(1954, US, 123 min) Dir Hal Douglas. Cast Jim Thorn, Alice Patrick, Ed Dietrich.
The best that can be said about Beyond the Stars is that it’s right. If you wanted to go into space yourself then you could watch it and take notes and construct the same rockets and use the same methods that are used in the movie and it would work. The problem with that is that the film will be super exciting to rocket scientists but to your average Joe and Sally on a Saturday afternoon it may as well be filmed in Snooze-A-Rama. And that’s just the plot – you can have the dullest script sold to you by the magnetism of a bona fide star but Thorn, Patrick and Dietrich seem to have been cast on the size of their jaws rather than on their ability to react before a camera better than a slab of aged steak. Add that all together and you’ve got a film that plays at two hours plus but feels like a year. The title’s a con too by the way – they get to Mars by the halfway point and waste precious celluloid standing around in the dirt for the rest of the film. Avoid like a holiday in a vacuum.