Conquest of Space

Conquest of Space

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We tend to think of 1950s sci fi cinema as being nothing but intrepid giant tarantulas battling a rampaging John Agar, the decade also saw a brace of movies that put technical accuracy so far before plot that they were less space adventures than dramatised documentaries.  The first of these was the famous Destination Moon (1950) and the second was the lesser-known Conquest of Space (1955).

In many ways, Conquest of Space was even more of a fictional documentary than Destination Moon ever was.  Where the latter was adapted from a Robert A. Heinlein juvenile novel, the former was based on a popular science book of the same name written by Willy Ley and illustrated by the legendary Chesley Bonestell.

Cribbing some technical ideas from Werner Von Braun as well, Conquest of Space tells the story of man's first visit to the planet Mars, beginning at the space station where the Mars ship was constructed and ending with the survivors of the crew blasting off for Earth again after some dramatic adventures sparked off by the commander of the expedition going stark, raving ga ga and trying to destroy the ship twice inside of ten minutes of arriving at the Red Planet.

You'd thought someone would've handcuffed him or locked him in the loo or something after the first time.  But what do I know?

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