From the Earth to the Moon (1958)

Genres - Action, Adventure, Science Fiction  |   Release Date - Nov 6, 1958 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 100 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Craig Butler

For some people, any 1950s sci-fi film is worth watching, and those people will most enjoy this version of From the Earth to the Moon. Not that Earth/Moon is a disaster or unwatchable or clearly the product of rank amateurs. Its biggest sin is that it is simply dull -- something that science fiction should never be. Part of this is due to budgetary reasons; special effects are kept to a minimum and are rarely very special, yet the screenplay has been structured in such a way that some sort of visual magic is required. The entire premise of the movie is built upon a journey to a new world, and both the world and the journey therefore need to project a sense of wonder and excitement. Without this, there's too much focus on the melodramatics of the plot, the often-leaden dialogue, and the sometimes muddled storyline. The film doesn't even take enough advantage of its unique period setting; there aren't a great deal of space travel films set in the 1800s, after all. Byron Haskin's pedestrian, uninspired direction doesn't suggest this is the same man who helmed The War of the Worlds and Robinson Crusoe on Mars. And while one doesn't expect great things of Debra Paget or Don Dubbins, the usually dependable Joseph Cotten and George Sanders are distinct disappointments, turning in strictly by-the-number performances. Again, From the Earth to the Moon is not a horrible film, but considering the talent involved, it is a letdown.