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The working title of the film was Satellite of Blood . The opening and closing cast credits vary in order. Bill Nick is listed as William R. Nick in the opening credits. A Feb 1958 HR news item noting that producer George Moskov and writer John Kafka would be working on a film entitled The First Man Into Space does not appear to have any connection with the Amalgamated Production, which was a U.S. co-production shot entirely in ... More Less

The working title of the film was Satellite of Blood . The opening and closing cast credits vary in order. Bill Nick is listed as William R. Nick in the opening credits. A Feb 1958 HR news item noting that producer George Moskov and writer John Kafka would be working on a film entitled The First Man Into Space does not appear to have any connection with the Amalgamated Production, which was a U.S. co-production shot entirely in England. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
23 Feb 1959.
---
Daily Variety
9 Feb 59
p. 4.
Film Daily
6 Feb 59
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Feb 1958.
---
Hollywood Reporter
9 Feb 59
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
14 Feb 59
p. 156.
Variety
18 Feb 59
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
WRITERS
Orig story
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
FILM EDITOR
COSTUMES
Miss Landi's dresses supv by
MUSIC
Mus comp and cond
SOUND
Electronic eff
MAKEUP
Hair styles
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Loc mgr
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Satellite of Blood
Release Date:
February 1959
Production Date:
1958
Copyright Claimant:
Amalgamated Productions, Inc.
Copyright Date:
31 December 1958
Copyright Number:
LP12891
Physical Properties:
Sound
Westrex Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
77
Countries:
United Kingdom, United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
19222
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In New Mexico, the first manned space rocket mission, led by Navy Commander Charles Ernest Prescott, launches the Y12 rocket piloted by Chuck’s cavalier younger brother Dan. Determined to set an altitude record, Dan goes beyond the hundred-mile limit, disobeying Chuck’s orders to turn back. When the rocket engines burn out, the ship goes into a downward spiral and Dan blacks out temporarily, only to revive in a panic at being weightless and helpless. Dr. Paul von Essen, the head of the program’s medical department, who has worked at length with Dan in preparation for the mission, talks the young pilot into concentrating and regaining control of Y12, which crash-lands in the desert. Instead of reporting for a debriefing, the uninjured Dan goes to the apartment of his girl friend, Tia Francesca, where he is discovered by Chuck, who orders him back to the base. When Chuck chastises Dan for defying orders, Dan accuses his brother of jealousy over his reputation as the most successful test pilot. A few days later, Chuck is surprised to learn from von Essen that Tia is his assistant and that he believes she and Dan have a serious relationship. Although frustrated by Dan’s casual manner, Chuck accepts Capt. Ben Richards’ decision to assign his brother to pilot the next experimental rocket. Over the next several weeks, the Y13 is readied, and once launched easily attains its altitude goal. Enthused by his success, Dan again ignores Chuck’s orders to turn back and instead fires the booster rocket that sends the ship more than 250 miles into space and off the scope of the ... +


In New Mexico, the first manned space rocket mission, led by Navy Commander Charles Ernest Prescott, launches the Y12 rocket piloted by Chuck’s cavalier younger brother Dan. Determined to set an altitude record, Dan goes beyond the hundred-mile limit, disobeying Chuck’s orders to turn back. When the rocket engines burn out, the ship goes into a downward spiral and Dan blacks out temporarily, only to revive in a panic at being weightless and helpless. Dr. Paul von Essen, the head of the program’s medical department, who has worked at length with Dan in preparation for the mission, talks the young pilot into concentrating and regaining control of Y12, which crash-lands in the desert. Instead of reporting for a debriefing, the uninjured Dan goes to the apartment of his girl friend, Tia Francesca, where he is discovered by Chuck, who orders him back to the base. When Chuck chastises Dan for defying orders, Dan accuses his brother of jealousy over his reputation as the most successful test pilot. A few days later, Chuck is surprised to learn from von Essen that Tia is his assistant and that he believes she and Dan have a serious relationship. Although frustrated by Dan’s casual manner, Chuck accepts Capt. Ben Richards’ decision to assign his brother to pilot the next experimental rocket. Over the next several weeks, the Y13 is readied, and once launched easily attains