Anyhow, things go amazingly well, except communications go out, they run into that asteroid belt between the Earth and the Moon (you know the one), then the engines shut down for no apparent reason. So, lacking any kind of pocket calculator, they reformulate the fuel mixture longhand and somehow fly wildly off course and end up ... well, not at the moon. Looks like Col. Graham picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue.
Hollywood's first entry in the sub-genre of 50's Rocket and Saucer films, it was rushed to production to beat out George Pal's Destination Moon. In fact, there was so much advanced press for Pal's production, X-M promotional material was labeled "This is not 'Destination Moon'". History remembers the latter as the better film (color is nice), but X-M wasn't so bad. It had a moral (nukes are bad, mmkay), was fairly well acted, and for the time was somewhat reasonable. Judge it not for it's technical gaffs, but for setting the benchmark for what was to come.
Interesting and entertaining, it won't wow your socks off. Nor does it compare visually even to Angry Red Planet. But then again, it's light years ahead of the craptacular Killers from Space. I am glad I saw it and there is little reason to see it again. AMRU 3.
"Poor fear-crazed despairing wretches. Pity them. Pity them!"