Monday, June 16, 2014

Rocketship X-M (1950)

Director: Kurt Neumann

Writers: Orville H. Hampton, Kurt Neumann, Dalton Trumbo

Composer: Ferde Grofe Sr.

Starring: Lloyd Bridges, Osa Massen, John Emery, Noah Beery Jr., Hugh O'Brian, Morris Ankrum, Patrick Aherne, Sherry Moreland, John Dutra, Kathy Marlowe, James Conaty, Sam Harris, Judd Holdren, Stuart Holmes, Bert Stevens

More info: IMDb

Tagline: ZOOM through the Universe the Screen's First Story of Man's First Conquest of Space! GASP at the Daring Courage of Four Men and a Girl as They Thunder Between Planets on a Runaway Rocket! You've Read About It! You've Heard About It! Now SEE it!

Plot: Astronauts blast off to explore the moon. Because of craft malfunction and some fuel calculations, they end up landing on Mars. On Mars, evidence of a once powerful civilization is found. The scientists determine that an atomic war destroyed most of the Martians (who surprisingly look like humans). Those that survived reverted to a caveman-like existence.

My rating: 5/10

Will I watch it again? No.

I love it.  They give a press conference, with the crew, announcing the mission 15 minutes before takeoff.  Space travel is easy. 6 minutes before takeoff and the crew is still shootin' the shit outside.  The optimism of 1950 seems alien to us future-folk.  If you're looking for a great sci-fi outer space classic, this isn't it.  Let's break it down.  It's 77 minutes long.  The first 10 minutes is a lengthy press conference explaining the details of space travel and the ship that's taking these kids to the Moon.  At 15 minutes they finally take off.  For the next 35 minutes they're traveling through space, talking a lot about stuff that doesn't really mean anything and narrowly avoiding meteors (as they fly by you'll notice it's the same meteors after each set of 3 fly bys). Once on Mars it's another 10 minutes before they discover the Martians.  We've only got about 15 minutes before the picture ends.  They fight with the cavemen Martians, during which we get to see one of their hot Martian women, and then it's BLAST OFF!  Back to Earth which takes just a few minutes...BEFORE THEY FUCKING CRASH TO THEIR DEATHS ON EARTH!!!  But wait, it gets shitty.  We're told there were two survivors (presumably Floyd (Bridges) and Lisa (Massen) who professed their love for each other minutes before the crash).  I call shenanigans.

To answer Lavinia from Trbovlje, looks about like that.

Crazy-eyed Martian broad.

I dig that they went sepia tone once they reach Mars but cool turns to laughs when you see them with their skin exposed.  I guess 1950 American kids were naive enough not to know that IT'S COLD AS FUCK ON MARS AND THE ATMOSPHERE IS SO THIN THE RADIATION WOULD BE DEVASTATING!!!  But, hey, who's nitpicking?  The science is so bad I started getting flashbacks of PROMETHEUS (2012).  Grofe's music for the Martian battle was great.  Good stuff, there.  But that only lasts for a few short minutes before it's time to go home.  At first I thought the ending was ballsy as shit until you learn that two survived.  When you see the rocket hurling toward the planet doing at least 75MPH you'll see that there's no fucking way anybody's walking or crawling away from that one.  They'd be pulverized into atoms.   But, hey.  With these 50s sci-fi pictures, sometimes you dig 'em and sometimes you don't.  This one's right in the middle.  Watch it for the few minutes on Mars and the bullshit cop out ending.

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