5.5/10
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First Man Into Space (1959)

Approved | | Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi | 27 February 1959 (USA)
Trailer
1:33 | Trailer
The first pilot to leave Earth's atmosphere lands, then vanishes; but something with a craving for blood prowls the countryside...

Director:

Robert Day

Writers:

John Croydon (screenplay) (as John C. Cooper), Charles F. Vetter (screenplay) (as Lance Z. Hargreaves) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Marshall Thompson ... Cmdr. Charles Ernest Prescott
Marla Landi ... Tia Francesca
Bill Edwards ... Lt. Dan Milton Prescott
Robert Ayres ... Capt. Ben Richards
Bill Nagy ... Police Chief Wilson
Carl Jaffe Carl Jaffe ... Dr. Paul von Essen
Roger Delgado ... Mexican Consul - Ramon de Guerrera
John McLaren John McLaren ... State Dept. Official, Harold Atkins
Spencer Teakle Spencer Teakle ... Ratings Control Room
Chuck Keyser Chuck Keyser ... Ratings Control Room
John Fabian John Fabian ... Ratings Control Room
Richard Shaw Richard Shaw ... Witney
Bill Nick Bill Nick ... Clancy (as William R. Nick)
Helen Forrest Helen Forrest ... Secretary (as Helen Forest)
Roland Brand Roland Brand ... Truck Driver (as Rowland Brand)
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Storyline

Navy test pilot Lieut. Dan Prescott, in experimental rocket plane Y-13, disobeys orders and becomes the first man to fly outside the ionosphere. Unable to turn, he ejects...and is plastered with metallic meteor dust. The pilot compartment lands with no trace of the pilot... but first cattle, then people, are found with their throats cut as if with an axe, by something that seems to have a craving for blood... Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Far and away the most startling and unexpected adventure film ever made! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Horror | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

27 February 1959 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

De eerste ruimtevaarder See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

GBP100,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film is part of the Criterion Collection, spine #365. See more »

Goofs

When Commander Prescott exits a building, he passes a sign that reads, "Flight Operations - Authorised Personnel Only". The film is set on an American Air Force base in New Mexico, and no sign in the United States would use the British spelling of "authorized", with an "s" instead of a "z". (The fact that the film was shot in England accounts for this error.) See more »

Quotes

Doctor Paul von Essen: The conquest of new worlds always makes demands of human life. And there will always be men who will accept the risk.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Libel (1959) See more »

Soundtracks

Blue Fever
(uncredited)
Music by Ronald Binge and Leslie Vinall
Josef Weinberger Ltd
See more »

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User Reviews

 
FIRST MAN INTO SPACE (Robert Day, 1959) **
27 April 2007 | by Bunuel1976See all my reviews

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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