Saturday, April 10, 2010
Destination Moon (1950)
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.
Destination Moon was the first major science-fiction film dealing seriously with the prospect, problems and technology of space travel produced in the United States, and won the Academy Award for Visual Effects in the name of the effects director, (Lee Zavitz). The film was also nominated for the Academy Award for Best Art Direction (Ernst Fegte, George Sawley. The eminent science-fiction writer Robert A. Heinlein contributed significantly to the script and served as a technical advisor. Heinlein also published, about the same time as the release of the film, "Destination Moon." a novella of the same name that was based on the screenplay.
Destination Moon includes an animated segment of Woody Woodpecker illustrating the basics of space flight. The segment serves to educate not only certain characters in the story, but the audience as well. As a narrative device, this technique has been employed in subsequent films, such as Jurassic Park.
The film shows the rocket being constructed in situ in the desert, and Lockheed aircraft plant in Southern California is shown with workers examining a model of the nuclear spacecraft. Transitional sequences show Lockheed Constellations being assembled. The fictional rocket uses nuclear thermal propulsion, a method that has not been employed in actual rocket launches to date.
IRVING PICHEL (1950)