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From the Earth to the Moon

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From the Earth to the Moon (1958) starring Joseph Cotton, George Sanders
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From the Earth to the Moon (1958) starring Joseph Cotten, George Sanders

Synopsis of From the Earth to the Moon

Set just after the American civil war, businessman and inventor Victor Barbicane invents a new source of power called Power X. He plans to use it to power rockets, and to show its potential he plans to send a projectile to the moon. Joining him for the trip are his assistant Ben Sharpe, Barbicane’s arch-rival Stuyvesant Nicholl, and Nicholl’s daughter Virginia. Nicholl believes that Power X goes against the will of God and sabotages the projectile so that they cannot return to earth, setting up a suspenseful finale as they battle to repair the projectile. …From the Earth to the Moon

Review of From the Earth to the Moon

In short, From the Earth to the Moon is a very enjoyable movie.  It’s relatively faithful to the original Jules Verne story, which is good.  It does add a romantic subplot, which doesn’t detract from the movie.  But the best part of the movie is the interaction between Joseph Cotten and George Sanders.  They’re a pair of wonderful actors, but more than that, they portray two diametric opposites.  Neither is evil.  You can even argue that neither is wrong.  Although clearly Sanders’ religious extremism is meant to push the scale in Cotten’s favor.

Cast of characters in From the Earth to the Moon

  • Victor Barbicane (Joseph CottenI’ll Be Seeing YouThe Abominable Dr. Phibes).  A munitions manufacturer, who made a fortune during the American Civil War.  And, now that peace has come, he needs to find something to do with his life.  With the discovery of Power X, he thinks he’s found it.  And a peaceful use for that destructive force.
  • Stuyvesant Nicholl (George SandersVillage of the DamnedThe Picture of Dorian Gray).  Barbicane’s opposite number.  They were on opposite sides of the Civil War. He created armor, which Barbicane swiftly found ways to shatter.  A religious man, he fears that Barbicane’s Power X is an affront to God Himself.  Though why he feels that he needs to help God is an unanswered question.  However, he has a deep love for his daughter …
  • Virginia Nicholl (Debra Paget, House of Strangers).  Nicholl’s daughter, who initially agrees totally with her father.  And distrusts Barbicane, certain that he’s up to no good.  But his handsome assistant is another story …
  • Ben Sharpe (Don Dubbins, Tribute to a Bad Man).  Barbicane’s right-hand man, who’s almost like a son to him.  He takes Barbicane’s point of view, and returns Virginia’s affections.

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