Destination Moon (1950)

Destination Moon (1950), produced by George Pal, directed by Irving Pichel.

Another early spaceflight film, more scientifically grounded than Rocketship X-M (1950) which appeared the same year. Technicolor and fine art direction make it more vivid than many classic SF films. One of Robert A. Heinlein's few screenwriting credits from that period.

We don't yet have atomic rockets, and the spaceship belongs to a consortium of industrialists, but the movie is prophetic in other ways:

If you are an SF reader of a certain age, the nostalgia rush is strong in this one. All the aspects of early spaceflight are explained and meticulously presented: the exciting countdown and launch with high-G forces, weightlessness, and a space walk and rescue.

Chesley Bonestell's lunar landscapes are gorgeous. He was an important figure of the decade when rockets had wings and space stations were giant rotating wheels. In his books Heinlein used "bonestelling" as a verb for a type of artistic rendering.

On the down side we have the usual comic crewman with a Brooklyn accent. The last act has a dumb premise: that they won't have enough fuel to get home unless they lighten the built-like-a-battleship rocket by 110lbs. This is an SF movie cliche: they do the same thing in Sunshine (2007); there it is lack of atmosphere in a vast craft with gymnasium sized compartments.

Note the only real rocket footage they have is of a captured German V2. There weren't any others for a while.

It makes me want to read Heinlein's Rocket Ship Galileo again, one of his young adult novels from that period, a similar story on a smaller scale: a scientist and three teenagers build a rocket from surplus parts and fly it to the moon. They think they are the first, but discover a secret Nazi base. What do you suppose they do about that?