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From the Earth to the Moon (1958)
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2014 2:02 am    Post subject: From the Earth to the Moon (1958) Reply with quote

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A scientist (Joseph Cotton) and a munitions millionaire (George Sanders) team up on the construction of a rocket to blast themselves to the Moon. This movie was based on a Jules Verne classic, but that doesn't save this cinematic turkey from a total crash and burn. It is bloody damn awful!

Even though the cast includes Morris Ankrum (the Grand Old Man of vintage sci-fi) to provide dignity, and Debra Paget to provide scenery, you'll earn the Purple Heart for sitting through this painfully bad movie. The only good thing I can say about it is that fans of "Forbidden Planet" will notice the heavy use of the electronic tonalities borrowed from that classic.

I take it back. That's not good. That's shameful.

The special effects are astoundingly bad. In the scenes of the blast-off, the sturdy support bar which holds up the rocket model is clearly visible!

I mean, good Lord a'might! The production crew was actually okay with this? Really? Shocked


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The dolts didn't even have enough sense to point the rocket miniature nose downward and invert the camera to make it look like it was pointed upward. As a result the flames and smoke erupting from the nozzle washes back up over the rocket and roasts the poor thing before your very eyes!

Bear in mind, the rocket remains motionless in every shot, exactly like this one! It just sits there and spews out flames which rise back up over the stationary rocket — and we're supposed to think the damn thing is moving through space! Rolling Eyes

Above the rocket is a nice blue sky — even when it's supposed to be in space. Shocked


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Directed by Byron Haskin, the man who helmed both "War of the Worlds" and "The Conquest of Space". Amazing . . .

Watch the trailer on YouTube. It's plays the Forbidden Planet tonalities, start to finish.


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Last edited by Bud Brewster on Sun Sep 01, 2019 11:25 am; edited 9 times in total
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Pow
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2014 12:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Never read Verne's novel but this movie is a real snoozer.
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Krel
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2014 2:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have read it, and I believe that Butch wrote about this on the old board, that the movie originally had a much larger budget. It was an RKO production, and RKO went bankrupt right before filming, and the budget got slashed. There were originally suppose to be scenes on the moon. That is why the movie had those nice looking spacesuits that never got used.

David.
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2014 7:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pow wrote:
Never read Verne's novel but this movie is a real snoozer.

Oh, it's worse than a snooze — it's an insult to the intelligence of regular movie goers, and even more so to science fiction fans.

Krel wrote:
I have read it, and I believe that Butch wrote about this on the old board, that the movie originally had a much larger budget. It was an RKO production, and RKO went bankrupt right before filming, and the budget got slashed. There were originally suppose to be scenes on the moon. That is why the movie had those nice looking spacesuits that never got used.

Too little money isn't the only reason this movie is such an abomination.

Those three examples of incompetence I pointed out —

1 — the blatantly obvious supporting arm that held the rocket up —

2 — the torrent of flames that rose up and engulfed the rocket while it was supposed to streaking along, and —

3 — the blue sky we see around the rocket while it's supposed to be in space!

— are all colossal errors that anybody on the production with average intelligence should have pointed out as completely unacceptable.

A science fiction movie might not always have the polish a big budget can give it, but it should never make stupid mistakes like those.

The only way those shots could have looked worse would be if they'd just done this!
Shocked


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Krel
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2014 8:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The IMDB says that the movie was filmed in Mexico, probably to save costs. Could the special effects have also been filmed in Mexico for the same reason? Remember how the effects looked in "The Giant Claw". The movie was in serious trouble before they started filming, so the quality of the special effects isn't a surprise to me.

David.
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2014 9:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Krel wrote:
The IMDB says that the movie was filmed in Mexico, probably to save costs. Could the special effects have also been filmed in Mexico for the same reason?

Probably so, but the people in charge of the production were the ones who signed off on those ridiculous FX -- and anybody who sets out to make a science fiction movie owes it to the audience (and to all the people whose careers depend on the quality of the productions they've been asked to work on) to do their homework and figure out how to do it right.

But figuring out how to do From the Earth to the Moon without making the mistakes I named wasn't really "rocket science", ironically enough. They were caused by a lack of basic common sense. Any nine-year-old kid would have spotted those screw-ups if they'd been shown the movie and asked to comment on the special effects.

