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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

12 to the Moon

This is Steven Petrick Posting.

I am watching a "failed" movie that was released in 1960. It is a black and white film whose title is "12 to the Moon". I have not seen it all, but I was amazed at this film which predated Star Trek. The 12 members of the mission included two women and ten men. And it was truly "international" in that one of the crew was a Turk, one was an African, one was Japanese (female), one was an Israeli, one was a Russian, one was a Swede (female), one was a German, one was a Briton, one was a Kenyan, one was French, one was Indian, and one was an American. Yes, the American was "in command" (and the rocket used for the special effect of the launch was a U.S. Atlas with the U.S. star plainly visible), but the others were portrayed as from their given countries, not simply "an African-American" or other hyphen American.

But here was a polygot crew working together (more or less, it was only 15 years since the end of World War II, and the Cold War was on going). Anger at past events was dealt with (the German and the Polish-Israeli had to work together despite the Israeli remembering the Nazis killed his parents, the Russian was somewhat arrogant about the superiority of the Soviet system and the "Western Types" were not interested in being dominated by the Soviet Union, and so on).

I had to wonder if Gene Roddenberry had seen the film. Each crewman had a real role to play (i.e., a real job on the mission), the Kenyan for example was the navigator. The Russian was a geologist and assumed command of the operation once his "task" came to the fore, i.e., we have reached the site where we are going to look for rocks and how the moon was made so now you tell us what to do.

The technology was, of course, silly (magnetic faceplates served to keep them from being exposed no atmosphere rather than have actual faceplates, and portable magentic shields kept them from being hit by stray meteorites while they wandered around on the Moon's surface. And slow movement on the Moon had to serve for low gravity while the on the ship it was assumed (without saying so) that there was artificial gravity.

I have only seen about half of it, and I know enough to know that this film was rated a "BOMB" for people to see by critics, but I am somewhat curious to see what will finally happen.

It is obvious that the film suffered greatly from its effort to have such a large cast (it become very obvious in some of the scenes where they are trying to crowd 11 people onto the screen after they left one man to hold the ship).