In the Golden Age of science fiction films came into their own. Many films were low-budget B-movies, but there were a significant number of successful films with big budgets and impressive special effects.
Pal created Destination
Moon (1950), When Worlds
Collide (1951), The War of the
Worlds (1953), and The Time
Machine (1960), all of which won an Academy Award for Best Visual
Effects, which demonstrated the increased technical excellence and critical
recognition of the genre.
One of the first science fiction films
to attempt a high level of accurate technical detail tells the story of the
first trip to the Moon.
After their latest rocket fails, Dr. Charles Cargraves and retired General
Thayer have to start over again. This time, Gen. Thayer approaches Jim Barnes,
the head of his own aviation construction firms to help build a rocket that will
take them to the moon. Together they gather the captains of industry and all
pledge to support the goals of having the United States be the first to put a
man on the moon.
They build their rocket and successfully leave the Earth's gravitational pull
and make the landing as scheduled. Barnes has miscalculated their fuel
consumption however and after stripping the ship bare, they are still 100 lbs
too heavy meaning that one of them will have to stay behind.
The final credit for Destination Moon reads "This is THE END..Of The
When Worlds Collide
As a new star and planet hurtle
toward a doomed Earth, a small group of survivalists frantically work to
complete the rocket which will take them to their new home.
South African bush pilot and carefree ladies man Dave Randall finds he has
been let in on the greatest and most terrible secret in the world when an
eminent astronomer pays him to deliver some mysterious photos from to an equally
prominent colleague in the US. The recipient, Dr Hendron, confirms the awful
findings of the sender: the star Bellus will collide with Earth, destroying our
Despite widespread disbelief, Marston and Spiro, a pair of millionaire
philanthropists, give Dr Hendron all their assets to begin construction on a
huge rocket ship that will, at least theoretically, transport a nucleus of
survivors to Zyra, a planet which orbiting Bellus that may or may not be
habitable. The funds aren't enough to complete the spaceship, and Dr Hendron
solicits a contribution from tycoon Sydney Stanton, a wheelchair-bound old man
who, unlike the selfless Marston and Spiro, demands a place on the rocket, even
though space and weight will be too precious for anyone but young, skilled men
Even as doomsday approaches, Randall is surprised to find himself in a love
triangle with Dr Hendron's daughter and her fiancé. Humanity is in peril, and
only a modern-day Noah's ark, and the continued need of a man for a woman, can
The War of the Worlds
H G Wells' classic novel is brought
to life in this tale of alien invasion. The residents of a small town in
California are excited when a flaming meteor lands in the hills. Their joy is
tempered somewhat when they discover that it has passengers who are not very
friendly. The movie itself is understood better when you consider that it was
made at the height of the Cold War--just replace Martian with Russian...
Scientist Clayton Forrester and Sylvia Van Buren are the first to arrive at
the site of a meteorite crash. Soon after, an alien war machine emerges and
begins killing at random. The Marines are called in, but they're no match for
the aliens' force field. The Martians unchain a direct assault to our planet,
with hundreds of invulnerable ships.
The invasion takes place all over the world, and all the major cities are
destroyed one after one--even the atomic bomb can't stop them. But if the humans
can't beat them, who can? Maybe something MUCH smaller...
The Time Machine
On January 5, 1900, a disheveled looking
H G Wells - George to his friends - arrives late to his own dinner party. He
tells his guests of his travels in his time machine, the work about which his
friends knew. They were also unbelieving, and skeptical of any practical use if
it did indeed work.
George knew that his machine was stationary in geographic position, but he
did not account for changes in what happens over time to that location. He also
learns that the machine is not impervious and he is not immune to those who do
not understand him or the machine's purpose. George tells his friends that he
did not find the Utopian society he so wished had developed.
He mentions specifically a civilization several thousand years into the
future which consists of the subterranean morlocks and the surface dwelling
eloi, who on first glance lead a carefree life. Despite all these issues, love
can still bloom over the spread of millennia.
[adapted from imdb]
Ann Marie Thomas is the author of three medieval history books, a
surprisingly cheerful poetry collection about her 2010 stroke, and the science
fiction series Flight of the Kestrel. Book one, Intruders, is out now.
Follow her at http://eepurl.com/bbOsyz