Missile to the Moon

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Missile to the Moon
Missiletothemoonposter.jpg
Directed by Richard E. Cunha
Produced by Marc Frederic
Written by H.E. Barrie
Vincent Fotre
Starring Richard Travis
Cathy Downs
K.T. Stevens
Leslie Parrish
Music by Nicholas Carras
Cinematography Meredith M. Nicholson
Edited by Everett Dodd
Production
company
Layton Film Productions
Distributed by Astor Pictures
Release dates
  • 1958 (1958)
Running time
78 mins
Country United States
Language English
Budget $65,000 (estimated)

Missile to the Moon is an independently made 1958 American black-and-white science fiction film, produced by Marc Frederic, directed by Richard E. Cunha, starring Richard Travis, Cathy Downs, K.T. Stevens, and Leslie Parrish. The film was distributed by Astor Pictures and is a remake of another Astor Pictures-distributed film, 1953's Cat-Women of the Moon.

A spaceship blasts off from Earth with five aboard, but one of them is secretly a Moon man returning home. He dies by accident during the trip to Luna. What the remaining four find waiting for them when they arrive on the Moon is well beyond their expectations: huge rock creatures, giant lunar spiders, and a civilization made up of beautiful women.[1]

Plot[edit]

Two escaped convicts, Gary (Tommy Cook) and Lon (Gary Clarke), are discovered hiding aboard a rocket by scientist Dirk Green (Michael Whalen), who then forces them to pilot the spaceship to the Moon. Dirk, who is secretly a Moon man, wants to return home.

Dick's partner, Steve Dayton (Richard Travis), accompanied by his fiancé June (Cathy Downs), accidentally stowaway aboard just before the rocketship blast's off from Earth.

Moon man Dirk is later accidentally killed in a meteor storm during the lunar trip. Once they land on the Moon, the spaceship's reluctant crew encounter deception and intrigue when they discover an underground kingdom made up of beautiful women and their sinister female ruler, The Lido (K. T. Stevens).

While on the Moon, they also discover giant lunar spiders and mysterious surface-dwelling, slow-moving, bi-pedal rock creatures that try to kill them.[2]

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

The multiple Moon spiders seen in Missile to the Moon are the same large prop spider being wire-controlled from overhead; this is exactly the same prop spider used five years earlier in the original Cat-Women of the Moon.[3]

The lunar landscape used in the film is Vasquez Rocks located near Los Angeles, a popular television and feature film shooting location.[4]

The lunar surface exteriors were shot in regular Earth daylight and gravity; no attempt is made to convince the viewer the Moon is an airless void where humans would weigh one-sixth their normal Earth weight. When one of the Earth convicts is forced by a large Moon rock creature to step into direct sunlight, his spacesuit literally bursts into flames in the airless void from the supposedly very high lunar temperatures, reducing the felon inside to a burning skeleton.[2]

The large, slow-moving Moon rock creatures have a passing resemblance to the character design and shape used for Gumby, the popular 1956 to 1962 syndicated stop motion clay animation kid's show character of the same name, which ran on television for 233 episodes for nearly five decades.[5]

Reception[edit]

Missile to the Moon was released on a double bill with Frankenstein's Daughter (1958). Film historians Kim R. Holston and Tom Winchester noted that the film was "... (a) low-budget, scientifically inaccurate hoot ..."[6] It was actually an even lower budget remake of 1953's low budget Cat-Women of the Moon, following very closely the plot details of that earlier science fiction film.[2]

Film reviewer Glenn Erickson surmised that "... 'Missile to the Moon' is nobody's idea of a good movie."[7]

References[edit]

Notes

  1. ^ Cathy Downs appeared in her final film role.
  2. ^ Tania Velia was "Miss Germany, 1952".
  3. ^ Mary Ford is incorrectly billed in the film as "Miss Minnesota," confusing her with a different Mary Ford.

Citations

  1. ^ "Notes: Missile to the Moon (1958)." Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved: November 6, 2014.
  2. ^ a b c Jalufka et al. 2001, pp. 190–191.
  3. ^ Johnson 1996, p. 23.
  4. ^ "Kirk's Rock." TV Tropes: Television Tropes and Idioms. Retrieved: November 5, 2014.
  5. ^ Lloyd, Robert. "Even now, Gumby has that special dimension." The Los Angeles Times, July 9, 2006. Retrieved: November 7, 2010.
  6. ^ Holston and Winchester 1997, p. 78.
  7. ^ Erickson, Glenn. "Review: Missile to the Moon." DVD Savant, July 22, 2000. Retrieved: November 6, 2014.

Bibliography

  • Holston, Kim R. and Tom Winchester. Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Film Sequels, Series and Remakes: An Illustrated Filmography. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, 1997. ISBN 978-0-7864-0155-0.
  • Jalufka, Dona A., Christian Koeber, Cesare Barbieri and Francesca Rampazzi, eds. "Moonstruck: How Realistic Is The Moon Depicted In Classic Science Fiction Films?""Proceedings, Earth-Moon Relationships Padova, Italy: Springer, 2001. ISBN 0-7923-7089-9.
  • Johnson, John. Cheap Tricks and Class Acts: Special Effects, Makeup, and Stunts from the Films of the Fantastic Fifties. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, 1996. ISBN 0-7864-0093-5.
  • Strick, Philip. Science Fiction Movies. New York: Octopus Books Limited, 1976.ISBN 0-7064-0470-X.
  • Warren, Bill. Keep Watching the Skies: American Science Fiction Films of the Fifties, 21st Century Edition. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, 2009. ISBN 0-89950-032-3.

External links[edit]