The Flying Saucer (1950) B&W
Starring Mikel Conrad, Pat Garrison, Hanz von Teuffen
Released January 5, 1950, this film warrants prominent status by default simply because it is considered the very first sci-fi movie to launch the cosmic cinema explosion of the fifties.
Beyond the default however, this film contributed little or no significant prominence to the on-the-horizon sci-fi booming period.
Synopsis: It's one of the coldest moments of a very cold war. Both sides have the bomb now, so what's next? Suddenly, flying saucers are reported by folks everywhere.
Could this be the military edge needed to retain superiority? The government dispatches a special agent to Alaska where a flying saucer is reportedly hidden, but he discovers he's not alone and must race the crafty Communists to retrieve the space-age craft.
Prehistoric Women (1950) Color
Tigri (Laurette Luez, working her way up to Bomba and Bowery Boys films) and her stone-age girl friends hate all men, but realizing they are a necessary evil, capture some for potential (strictly business, no recreation allowed) husbands.
Engor (Allan Nixon, working his way down to the Mesa of Lost Women) escapes and, in his travels, discovers fire. This comes in handy later, after he has been recaptured by the women, when he drives off a dragon, or something, with his new discovery.
This little feat has the effect of making the women realize their rightful subservient position, and he and Tigri have a primitive (non-catered) wedding, and go off to start a new tribe of fur-wearers.
Two Lost Worlds (1950) B&W
Starring James Arness, Laura Elliot, Bill Kennedy
Two Lost Worlds presents James Arness in his first starring role. The film was produced independently by Boris Petroff from his original story. The film was scripted by Phyllis Parker (with later, added scenes written by Tom Hubbard and voice-over narrative by Bill Shaw), directed by Norman Dawn, and distributed by Eagle-Lion Classics Inc., with a 1952 reissue by Classic Pictures Inc.
There are no original dinosaur effects in the film. The dinosaurs appear 58 minutes into the film during the final reel. They were taken from stock footage recycled from the film One Million B.C. (1940). The film was shot in Red Canyon State Park in Cantil, California.
The year is 1830. The American clipper ship, the Queen, is attacked by pirates in the Hebrides (present day Vanuatu). The ship's mate Kirk Hamilton (Arness) is wounded and heads to Queensland Colony in Australia for medical treatment.
While at the hospital, he meets and falls in love with Elaine Jeffries, the fiancee of Martin Shannon (Kennedy) a rancher. A romantic rivalry develops and the pirates, who attacked Kirk and his ship kidnap her along with her friend, Nancy Holden. Kirk and Shannon pursue the pirates and they soon wind up on a volcanic island, inhabited by dinosaurs.
Rocketship X-M (1950) Color
Starring Lloyd Bridges, Noah Beery, Jr., Hugh O'Brian
Rocketship X-M was the second of the American science fiction feature films of the space adventure genre begun in the post-war era.
Because expensive special effects and production value delayed the release of Destination Moon, this black-and-white film was quickly shot (in 18 days) so as to be able to make it to the cinemas first with the story of a moon expedition that instead lands on Mars.
In the original 1950 theatrical release directed by Kurt Neumann, the Martian landscape was shown with a red tint. The film was scored by American composer Ferde Grofé. Instruments and technical equipment were supplied by Allied Aircraft Company of North Hollywood. The film is also known as Expedition Moon and originally as Rocketship XM-1.
In the 1970s the rights to the film were acquired by collector Wade Williams, who set about re-shooting some of its special effects scenes in order to improve the film's look. The DVD release incorporates the re-shot footage.
Destination Moon (1950) Color
Starring Warner Anderson, Tom Powers, John Archer, Dick Wesson
Destination Moon was the first major science fiction film produced in the United States and lifted the genre from the realm of the fantastic to the world of the believable.
Co-scripted by Robert Heinlein from his novel Rocketship Galileo, Destination Moon's suspenseful plot relates the saga of man's first voyage to the moon amid a series of scientific cliffhangers.
It also marked producer George Pal's initial association with the genre. Later, Pal would produce some of Hollywood's most popular sci-fi films, including War of the Worlds, When Worlds Collide and The Time Machine.
Breathtakingly photographed in vivid Technicolor, Destination Moon remains a science fiction landmark.
When their latest rocket test fails and government funding collapses, rocket scientist Dr. Charles Cargraves (Warner Anderson) and space enthusiast General Thayer (Tom Powers) enlist the aid of aircraft magnate Jim Barnes (John Archer).
With the necessary millions raised privately from a group of patriotic U. S. industrialists, Cargraves, Warner, and Barnes build an advanced single-stage-to-orbit atomic powered spaceship, named Luna, at their desert manufacturing and launch facility; the project is soon threatened by a ginned-up public uproar over "radiation safety."
The three idealists circumvent legal efforts to stop their expedition by simply launching the world's first Moon mission well ahead of schedule; as a result, they must quickly substitute Joe Sweeney (Dick Wesson) as their expedition's radar and radio operator.
On their way to Moon, they are forced to go outside Luna in zero gravity, wearing magnetic boots to stay on the hull, in order to free a frozen piloting radar antenna greased-up by the inexperienced Sweeney hours before the launch. In the process they carelessly lose one of the crew overboard, untethered in free fall; he is cleverly retrieved by using a large oxygen cylinder as a retro rocket.
After achieving orbit around the Moon, the crew begins the complex landing procedure, using too much fuel during the Luna's descent phase. On the Moon, after exploring the lunar surface, they begin to calculate the mass needed to lighten their spaceship in the Moon's one-sixth gravity to get them back home with their remaining fuel.
No matter how much non-critical equipment they remove and leave on the lunar surface, the hard numbers radioed from Earth continue to point to one conclusion: someone will have to stay behind on the Moon if the other three crew are to return safely to Earth.
With time running out for their return launch window, the crew engineers their way home: They jettison the ship's heavy radio equipment and their sole remaining space suit, with air tanks and space helmet, directly through the spaceship's open airlock.
The critical take-off weight is finally achieved, and with just minutes remaining, Luna safely blasts off from the Moon with all aboard. As the crew approaches the Earth, the film's traditional "The End" title card heralds the dawn of the Space Age: "This is THE END...of the Beginning."