DVD Reviews: And You Call Yourself a Scientist!

Home | Index

DESTINATION MOON (1950)

translittler.GIF (807 bytes)

  • The film is reviewed here
  • Released by: Image Entertainment (http://www.image-entertainment.com) from the Wade Williams Collection
  • Running time: 91:00
  • Chapter stops: 15, plus 1 (unlisted) for the theatrical trailer
  • Aspect ratio: Full frame (film shot 1.37)
  • Enhancement: None
  • Sound: Dolby Digital Mono
  • Region coding: Not coded; NTSC
translittler.GIF (807 bytes)

Picture: After seeing this film previously only in washed-out television prints, watching the DVD was a real pleasure. That said, the print used is far from perfect, although probably the best that was available, with scratches, lines, and white flecking apparent; while a couple of the reel changes are obvious. On the other hand, the picture itself is quite sharp (sharp enough for you to spot the wires with which the "weightless" astronauts are being manipulated, if you’re evil enough to look for them!), the colours bright and steady (the film was shot in Technicolor), and there is no missing footage due to splicing. Those "candy-coloured" suits have rarely looked better! (And I still say Joe’s was aqua rather than green.)

Sound: The soundtrack is clear and steady throughout, with only a couple of minor glitches. Some hiss is present, but it’s not distracting; the dialogue and Leith Stevens’ score are always quite audible.

Special features: Disappointingly for a film of such historical importance, the extras are minimal, consisting of the theatrical trailer and some liner notes by Tom Weaver, which begin on the back of the cover, and continue inside over two pages of an insert. The notes are brief, but concise and interesting, including quotes from writer Robert Heinlein, artist Chesley Bonestell, actor John Archer and producer George Pal.

The trailer begins automatically after the conclusion of the film; it is the DVD’s 16th (unlisted) chapter stop. It is in worse condition than the film itself, being both faded and a bit jumpy, but it is an interesting inclusion. The advertising is largely in tune with the film itself, although it deals a little more in hyperbole ("SEE – fantastic outer space dangers!") than Pal and Heinlein probably would have liked. The audience is further informed that Destination Moon is the film they have been reading about "in every important national magazine!" – Seein’ Stars was "an important national magazine"? The trailer is also amusing inasmuch as it indicates that the distributors were sufficiently worried about how to sell their film to the female half of the audience (girls not being interested in that silly science stuff) to try and pass Destination Moon off as a chick flick! "Never before has any WOMAN – sent her MAN – on such an EXPLOIT!" proclaim the graphics, as we see footage in which Erin O’Brien-Moore is prominently featured. In reality, the actress is in the film for less than a minute!

The film begins automatically, after the Image and Wade Williams logos, and the usual warnings. You must go via the menu to access the first scene selection screen. To get from one screen to the next, you press a little replica of the Luna, which responds with a blast of red exhaust!

Verdict: This is an acceptable presentation of an important film, and a must for anyone with a serious interest in the history of science fiction on the screen. There is probably not much here to tempt either the casual viewer, or the DVD perfectionist.