Top 5 Space Movies of the 1950s

#5 - Conquest of Space

This movie was a huge George Pal production, had some of the best special effects seen up to that time, and was about a trip to Mars. How could you go wrong, right? Well, they did manage to go a little wrong, but still, it is a must-see for fans of 1950s scifi. The whole design of the ships and space station are from the pages of an article based on the work of Werner Von Braun, and it all looks amazingly cool. There are a group of astronauts living on a giant rotating space station called “The Wheel”. They are building a spaceship, which they believe will be used to make the first trip to the Moon. At the last minute (from their perspective anyway) the destination is changed to the planet Mars. Some of the characters are rather cheesy and cliche'd, and a couple get rather tiring, but the special effects are really top-notch for 1955. They were easily the best that had been done up to that point. The only serious flaw with the film is that the commanding officer falls victim to “space fever” and basically goes crazy, claiming God doesn't want them to be there and that they should all die. It just feels way too forced. I think the drama and excitement of making the very first trip to Mars is quite enough without adding some heavy-handed babbling from an insane captain. It definitely drags the film down, but not enough to make the film unenjoyable. The special effects and excitement of a fairly realistic trip to Mars more than make up for the shortcomings.

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