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In an attempt to reach the moon and proclaim it international territory, a crew of twelve scientists from various countries boards the Lunar Eagle rocket ship and blasts off for the twenty-seven-hour journey to the lunar surface. Among the preeminent scientists onboard are the mission's leader, American John Anderson, who has dedicated his life to the conquest of space; Erik Heinrich, a German scientist and the eldest member of the group; Russian Feodor Orloff, who lords his country's achievements in space over the others; Israeli David Ruskin, who has vowed vengeance on the Nazi who killed his family during World War II; Sigrid Bromark, a Swedish physician; Selim Hamid, a Turkish expert in space medicine; Asmara Makonen, an African astronomer whose quest for scientific knowledge is tempered by his respect for the corporeal; the noted British geophysicist William Rochester; Hideko Murata, a Japanese pharmacist; mathematician Roddy Murdoch, who at nineteen, is the youngest member of the crew; French engineer Etienne Martel and the rocket's Brazilian pilot, Luis Vargas. Joining the humans on their journey to the moon are pairs of cats, monkeys and dogs, subjects of an experiment to see if procreation can take place on the moon. After dodging a meteor shower, the craft lands on the moon. While Martel stays behind to monitor communications, the others don helmets that provide a two-hour air supply and disembark on the moon's oxygenless surface. After planting an international flag, they begin the scientific exploration to measure minerals in the soil and search for air and light. Upon finding a stone that looks like liquid fire, Asmara recalls the evil of the Medea Stone, named after the legendary ancient Greek sorceress. Meanwhile, Sigrid and Selim explore a cave, and upon spotting a strange mist emanating from the ground, realize that the cave must contain air. Upon removing their helmets, the two embrace. When Sigrid and Selim fail to return, the crew follows their footprints to a cave, but the two have vanished. As the others examine a wall of solid ice at the rear of the cave, Rochester is swallowed by a pit of quicksand-like pumice dust. Soon after the group returns to the rocket, the temperature outside plummets to 202 degrees below zero as the lunar night descends. Just as Anderson discovers that all contact with Earth has been broken off, leaving them in total isolation, a series of strange hieroglyphics appears across the magnetic tape of their recorder. Hideko deciphers the message, an edict from the moon people to return to Earth at once and leave them in peace. The message explains that the moon people, who communicate by thought waves and live in a city below the moon's crust, fear that the earth will contaminate their perfect form of harmony with earthly emotions of greed, lust and passion for conquest. It concludes with the information that the moon people have captured Sigrid and Selim and intend to study them to understand the emotion of love. As Ruskin denounces the message as a ruse to frighten them away, Heinrich suffers a heart attack. In his delirium, Heinrich denounces his father, the notorious Nazi who was responsible for the deaths of many Jews, among them Ruskin's family. Upon regaining his clarity, Heinrich explains that even though he forsook his father's surname, he has been hounded by his father's crimes his entire life, then asks for Ruskin's forgiveness. The Lunar Eagle blasts off to return home, but upon approaching Earth, they discover that everything has been frozen to a halt. They then receive another message from the moon, informing them that the moon people have decided to freeze North America as a warning to leave the moon alone. To reverse the freezing process, the scientists on the Lunar Eagle decide to drop an atomic bomb into a Mexican volcano. When they draw lots to see who will pilot the space taxi that will drop the bomb, Ruskin and Heinrich are the two chosen. When the others are not looking, Martel, a hard-line Communist who would like to leave North America frozen, tries to sabotage the bomb, but is seen by Orloff. When Martel tries to enlist Orloff in his cause, Orloff states that he is a scientist and not an ideologue, and a fight ensues. The others then rush in and overpower Martel. After Ruskin forgives Heinrich, the two fly the taxi to the volcano and drop the bomb, and in the ensuing eruption, are killed. As North America begins to thaw, the moon people freeze the Lunar Eagle , but then experience a change of heart. Impressed by the sacrifice of Ruskin and Heinrich and the love they have observed between Selim and Sigrid, the Grand Coordinator of the moon realizes that not all earthlings are base and invites them to return to the moon.
Cast & Crew
|MPAA Ratings:||Premiere Info:||Los Angeles opening: 22 Jun 1960|
|Release Date:||1960||Production Date:||
|Color/B&W:||Distributions Co:||Columbia Pictures Corp.|
|Sound:||Production Co:||Luna Productions, Inc.|
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12 to the Moon (1960)
Celia Trimboli 2010-05-17
OK sci-fi from the early 60s. An international group of astronauts travel to the moon. I think the people who made this movie got the idea from a...
John McCarthy 2010-03-11
Ed Wood's seminal feature, "Plan 9 from Outer Space," is often cited as the world's worst motion picture, but after a recent TCM...