When Byron Haskin’s direction has a chance at action and thrills they come over well, but most of the time the pacing is slowed by the talky script fashioned from the adaptation of the Chesley Bonestell-Willy Ley book by Philip Yordan, Barre Lyndon and George Worthington Yates.
Plot time is the future, with the setting divided between a space station wheeling some 1,000 miles above earth and a flight from this floating base to the planet Mars. Best moments deal with a meteor hitting the space station and spilling everything before the wheel is righted, and the near crash of the rocket ship with a meteor on the trip to Mars.
The rocket ship is manned by a stereotype crew. There’s Walter Brooke, the commanding officer who loses his screws because he figures God didn’t want man jetting off to new planets; Eric Fleming, his son, who didn’t want to make the trip anyway; Mickey Shaughnessy, tough old master sergeant, devoted to the c.o.; Phil Foster, a wise-cracking Brooklynite, and Benson Fong and Ross Martin, UN personnel. These and others in the cast are acceptable in undemanding roles. The real stars are the props and lensing.