Destination Moon

Synopsis: 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.
Director(s): Irving Pichel
Production: Eagle-Lion
  Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 2 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
92 min

There it is, General.

It's your vindication.

Profit without honor, heh?

Well, at least I'm still alive

to see this.

They'll break their necks to get you

back when they see what this can do!








Stay in here!

There may be more explosions!

What happened, Charles?

What went wrong? - I don't know!

There couldn't have been anything

wrong withe the design aeronautically.

No, it was the motor.

Why? Why after 4 years

of development and tests?

It seems impossible but I can

think of only one thing...-What?

Somebody tampered.

- Sabotage?

That's for intelligence to find out

while we build another.

I'm afraid you won't, Charles.

- Of course we will!

Do you think this failure will make it

easier to get new appropriations?

Things like this mean military cuts.

Research is going back to the

laboratories. - Then I will too.

I'm not quiting!

First, I want to re-introduce myself

to my wife and kids.

Mow the lawn, fix leaky faucets,

paint fences and... a few detective stories

in the bathtub.

Then get on with the problem and a

few others I've neglected.

A satellite to circle the Earth

forever at 12,000 miles above sea level.

What did I call it just before

it was fired?

Your vindication, General?

I'm sorry. I'm sorrier

about that than anything else.

For your years of crusading all I've

given you is...

...the most expensive pile of junk

in history.

General Thayer is here, Mr. Barnes.

- Fine. Send him in.

Don't forget to wash behind your ears!

How was your trip, General?

- Very smooth.

I flew in on one of your Skyliners.

Nice ship, Jimmy. Very nice.

Whenever you start with a compliment,

you're after something.

That's hardly civil, Jim.

I haven't seen you for 2 years.

Did I ask you for something the

last time I saw you?

You certainly did!

You wanted a shoulder to cry on

because Cargraves' rocket fizzled.

Glad to see you anyway.

I'm not wasting time crying

about that anymore.

After the way you sold me...

"the rocket is an absolute


"If any other power gets one into

space before we do...

...we'll no longer be the United States,

we'll be the Disunited World, etc..."

It's twice as true today.

You proved that a satellite rocket

isn't practical.

It blew up, didn't it?

Did it blow up, Jimmy?

Or was it blown up?

Blown up?

Why ask me?

Army Intelligence might know.

They know.

What's your pitch, General?

I'll tell you!

- Wait a minute...

I think I can put this together myself!

You're a satellite rocket man...

You crusaded yourself right out of the

service and you kept on crusading.

Finally they took up the Cargraves

project and it fizzled.

Now, following the course of old

established habits...'d like to drop it

in my lap!

Well, I love you General...

...but I'm just a plain manufacturer,

not the Dept. of Defense!

The answer is no!

Don't light that cigar,

we're going to lunch!

Who said you're anything but a

manufacturer? That's why I came to you.

Building rocket satellites is big stuff.

I couldn't begin to finance one....

I'm not asking you to rebuild

the satellite.

Cargraves spent 4 years

on that project!

That rocket could have and should

have done everything we anticipated!

There's no time nor need

to repeat that experiment.

Then what are you driving at now?

- The moon!

Okay, I'll listen.

Tell me.

I did tell you! The next rocket

we build is going to the moon!

Let's go to lunch.

- I'm serious, Jim.

You can't be! It's too fantastic!

The Moon? Impossible!

Even with an atomic energy engine?

Exhaust velocity potential

of 30,000 ft/sec?

A thrust of 3,000,000 pounds?

Why, even Gesputly's atomic engine has

only limited use. He has no mobile unit.

Cargrave's has spent the last 2 years

on it. He designed and tested it.

His scale model ran for an hour and 23

minutes before it blew up!


- I saw it, Jim.

And the government hasn't taken

that over?

It's peacetime. The government isn't

making that kind of appropriations.

They'll need to rocket one day

and they'll turn to you!

To private industry. Government always

does that when it gets in a jam!

This time, I figured we might be ready

for the government!

Preparedness isn't all military, Jim.

What about the money?

That's not the problem!

It's production. That's why I came

to you. You're a production man.

The problem right now is

one of research.

Designing, special materials...

the pooling of resources, specialized

skills, engineering brains....

industrial capacity.

No single company could

possibly do it.

But combined American industry

sparked by Jim Barnes...

could put a rocket on the moon

within a year.

What do you say, Jim?

Do we go to lunch?

Or do we go to the moon?

The moon, huh?

Here's the control room.

All this space below carries the working

fluid, the reaction mass.

Water heated to dry steam by the atomic

pile and expelled by this jet.

Here we have the shielding to

protect the crew from radioactivity.

Here are the gyros that can be used to

turn the ship to any desired attitude.

I admit, gentlemen, that this

enterprise appeals to me!

I've always been attracted by

progressive forms of transportation!

I'm not known as a

"horse and buggy" man!

I'd like to have a finger in this

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Alford Van Ronkel

Alford Van Ronkel was born on July 2, 1908 in Illinois, USA as Alford Arthur Von Ronkel. He was a writer and actor, known for Destination Moon (1950), The Bamboo Saucer (1968) and Once Upon a Scoundrel (1973). He was married to Carol. He died on March 30, 1965 in Hollywood, California, USA. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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