Missile to the Moon (1959)

78 mins | Science fiction | October 1959

Director:

Richard Cunha

Producer:

Marc Frederic

Cinematographer:

Meredith Nicholson

Editor:

Everett Dodd

Production Designer:

Sham Unlimited

Production Company:

Layton Film Productions
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HISTORY

The viewed print opened with a title card reading "RKO Radio Pictures, Inc. presents," but the card appears to have been added some time after the film's release, and it is unlikely that RKO was involved in the film's production or theatrical distribution. Although there is a copyright statement on the film, it was not registered for copyright at the time of its release. However, Astor Pictures Corp. registered the film for copyright on 23 Apr 1981 under the number PA-102-680. Missile to the Moon is a remake of another Astor Pictures Corp. film, the 1953 Cat-Women of the Moon , directed by Arthur Hilton and starring Sonny Tufts (See Entry). A 6 Jun 1958 HR production chart adds Richard Krause to the cast, but his appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. A modern source states that Missile to the Moon was shot in Red Rock Canyon near the Mojave ... More Less

The viewed print opened with a title card reading "RKO Radio Pictures, Inc. presents," but the card appears to have been added some time after the film's release, and it is unlikely that RKO was involved in the film's production or theatrical distribution. Although there is a copyright statement on the film, it was not registered for copyright at the time of its release. However, Astor Pictures Corp. registered the film for copyright on 23 Apr 1981 under the number PA-102-680. Missile to the Moon is a remake of another Astor Pictures Corp. film, the 1953 Cat-Women of the Moon , directed by Arthur Hilton and starring Sonny Tufts (See Entry). A 6 Jun 1958 HR production chart adds Richard Krause to the cast, but his appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. A modern source states that Missile to the Moon was shot in Red Rock Canyon near the Mojave Desert. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
29 Dec 1958.
---
Box Office
22 Aug 1960.
---
Daily Cinema
14 Aug 1961.
---
Hollywood Reporter
6 Jun 1958
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Jun 1958
p. 10.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
17 Jan 59
p. 117.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
21 Nov 59
p. 491.
The Exhibitor
10 Dec 1958.
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
PRODUCER
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Chief elec
Key grip
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Prop master
COSTUMES
MUSIC
SOUND
Sd mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Sd eff ed
Visual eff
MAKEUP
Makeup
Hair stylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Scr supv
DETAILS
Release Date:
October 1959
Production Date:
early June--mid June 1958
Physical Properties:
Sound
Ryder Sound Services, Inc.
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
78
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
19103
SYNOPSIS

On the same evening that rocket scientist Dirk Green learns military personnel will take over the project with which he has been obsessed--a rocket mission to take humans to moon--the police search the secured laboratory grounds for two escaped convicts. When Dirk finds the convicts, Gary and Lon, hiding in the rocket’s control room, he locks them in, sends the police away and offers them a proposition at gun point: either they crew the mission or he will shoot them. After learning that the ship's destination is preset and its guidance system assures a safe flight, Gary and Lon accept with the hope of returning home as heroes. Meanwhile, Dirk’s colleague and friend, Steve Dayton, and Steve’s fiancée, June Saxton, are concerned when they notice the rocket's laboratory control panel light up and go to the ship to investigate. Dirk instructs the convicts to prepare for a launch while Steve and June accidentally lock themselves in bunker room. Hearing the roar of the liftoff, the two put on oxygen masks but fall unconscious once in flight. After the couple come to, they are at first wary of Dirk’s drastic move, but are overcome with excitement as the mission appears to be going well. When the lecherous Gary suddenly molests June, a fistfight ensues as Steve defends her. While Dirk tries to salvage some of the equipment damaged during the fight, the ship hits a meteorite shower and Dirk receives a fatal head wound. Before he dies, Dirk begs Steve not to change the landing destination, gives him a medallion and asks for forgiveness from “the Lido." After landing safely on the moon, everyone puts on space suits with oxygen ... +


