Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Review: Riders to the Stars

Riders to the Stars (1954)

Mankind is reaching out into space, but the path isn't as simple as once thought.  Deadly cosmic rays are turn the first test rockets into dust and the US government recruits three pilots to fly into orbit to recover meteorites, which scientists believe hold the solution to the problem.  Can they overcome their personal fears and withstand the stresses of training long enough to complete their mission.

Riders to the Stars is another of Ivan Tors's close-but-no-cigar sci fi efforts.  While he strives mightily to produce an adult drama filled with real passion and white knuckle suspense, he ends up with an overwrought melodrama that is sometimes unintentionally funny due to its sheer earnestness.  We also see here Tors's on-going love of technology and desire to put up on the screen every bit of lab equipment he can get his hands on and to hell with wither the final set looks less like a space centre than a jumble sale at a high school physics class.  Riders has such lofty ambitions that it seems almost cruel to point out how badly it fails (the spacesuits are painful to look at and Dawn Adams fights like mad to screw some sort of performance out of her dreadful lines), but in the end, it ends up as little more than a footnote in the history of cinematic science fiction at the dawn of the Space Age.

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