Destination Moon

Release Date: June 27, 1950
Writer: Rip Van Ronkel, James O'Hanion
Starring: Warner Anderson as Dr. Charles Cargraves
Erin O'Brian-Moore as emily Cargraves
Tom Powers as General Thayer
John Archer as Jim Barnes
Producer: George Pal production Studios
Technical Adviser: Robert Heinlein
Music: Leith Stevens
Cinematographer: Lionel Lindon
Editor: Duke Goldstone
Director: Irving Pichel
Distributor: Eagle-Lion Classics
Time: color 91 min. Gross: $5,000,000

Purchase Destination Moon (DVD) at the TCM store.

Interesting Tidbits

Destination Moon is also known as Journey to the Moon and Operation Moon; a Woody Woodpecker cartoon was updated and used by NASA (National Aeronautics Space Administration) to explain to the audience and several story characters the principle of space flight.

The panararamic view of the lunar landscape was achieved by using a painting by Chesley Bonestell. The painting was 13 feet in length and mounted on wheels. It was rolled passed a stationary camera. To give the illusion of bright stars, 534 holes were punched in the painting and illuminated from behind.

The sets and costumes from the movie were re-used in several film projects which followed. They appeared in the second episode of the television series The Time Tunnel too (the ABC series ran for just one season - 1966 to 1967.)

Filmed in Technicolor Destination Moon was awarded an Oscar for Visual Effects. It was also nominated for Best Art Direction (Ernst Fegte, George Sawley.)

The plot

p>Four American astronauts blast off from the New Mexico desert and fly to the Moon. They land after difficulties that cause more fuel to be used than anticipated. Consequently, the crew must race against time to lighten the ship for a successful return to Earth.

The film features the premise that US private industry will finance and manufacture the first spacecraft to reach the moon, given the Soviet threat at the time, and then the US government will bring itself to buy or lease the technology. Visionary industrialists are shown cooperating to support the venture.