Road to the Stars (1957)
aka Doroga k zvezdam
Article 5569 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Pavel Klushantsev
Featuring Georgi Solovyov, Leonic Khmara, Georgi Kulbush
Country: Soviet Union
What it is: Documentary about space travel
The history of space travel from the point of view of the Soviet Union is shown.
Given the Soviet Union’s propensity for using political propaganda in their movies, I wouldn’t be surprised if this documentary skewed the history a bit in favor of their own country. However, that doesn’t make this documentary any less informative or entertaining, and the only overt hint I get of it is the criticism of the Czarist regime for overlooking the work of scientist Konstantin Tsiolkovsky. The first half of the movie covers the development of the theories of space travel (primarily from Tsiolkovsky) and the experiments toward that end; this half climaxes with the launch of Sputnik. The second half is speculation on what the next few years of space travel will bring, and it is here the movie turns into science fiction, though it never loses its documentary flavor. The special effects are excellent, and though events didn’t quite pan out in the way predicted, it was nonetheless fairly accurate about what some of the developments would be (such as finding out if humans could live in space and the first space-walk). I found this quite enjoyable, and it was nice to see a documentary for this series that wasn’t made in the seventies and didn’t discuss ancient astronauts, psychic phenomena, or cryptozoology.