Saturday, May 30, 2015


I watched SATELLITE IN THE SKY (1956) for the first time this afternoon and really enjoyed it. It was the first British science fiction film to be shot in CinemaScope and WarnerColor.

The plot deals with the launch of the spacecraft Stardust into earth orbit. The mission is supposed to be purely scientific but a Tritbonium bomb has been added to the ship's cargo. The goal is to detonate the bomb above Earth's atmosphere where it's destructive power will be seen by the entire world and thus, put a halt to any and all future conflicts. Of course, something goes wrong and it's a race against time to separate the bomb from the exterior of the ship where it has become stuck due to "magnetic attraction."

Kieron Moore stars as the captain of the Stardust with a lovely young Lois (Miss Moneypenny in the James Bond films) Maxwell as a reporter who stows away on the Stardust to get an exclusive story. Donald Wolfit gives a good performance as the creator of the bomb.

The film makes good use of stock footage of actual experimental aircraft of the time while the Stardust is a nicely conceived miniature. The special effects are by Wally Veevers who would go on to work on 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (1968).

SATELLITE IN THE SKY has a matter of fact tone and atmosphere. There's some narrative time spent on the ground prior to the launch that explores the personal lives of the crewmen. The sets are nicely designed with good matte paintings in addition to the miniatures work. SATELLITE IN THE SKY ends rather abruptly. When the bomb explodes, the movie's over. Nonetheless, I found it to be an earnest, well-mounted production. Recommended to fans of '50s science fiction films.

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