its altitude goal. Enthused by his success, Dan again ignores Chuck’s orders to turn back and instead fires the booster rocket that sends the ship more than 250 miles into space and off the scope of the base tracking devices. When Dan’s attempts to turn the Y13 fail, he engages the rocket’s emergency breakaway maneuver, which separates the nose cone from the tail. Later at the base, Chuck receives notice from the state police that part of the rocket ship has parachuted into a farmer’s field but no sign of Dan has been found. Chuck joins assistant chief of police Wilson at the site where they examine the rocket cone, which is encrusted with a strange substance. Chuck then sadly visits Tia to inform her that Dan has not survived. The next day, von Essen and other scientists examine the remains of the Y13 hoping to understand the strange substance. Upon learning of the unusual deaths of several cows and a mysterious murder of a nurse at a blood bank near the base, a curious Chuck accompanies Wilson on his investigation. Chuck notices that both the animals and the nurse were slashed across the neck, their blood drawn out and a similar shiny dust was found around the wounds. At the farm where the dead cattle were discovered, Chuck finds a familiar piece of equipment covered with the same substance as the Y13. Later, back at the base, Chuck fits the piece into the rocket’s control panel and realizes it is a device that attaches to the pilot’s helmet. Von Essen then excitedly demonstrates that the substance coating the Y13 serves as a protective coating that is both extremely flexible and impervious to most other substances. The material also has the unusual ability to merge with whatever it covers and create a totally new substance. Richards summons Chuck to tell him that the tail section of the Y13 has been found in Mexico and that three more mysterious killings have been reported. To Chuck’s surprise, Richards relates that after one killing, a truck was stolen and abandoned some miles away. A little later, Chuck briefs Richards on the results of the testing of the substance on Y13 and suggests that if it is protective coating, it might have covered Dan as well as the rocket. Chuck demonstrates that the flexible material also has extremely sharp edges that leave marks similar to those on all the murder victims. Noting that whatever stole the car has some kind of intelligence, Chuck suggests that Dan is alive and may be the killer. Meanwhile, the state police track a speeding car near the base and run it off the road. A strange creature emerges from the car and, resisting all gunshots, attacks and kills both officers. Back at the base, Chuck, von Essen and Tia wonder if Dan could have survived the rocket’s re-entry and how the transformation might have affected him. Richards and Wilson then arrive with Dan’s encrusted space helmet, confirming Chuck’s suspicion that his brother is alive in some mutated form. Chuck insists that when Dan is located, they must try to capture him alive in order to save him. Unknown to the others, Dan has arrived at the base parking lot and moments later, breaks into the building. Dan confronts Chuck but does not attack him. Hearing the strange gurgling sounds emitting from the encrusted form, Chuck immediately deduces that Dan cannot breathe and asks von Essen to direct him to the pressure chamber. Although Dan appears angry and confused, he responds to von Essen’s commands over the loudspeaker and staggers into the pressure chamber. Realizing that his brother will never be able to handle the controls inside the chamber, Chuck joins him despite von Essen and Wilson’s warnings. Locking the brothers in the chamber, von Essen then gradually begins raising the pressure which immediately calms Dan. To Chuck and the others’ surprise, as the pressure rises, Dan is able to speak in a guttural voice. As Chuck dons an oxygen mask and struggles against the mounting pressure, Dan acknowledges that the chamber conditions allow him to breathe and think clearly. Although he has little memory of his actions since being in space, he admits to being obsessed with survival. Dan explains that when he sent the Y13 into its breakaway, he hit a meteor shower that prompted the strange substance to cover the rocket. When his canopy burst, he was coated with the substance, but not before he was affected by the cosmic dust from the meteor shower. Dan suggests that if scientists can reproduce the protective coating, it would protect future space travelers. Although pleased by his daring exploits, Dan, who has grown weaker throughout his explanation, apologizes to Tia and Chuck for his recklessness, but admits his drive to be the first man into space overwhelmed him. Dan then collapses and dies. Von Essen decompresses the chamber and when Chuck emerges safely, Richards wonders if the exploration of new worlds is worth the trauma and death of men like Dan. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.