FROM THE EARTH TO THE MOON (1958)
Article #782 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 5-6-2003
Posting Date: 10-3-2003
Directed by Byron Haskin
Featuring Joseph Cotten, George Sanders, Debra Paget
An inventor of a new explosive plans to use this power for a trip to the moon.
I’ve covered several of the Jules Verne adaptations from the fifties and sixties, and though I haven’t always been particularly enthusiastic about them, they all look pretty good when compared to this one. For one thing, the characters, conflicts and situations in the other movies seem clear and understandable; this movie is plagued with a rather turgid vagueness that leaves me wondering as to the whys and wherefores about what is going on at any particular moment. Also, these other movies didn’t waste time in getting to the meat of their story (though JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH is a little slow out of the gate); this one is a good hour into the film before we reach the launch countdown, and that first hour isn’t particularly interesting. Even the countdown itself starts with the number seventy rather than the conventional ten (and they do hit every number down the line) as an example of the overly leisurely pace of the movie. On the plus side, there are a number of familiar faces; along with the ones listed above, there is also Henry Daniell and Morris Ankrum (as President Grant). It also has some quite amusing nineteenth-century science fiction devices. Nonetheless, the movie as a whole just seemed vague and unfocused; it never really comes to life, despite a cast that could have easily made it more engaging and situations that had a real potential for some strong drama. All in all, one of the least satisfying of the Verne adaptations.