|Directed by||Terence Fisher|
|Produced by||Michael Carreras|
|Written by||Paul Tabori
|Based on||radio play by Charles Eric Maine|
|Music by||Ivor Slaney|
|Cinematography||Reginald H. Wyer|
|Edited by||Maurice Rootes|
|Distributed by||Lippert Pictures (USA)
Exclusive Films (UK)
Spaceways is a 1953 British-American, black and white, science fiction film from Hammer Film Productions Ltd. and Lippert Productions Inc., that was produced by Michael Carreras, directed by Terence Fisher, and stars Howard Duff and Eva Bartok, with Alan Wheatley. Spaceways was filmed entirely in England by the Hammer company. American Robert L. Lippert was an uncredited co-producer. The screenplay was written by Paul Tabori and Richard Landau, based on a radio play by Charles Eric Maine. The film was distributed in the UK by Exclusive Films Ltd. and in the United States by Lippert Pictures Inc.
Engineer Dr. Stephen Mitchell is part of a British space program that are planning to launch a satellite that will permanently orbit around the≤ Earth. At a cocktail party with him and his colleagues, it is announced that the project has been approved by the defense council. But his wife Vanessa is not enthusiastic about the project nor living at the high security base. She sneaks away with Dr. Philip Crenshaw, who she is having an affair with, while Stephen leaves with Lisa Frank, a mathematician on the project who is in love with him. When Stephen returns home, he has an argument with Vanessa, with Stephen secretly aware of her kissing Crenshaw.
Meanwhile, the rocket soon launches, but it does not reach maximum height. It is soon discovered that Crenshaw and Vanessa have disappeared. Soon after, Dr. Smith secretly investigates around the base, coming to the conclusion that not only were the two murdered by Mitchell, but they were hidden in the fuel tanks of the rocket to cover his tracks. Smith approaches Mitchell with the accusation while telling him about Crenshaw (who concealed having a degree from Germany) being a spy.
Mitchell comes up with the idea to go in a second rocket into space to try and prove his innocence. Smith discovers that there was a new member on the team prior to the disappearance, and that a guard had died in an accident a week earlier. Soon after, Crenshaw and Vanessa are discovered by Smith and the police at a seaside cottage, with the former planning to go to the east instead of America. However, she is killed in a scuffle between Crenshaw and Smith.
After the launch, Mitchell is surprised to see that Lisa is aboard the ship, having convinced Toby to let her be on the ship instead of him. Despite it being revealed that the bodies are not on the ship, Mitchell and Frank try to disconnect the middle section of the ship, which results in an explosion, making the rocket go out of control. However, Steve releases the fail-safe handle, saving them from destruction.
- Howard Duff as Dr. Stephen Mitchell
- Eva Bartok as Dr. Lisa Frank
- Alan Wheatley as Dr. Smith
- Philip Leaver as Professor Koepler
- Michael Medwin as Dr. Toby Andrews
- Andrew Osborn as Dr. Philip Crenshaw
- Cecile Chevreau as Vanessa Mitchell
- Anthony Ireland as General Hayes
- Hugh Moxey as Colonel Alfred Daniels
- David Horne as Minister
Principal photography on Spaceways took place at Ray Studios, Windsor, England from mid-November 1952 to early January 1953. Some of the special effects shots of the rocket taking off in Spaceways were taken from Rocketship X-M.
Spaceways was not well received by critics, and its poor production values soon relegated the film to the bottom of theater playbills and drive-ins, mainly as fill-in fodder. Film reviewer Glenn Erickson, writing in DVD Savant, noted: "The disappointment of Spaceways is finding out that it is really a lukewarm murder mystery in a science fiction setting".
Warren, Bill. Keep Watching the Skies: American Science Fiction Films of the Fifties, 21st Century Edition. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, 2009, (First Edition 1982). ISBN 0-89950-032-3.
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