Conquest of Space

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Conquest of Space (1955) is a 1955 science-fiction movie, produced by George Pál, which depicts humanity's first voyage to Mars. It is notable for attempting to present a realistic view of near-future space travel, and for addressing a controversy over the potential moral and religious implications of humanity moving out to the stars.

Quotes[edit]

Narrator: This is a story of tomorrow, or the day after tomorrow, when men have built a station in space, constructed in the form of a great wheel, and set a thousand miles out from the Earth, fixed by gravity, and turning about the world every two hours, serving a double purpose: an observation post in the heavens, and a place where a spaceship can be assembled, and then launched to explore other planets, and the vast universe itself, in the last and greatest adventure of mankind — the plunge toward the… conquest of space!

Gen. Sam Merritt: Working for one government was bad enough, but now we've got all of them on our backs.

Gen. Sam Merritt: To gamble the lives of a crew of men on as senseless a mission as this… is callous. It's stupid!
Dr. George Fenton: Stupid, or callous, it may seem to be at this time. It is not senseless. Man's very survival on Earth depends on the success of this or some future search for a new source of raw materials.

Gen. Sam Merritt: Before any of you accept, I should like to make it unmistakably clear that the dangers of this journey are above and beyond anything that the Space Corps or your own governments have any right to ask of you. I can give you confounded little reason for this attempt to reach Mars, and no assurance at all that it will even be successful. It's my personal conviction that no one but an idiot would volunteer, and I shall strongly suspect the sanity of anyone who does. All right, we've all got it straight. Who wants to go?
[After a long pause, Sgt. Imoto steps forward.]
Sgt. Imoto: Is it permitted to disagree with the General, sir?
Gen. Sam Merritt: Of course, Sergeant.
Sgt. Imoto: In my humble opinion, sir, there is an excellent reason for this voyage.
Gen. Sam Merritt: Well, suppose you tell us about it.
Sgt. Imoto: Some years ago, my country chose to fight a terrible war. It was bad — I do not defend it — but there were reasons. Somehow, those reasons are never spoken of. To the Western world at that time, Japan was a fairybook nation — little people living in a strange land of rice-paper houses, people who had almost no furniture, who sat on the floor and ate with chopsticks. The quaint houses of rice paper, sir — they were made of paper because there was no other material available. And the winters in Japan are as cold as they are in Boston. And the chopsticks… there was no metal for forks and knives and spoons, but slivers of wood could suffice. So it was with the little people of Japan, little as I am now, because for countless generations we have not been able to produce the food to make us bigger. Japan's yesterday will be the world's tomorrow — too many people and too little land. That is why I say, sir, there is urgent need for us to reach Mars: to provide the resources the human race will need, if they are to survive. That is also why I am most grateful to be found acceptable, sir. I volunteer.
Gen. Sam Merritt: Thank you, Sergeant Imoto. You're not a little man.

Capt. Barney Merritt: I don't remember you reading the Bible so often, sir.
Gen. Sam Merritt: It's the one book you never really get through reading. Man's every move, his every thought, his every action is in there somewhere, recorded or predicted. Every move except… this one. According to the Bible, Man was created on the Earth. Nothing is ever mentioned of his going to other planets. Not one blessed word.
Capt. Barney Merritt: Well, at the time the Bible was written, it wouldn't have made much sense, would it?
Gen. Sam Merritt: Does it now? The Biblical limitations of Man's wanderings are set down as being the four corners of the Earth. Not Mars, or Jupiter, or infinity. The question is, Barney, what are we? Explorers? Or invaders?
Capt. Barney Merritt: Invaders? Of what, sir?
Gen. Sam Merritt: The sacred domain of God. His heavens. To Man, God gave the Earth — nothing else. This taking of… of other planets… it's almost like an act of blasphemy.
Capt. Barney Merritt: But why? They belong to no one else.
Gen. Sam Merritt: Huh. We don't know that.
Capt. Barney Merritt: But look, sir. It couldn't be just an accident that, at the very time when Man's resources on Earth are reaching an end, Man develops the ability to leave his own world and seek replenishment on other planets. The timing is what fascinates me. It's too perfect to be accidental.
Gen. Sam Merritt: Those other planets might already be tenanted.
Capt. Barney Merritt: Oh, I don't think so. The universe was put here for Man to conquer.

[The general and Sgt. Siegle observe Mars through a viewport.]
Sgt. Siegle: Getting bigger all the time, isn't it, sir?
Gen. Sam Merritt: Yes, Sergeant. The planet and the blasphemy.

Gen. Sam Merritt: Merritt speaking. Here's the report. Lost course for several days due to near-collision with asteroid, but we can still reach destination as planned… which may be Mars, or Hell. This voyage is a cursed abomination! If it were possible I'd come back now, return the ship to Earth and blow it up…
Capt. Barney Merritt: General, please!
Gen. Sam Merritt: … together with all plans in existence for building another! We're committing Man's greatest sacrilege… and we can't stop.

[Sgt. Siegle complains about the fruitless attempts to contact Earth.]
Capt. Barney Merritt: We've done what no men in the world have done before us! We've got to let them know before it's too late. If it's humanly possible, we've got to report.
Sgt. Siegle: Report what? That the operation was a big success, but the patients are dyin' on a lousy, dried-up ball in the corner pocket of nowhere?
. . .
Sgt. Mahoney: The General wasn't crazy, he was right! We asked for it! There's a curse on this ship and everybody in it!
Sgt. Siegle: Baloney! You leave that stuff back on Earth. But it don't operate past the thousand-mile limit. "Only God can make a tree." Okay? Where is it? Where's the trees, and the flowers, and the grass? Where's the water? You hear me? Where's the water?!
Sgt. Imoto: Hey fellas, look!
[They peer out a viewport to see flurries descending.]
Sgt. Siegle: Ha ha!
Sgt. Mahoney: Snow!

Sgt. Mahoney: [It] was a glorious way the General died.
[Everyone looks at him in surprise.]
Sgt. Mahoney: Sacrificin' his life as he did, to bring his ship and his crew safely to a landing on the rocky desert of a new planet! That's the way the history books will tell it — won't they, Captain?
[Capt. Merritt stares at the sergeant.]
Sgt. Mahoney: Fittin' end for a grand soldier.
Capt. Barney Merritt: For the man who conquered space.
Sgt. Mahoney: Would you be carin' for a cup o' tea, Captain?
Capt. Barney Merritt: Thanks.

Major cast[edit]

  • Walter Brooke — Col./Gen. Samuel T. Merritt
  • Eric Fleming — Capt. Barney Merritt
  • Mickey Shaughnessy — Sgt. Mahoney
  • Phil Foster — Sgt. Jackie Siegle
  • William Redfield — Roy Cooper
  • William Hopper — Dr. George Fenton
  • Benson Fong — Sgt. Imoto
  • Ross Martin — Sgt. Andre Fodor

See also[edit]

References and external links[edit]

Wikipedia
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