Under the commandment of the General Thayer, the American government works on a lunar expedition project on board a nuclear propelled rocket. But to be a success, this difficult project necessitate the total and completes assistance of the private industry. Thayer meets therefore Jim Barnes from "Barnes Aircraft" and is in charge to convince other heads of the trusteeship that the project, coveted by others nations that have launched into the race, necessitates their complete adherence. The future of the country depends on the success of the project. The one who will reach the Moon first, will control the Earth...
Studies and tests succeed to a sustained rhythm to construct as soon as possible a rocket and the annexe equipment that will allow four astronauts to walk on the lunar ground. But incremental protests about a possible risk of radioactive contamination, oblige the astronauts of the expedition, the Doctor Charles Cargraves, Jim Barnes, the General Thayer and Joe Sweeney, substitute in last minutes to Brown who felt sick, to advance the day of the launching.
The rocket, baptized "Luna", takes off without problem. The Astronauts can enjoy the spectacle that is offered to them and make the experience of the flight in state of weightlessness. A little technical problem necessitates an extra-vehicular exit in order to repair the radar. Charles, Jim and Joe exit the rocket's cockpit shod by magnetic boots that allow them to stay in contact with the rocket. But a lack of attention powers the Doctor Charles Cargraves out in space. The ingenuity of Jim will be necessary to catch his friend thanks to an oxygen bottle used as a little propeller.
"Luna" arrives now near our satellite. The reverse manoeuver unfolds as anticipated and the rocket lands on the lunar ground. Rapidly our adventurers exit to make some some steps on the moon, equiped of their spacesuits. Taking radio contact with the Earth, they attempt to retranscribe with their own words the beauty of the landscape that they have under the eyes.
But calculations demonstrate that the rocket has consummated far more fuel that anticipated during the landing. Because of the lack of fuel, it is impossible for the crew to return on Earth...
Click to read the end of the story. Spoiler ahead !
The decision is then taken to throw out the maximum of useless thing onboard the rocket. Nothing appends. "Luna" is always too heavy to allow the astronauts to regain the Earth in total security.
Despite Joe's resolution to remain on the Moon to save his team-mates, Jim refuses the idea. The Astronauts will finally have to throw radio features and spacesuits, what will constitute an exploit to reject the last. The maximum weight for a return in total security is now reached, the mission is saved and "Luna" leaves... Destination Earth!
This film based on the novel "Rocketship Galileo" from pulp writer Robert Heinlein and produced by famous George Pal has received two nominations for Oscars in 1950 and has been rewarded by the best special effects's Oscar. The cold war climate that rules in the movie is obvious. At this time they were persuaded that the first who would land on the Moon would control the Earth. This film announced the revival of science-fiction, a gender that was then forsaken to the profiles of innumerable productions of horror films. It will rapidly open the road to others classics such as ROCKETSHIP X-M, THE WAR OF THE WORLDS, or THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL. Irving Pichel and George Pal payed an enormous special attention to the scientific aspects and true details for this movie, making out of DESTINATION LUNE a great quality documentary kind.