but not a bad choice."
Well, you say to yourself, everyone has his ups and downs, some great careers end badly, sometimes there are no comebacks. But that's not what happened here. Alton was assigned this movie, shot it in his usual impeccable fashion, then went on to his next assignment, Richard Brooks' ELMER GANTRY, then quit. Just went away and didn't keep in touch, and when he called up a third of a century later to ask for tickets to an exhibit for his work that he had heard about -- it's my stuff, at least you can comp me in -- they were surprised he wasn't dead. He explained that it just wasn't worth it. He had enough money, so he left And he lived happily for the next 35 years. And this is the movie -- or one of the movies -- that made him decide to leave. And not shoot, what, twenty, thirty, forty a hundred other movies that could have been great or greater because of his sure touch? Because while it must have been nice to work on great pictures like AN American IN Paris and ELMER GANTRY, he must have felt like a schmuck coming in to work on stuff like this. because the front office told him to. So he looked at his bank book and quit.
Thanks, guys. Damn you all to Hell.
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