We are now in the regions of eternal night.
Not long after the close of the Civil War a munitions producer named Victor Barbicane (Joseph Cotton) calls together a group of other munitions manufacturers. He tells the group that he has invented a new explosive called “Power X”. He says it is more powerful than any other explosive ever made. He says it can destroy any city on the planet. Since use could result in the destruction of the Earth he proposes to test his explosive by sending a missile to the moon.
A Metallurgist, Stuyvesant Nicholl (George Sanders) scoffs at the invention. He proposes a wager of $100,000 that Power X can not destroy his invention, the hardest metal in existence. Barbicane agrees to the wager. Using a tiny amount of Power X Barbicane not only destroys the metal but half a hill as well.
Before Barbicane can send his missile President Ulysses S. Grant (Morris Ankrum) requests to see him. He asks Barbicane to cease development of his invention. Other countries let it be known that if Barbicane continues with his test they will consider it an act of war on the part of the United States. Barbicane reluctantly agrees.
When Barbicane inspects a piece of debris from the explosion he discovers that pieces of Nicholl's metal have somehow been converted into an extremely strong but lightweight ceramic. He decides to construct a spaceship to travel to the Moon and back. He recruits Nicholl to help build the ship. Meanwhile, Nicholl's daughter Virginia (Debra Paget) and Barbicane's assistant Ben Sharpe (Don Dubbins) start a romance.
Once the ship is completed, Barbicane, Nicholl, and Sharpe board the ship and take off. Once the spaceship is in outer space Nicholl reveals that he has sabotaged the ship. He believes that Barbicane has shown contempt for God. They then discover that Virginia has stowed away. Devastated, Nicholl must now, despite his feelings for Barbicane, try to find a way to save his daughter from certain death.
“From the Earth to the Moon” was released in 1958 and is based on a story by Jules Verne. It is a science fiction/fantasy/adventure and was filmed in Mexico. Louis and Bebe Barron’s tonalities from “Forbidden Planet” were used for the outer space portion of the movie.
If you’re looking for a fancy special effect story you won’t find it here. Production of the movie began at RKO pictures, but when RKO went into bankruptcy the film was acquired and released by Warner Brothers. It’s believed that budget cuts resulted in not only cuts to special effects but to any planned scenes on the Moon. The final result is a film that is less than exciting. The movie does look lavish in the beginning with rich sets and costumes but goes nowhere from there. It’s basically uninteresting for a Jules Verne story. Even critics were too bored with it to bother trashing it. Too bad, the movie did have potential.