If a movie studio had a modest staff of "science advisers" (a couple of high school science teachers would do), the quality of movies like this one and 90% of the others made in last 60 years would go up dramatically.

The traditional unconcern that filmmakers have for scientific accuracy is the reason science fiction movies are general held in low esteem. It's a classic example of "shooting yourself in the foot". It the movies were better, the profits would increase, and Hollywood could rake in the big bucks with smart movies that critics praised and audiences respected.

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MetroPolly
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 31, 2017 8:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have both read the novel, and it's sequel, neither of which are exactly riveting I have to say, and watched the movie.

You're all quite right, it's boring as hell. I like George Sanders but he couldn't save this mess, especially since he was trying to be the good guy here.

Honestly, I didn't pay a huge amount of attention to the effects, since I assumed they were trying to stay faithful to Verne's concepts.
The biggest problem I had was the same one I keep seeing in most classic SF novels turned into film.... They put a dang love interest in it!!! And even that didn't help keep me awake.
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 31, 2017 10:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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Yeah, they had Deborah Paget in the cast, but in those period costumes she doesn't exactly look like she did in Princess of Nile!



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scotpens
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 01, 2017 12:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

MetroPolly wrote:
. . . The biggest problem I had was the same one I keep seeing in most classic SF novels turned into film.... They put a dang love interest in it!!!

In the words of master showman Carl Denham: "Because the public, bless 'em, must have a pretty face to look at!"

Well, Esmeralda the sea lion was cute.




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Gord Green
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 01, 2017 3:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Such great talents wasted on such a bad film. What a waste!
Another example of the "suits" and budget cuts destroying a worthy concept.
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 01, 2017 2:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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Yes, I read that Deborah Paget originally cast as Esmeralda, but she refused to go naked and eat the fish.

Damn, I wish they'd just let her stand-in eat the fish . . . Rolling Eyes



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Gord Green
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 01, 2017 2:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Yes, I read that Deborah Paget originally cast as Esmeralda, but she refused to go naked and eat the fish.

Damn, I wish they'd just let her stand-in eat the fish . . .


Heck, I'd eat the fish if she was Esmeralda!
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MetroPolly
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 01, 2017 8:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Agreed, Scot, Denham had it perfectly right. I'm as feminist as the next girl, but I'd prefer filmmakers don't pad the film with unneeded characters.

As to 20 Thousand Leagues, that's one of the few times a SF novel wasn't bulked up so much it screwed up the plot.
FWIW, I thought the sea lion (IIRC, that's what she was) wasn't really necessary, but it was Disney; They had to stick a funny animal in somewhere.

Besides, she's more fun to watch than Kirk Douglas.
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 01, 2017 9:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gord Green wrote:
Heck, I'd eat the fish if she was Esmeralda!

FYI: The lady with Deborah is her sister, Lisa Gaye. Very Happy
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Bogmeister
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 03, 2019 12:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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One of several films trying to cash in on the Jules Verne name, in the wake of the very successful 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (54).

This one might be the biggest failure. It takes place just after the American Civil War and concerns two protagonists, played by Joseph Cotten and George Sanders. They are rivals but end up together on a spaceship to the moon due to their respective inventions — Cotten invented a new explosive dubbed "Power X" while Sanders has manufactured a new metal. Also along for the ride are a younger couple, played by Debra Paget and Don Dubbins.

Science is not a friend to this film — shooting people to the moon with a big cannon — and it's also deadly dull.

It takes a while for the new ship to get going to the moon and after a short but still very dull trip in space, there's a pretty grim conclusion: the ship splits in two — the two older gentlemen do end up on the moon (though we do not see this, it's only suggested), while the young couple end up in Earth's orbit where they are stuck until their portion of the ship burns up in re-entry.

The strangely fatalistic tone is made more odd by the cheerful mention of how the two older guys have landed safely with several days supplies, failing to follow-up with the fact that they will die of starvation after the supplies run out.

BoG's Score: 3 out of 10

From the Earth to Trivia: Over a decade later, actor Joseph Cotten guest-starred on an episode of The Virginian, A Time of Terror (broadcast in Feb. 1970), as a judge named Will McMasters. At one point, the regular character of Clay Grainger (John McIntire) states that Will McMasters couldn't take a bribe anymore than he could fly to the moon.

Maybe the judge did take a bribe . . . Shocked


_____ From the Earth to the Moon Original Trailer


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BoG
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