On the same evening that rocket scientist Dirk Green learns military personnel will take over the project with which he has been obsessed--a rocket mission to take humans to moon--the police search the secured laboratory grounds for two escaped convicts. When Dirk finds the convicts, Gary and Lon, hiding in the rocket’s control room, he locks them in, sends the police away and offers them a proposition at gun point: either they crew the mission or he will shoot them. After learning that the ship's destination is preset and its guidance system assures a safe flight, Gary and Lon accept with the hope of returning home as heroes. Meanwhile, Dirk’s colleague and friend, Steve Dayton, and Steve’s fiancée, June Saxton, are concerned when they notice the rocket's laboratory control panel light up and go to the ship to investigate. Dirk instructs the convicts to prepare for a launch while Steve and June accidentally lock themselves in bunker room. Hearing the roar of the liftoff, the two put on oxygen masks but fall unconscious once in flight. After the couple come to, they are at first wary of Dirk’s drastic move, but are overcome with excitement as the mission appears to be going well. When the lecherous Gary suddenly molests June, a fistfight ensues as Steve defends her. While Dirk tries to salvage some of the equipment damaged during the fight, the ship hits a meteorite shower and Dirk receives a fatal head wound. Before he dies, Dirk begs Steve not to change the landing destination, gives him a medallion and asks for forgiveness from “the Lido." After landing safely on the moon, everyone puts on space suits with oxygen regulators, gravitational shoes and guns. As they explore the barren rocky landscape, enormous creatures of rock burst forth from the canyon walls and menacingly lumber toward them. When their bullets do not affect the creatures, the humans flee into a cave, where they find a torch. Realizing that fire cannot burn without oxygen, the group removes their regulator masks and suits, but soon falls unconscious from a mysterious gas. They come to in an elaborately decorated palace room where a stately blind woman wearing a crown introduces herself as the Lido and orders her provocatively dressed Moon girls to serve them platters of food. One of the women spots the medallion and tells the Lido, who invites Steve into her private chambers and speaks to him as though he were Dirk, who, Steve deduces, was one of their people. The Lido tells Steve she has exterminated all tribe members who do not perform a useful function in order to conserve their meager resources, which will soon run out, and then announces that the marriage between him and his betrothed, Alpha, will take place shortly. Meanwhile, Gary introduces himself to one of the Moon girls, who is shocked to see her first man, as the male members of their tribe died before she was born. When Gary learns the girl is wearing real diamonds, he convinces her to take him to the diamond mine. Back in the palace rooms, Steve explains to June that Dirk must have left the tribe for Earth years ago to return with a ship to help them. As Lon searches for Gary, he meets Zema and is immediately smitten. Zema explains that because they have no atmosphere on the moon to protect them, the sun, on which the rock creatures thrive, can burn them to death. Meanwhile, Steve, realizing his acceptance as Dirk could save them, allows Alpha to kiss him; however, a jealous June cannot resist attacking her. Deducing their real identities, Alpha orders the group be killed. She then uses her telepathic power to take control from the Lido, but she is no match for the Lido, who explains that Alpha exercised her right to challenge the throne, but failed. When Steve and June escape into the caves, Alpha sets loose a spider monster to pursue them. After Gary’s female friend is killed by the creature, Gary, Lon, Steve and June are taken prisoner and delivered to Alpha, who uses her mind control to force Steve to forget his past life and pledge loyalty to her. When the Lido reprimands her, Alpha kills her, crowns herself the new “Lido” and orders June be taken to the extermination chamber, where she is left for the spider creature. While Alpha is distracted by the marriage ceremony, Zema gives Gary and Lon keys to a storeroom containing their suits and hand-held bombs so that they can fend off the rock creatures and escape. Gary and Lon then shoot the spider creature and free June. Meanwhile, Alpha orders a search for Gary and Lon, but Zema uses her mind control to silence and immobilize Alpha. After Zema frees Steve from Alpha’s telepathic control, Alpha tries to force Zema to pull the lever that will gas the earthlings to death in the caves. With her last bit of strength, Zema throws a bomb, tearing a hole through the palace wall and thus ensuring the death of all her people as the oxygen quickly escapes. While Gary races deep into the cave to retrieve some diamonds, June, Steve and Lon escape the caves and walk in the cliffs’ shade to avoid the sun. When Gary finally exits the cave’s mouth, a rock creature assaults him, but Gary refuses to let go of the pail weighted down with diamonds and burns to death in the sun. Soon after, June, Steve and Lon return to the ship and prepare for liftoff. Still feeling the sting of jealousy, June asks Steve if she is more attractive than Alpha, and Steve, eager to return to safety, tells her that there is only one thing prettier than June, Mother Earth. +

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

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