A Forgotten '50s Gem: The Conquest of Space Encourages Space Exploration

Larry Klaes Provides an Insightful Look at the 1955 Film 'Conquest of Space'

Science fiction cinemagoer? Always wondered about the classic films of the 1950s that fuelled the public's excitement for space exploration? Well, wonder no more! Here's an insightful analysis of the film 'Conquest of Space' from Larry Klaes, who has expertly examined the themes, production, and cultural impact of the movie.

The Background

Have you ever wondered what could have happened if the production of 2001: A Space Odyssey was brought forward by a decade? What would have been a pioneering cinematic work that reshaped the science fiction genre could have faced a very different outcome if it had been developed for the cinema in the mid-1950s. Instead of magnesium-fueled flames of Apollo, we might have had a cheesy yet overly dramatic space film.

Produced by the legendary George Pal in 1955, Conquest of Space was inspired by a book of the same title, written by science writer Willy Ley and illustrated by space artist Chesley Bonestell. It portrays a realistic depiction of humanity's first steps into space through the eyes of a crew on a voyage to Venus.

What Went Wrong?

Critically, Conquest of Space is not well known, despite its aspirations to realistically portray space exploration. Many critics consider it to be a B-movie with A-movie values due to its overly dramatic and melancholy tone. The characters are unlikeable, and the dialogue is often described as awful and ridiculous. The attempt to add humor to the script often falls flat, with many reviewers stating that it only serves to worsen the plot.

However, despite these shortcomings, the film had some aspects that propelled it forward for critics and the public alike. The realism portrayed in the voyage to Venus and the spaceship designs (which were borrowed from a series of articles published in Collier's magazine) intrigued audiences. Some even argue that it influenced Stanley Kubrick's masterpiece 2001: A Space Odyssey.

A Foray into the Impact of the Film

Larry Klaes takes us on a fascinating journey into the impact of the film, exploring how it influenced later science fiction films and ignited the public's interest in space exploration. Despite its flaws, Conquest of Space remains an important time capsule of the excitement and aspirations of the early Space Age.

So, if you're a fan of classic science fiction films and want to explore the impact they had on the public's interest in space, this is an article you won't want to miss!

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