|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., produced by Michael Carreras, directed by Terence Fisher, that stars Howard Duff and Eva Bartok, and co-stars Alan Wheatley. Spaceways was filmed entirely in the UK. 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 plans to launch a satellite that will permanently orbit earth. At a cocktail party, it is announced to the program's staff that the satellite project has been approved by the defense council. Mitchell's wife Vanessa is not enthusiastic about the new project, nor with having to live at its high security base. She sneaks away with Dr. Philip Crenshaw, with whom she is having an affair. Dr. Mitchell leaves the party with Lisa Frank, a mathematician on the project, who is in love with him. When Mitchell returns home, he has an argument with Vanessa; he had been made aware of her having passionately kissed Crenshaw after she left with him.
The satellite rocket soon launches, but it does not reach its maximum altitude. Afterward, it is discovered that Crenshaw and Vanessa have disappeared. Dr. Smith secretly investigates their disappearance and comes to the conclusion that not only were the two murdered, but that they were murdered by Dr. Mitchell, after which he hid their bodies in the spacecraft's fuel tanks. Smith approaches Mitchell with the accusation, while also telling him about Crenshaw being a spy, who had concealed having a degree from a German university.
Mitchell decides to go into space on the second rocket being launched in order to try to prove his innocence. Smith discovers that there was a new team member added just prior to the disappearance, and that a security guard had died in an accident a week earlier. Soon after, Smith and the police discover that Crenshaw and Vanessa are actually at a seaside cottage. Crenshaw has been planning to head to the east instead of going to America, as he previously had said. During a violent scuffle between Crenshaw and Smith, Vannesa is accidentally killed.
After the rocketship launches into space, Mitchell is surprised to see that Lisa is on board; she had previously convinced Toby to let her go on the flight instead of him. Despite the revelation that the bodies of Crenshaw and Vanessa are not on board, Mitchell and Frank attempt to jettison the spaceship's second stage, resulting in an explosion, that causes their spacecraft to go out of control. Steve, however, releases the fail-safe, saving them from destruction and allowing the spaceship to return safely to earth.
- 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 scenes of the rocketship taking off were special effects shots taken from Rocketship X-M (1950)
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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