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Script: Destination Moon (Opus G.073) (1948) 
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Post Script: Destination Moon (Opus G.073) (1948)
I see that The Heinlein Society http://www.HeinleinSociety.org/ on its home page refers to Destination Moon as "the classic science fiction movie based on the Robert Heinlein novel "Rocket Ship Galileo".

To me, based is a fairly strong word, and I've always been a bit surprised when I see such a claim. Jim in RAH: A Reader's Companion under Rocket Ship Galileo says that the novel "loosely inspired" the screenplay; and that's about as far as I'd go. But also in a sub-heading, "Filmed: 1949 (as Destination Moon)."

As I've said elsewhere, I think Rocket Ship Galileo has long been underappreciated. There are so many more-or-less First on the Moon stories (even by 1950) that the main resemblance between these two is that they're both by Heinlein. Aside from the basic proposition of First on the Moon, and Heinlein's realism, they're more dissimilar than similar.

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Post Re: Script: Destination Moon (Opus G.073) (1948)
Robert W Franson wrote:
To me, based is a fairly strong word, and I've always been a bit surprised when I see such a claim.

In Hollywood-speak, "based" means that someone had to pay for the rights to the base work, and acknowledge said work in the credits. It doesn't mean a damn thing about how closely the storyline of the film might follow the source story. (Ridley Scott, for example, bought the rights an obscure book just so he could use its title, "Blade Runner." The book had nothing to do with the story line.)

But then, the source you're quoting hardly has a reputation for precision and clarity of thought. It passes for the RAH 101 audience, I suppose.

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Post Re: Script: Destination Moon (Opus G.073) (1948)
James Gifford wrote:
Robert W Franson wrote:
To me, based is a fairly strong word, and I've always been a bit surprised when I see such a claim.

In Hollywood-speak, "based" means that someone had to pay for the rights to the base work, and acknowledge said work in the credits. It doesn't mean a damn thing about how closely the storyline of the film might follow the source story. (Ridley Scott, for example, bought the rights an obscure book just so he could use its title, "Blade Runner." The book had nothing to do with the story line.)

But then, the source you're quoting hardly has a reputation for precision and clarity of thought. It passes for the RAH 101 audience, I suppose.

The original project for which Fritz Lang induced Heinlein to come back to Hollywood in April 1948 was simply a trip-to-the-Moon, and Heinlein was puzzled that Lang had no particular interest in working up a story for it. Their collaboration broke up in May because Heinlein's agent was simultaneously offering a "competing" moon trip story around town -- Rocket Ship Galileo, and Lang apparently told him ANY other property would wreck the deal. (Why Lang didn't simply tie up the story by option RSG is something I've wondered about). At any rate, that was apparently enough input for the idea that Operation Moon/Destination Moon was "based on" RSG.

RSG doesn't really enter the picture until early 1950 when they are wrangling over the "card" (screen credit) Heinlein will get.


Thu Sep 11, 2008 6:19 am
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Post Re: Script: Destination Moon (Opus G.073) (1948)
Thanks, guys! That really does clarify the history.

But now I'm wondering what fresh, groundbreaking SF movies could be attached to titles like Moon Over Miami (original, 1941) or Galileo's Daughter (original, 1999).

Ah, wait ... better not tell Hollywood.

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Post Re: Script: Destination Moon (Opus G.073) (1948)
Robert Franson writes:

Quote:
To me, based is a fairly strong word, and I've always been a bit surprised when I see such a claim.


One similarity between the two stories is keeping the surname of the main rocket guy: Dr. Donald Cargraves in Rocket Ship Galileo becomes Dr. Charles Cargraves in Destination Moon.

So what's the connection, if any, between the film and Roy Alfred-Marvin Fisher ballad "Destination Moon?" Is the song in the movie? Or did the songwriters simply grab a title off a theater marquee? Apparently Nat "King" Cole sang it in a short film in 1951, a year later.

So when we steal in my space mobile

Supersonic honeymoon

Leave your past below, pull the switch let's go

Our destination moon

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Post Re: Script: Destination Moon (Opus G.073) (1948)
Bill Patterson wrote:
The original project for which Fritz Lang induced Heinlein to come back to Hollywood in April 1948 was simply a trip-to-the-Moon, and Heinlein was puzzled that Lang had no particular interest in working up a story for it. Their collaboration broke up in May because Heinlein's agent was simultaneously offering a "competing" moon trip story around town -- Rocket Ship Galileo, and Lang apparently told him ANY other property would wreck the deal. (Why Lang didn't simply tie up the story by option RSG is something I've wondered about). At any rate, that was apparently enough input for the idea that Operation Moon/Destination Moon was "based on" RSG.

RSG doesn't really enter the picture until early 1950 when they are wrangling over the "card" (screen credit) Heinlein will get.


Interesting. Am I correct in recalling that Lang and Heinlein knew each other before the war?

Lang must have been trying to corner the market on First Trip To The Moon Movies. As we probably all know, he made Die Frau im Mond in 1929 (the one Hermann Oberth was involved with).

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Post Re: Script: Destination Moon (Opus G.073) (1948)
beamjockey wrote:
Bill Patterson wrote:
The original project for which Fritz Lang induced Heinlein to come back to Hollywood in April 1948 was simply a trip-to-the-Moon, and Heinlein was puzzled that Lang had no particular interest in working up a story for it. Their collaboration broke up in May because Heinlein's agent was simultaneously offering a "competing" moon trip story around town -- Rocket Ship Galileo, and Lang apparently told him ANY other property would wreck the deal. (Why Lang didn't simply tie up the story by option RSG is something I've wondered about). At any rate, that was apparently enough input for the idea that Operation Moon/Destination Moon was "based on" RSG.

RSG doesn't really enter the picture until early 1950 when they are wrangling over the "card" (screen credit) Heinlein will get.


Interesting. Am I correct in recalling that Lang and Heinlein knew each other before the war?

Lang must have been trying to corner the market on First Trip To The Moon Movies. As we probably all know, he made Die Frau im Mond in 1929 (the one Hermann Oberth was involved with).

Quite correct. Willy Ley introduced Lang to the Heinleins some time late in 1940 (Ley and Lang had known each other in Germany before 1936 -- and Lang was at least interested in the VfRif not an actual member). At the time Ley visited Lang frequently and stayed with him; after 1940 he split his visits with Lang and Heinlein.


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Post Re: Script: Destination Moon (Opus G.073) (1948)
Look what I found:

http://picasaweb.google.com/higgins2k/OddsEnds?feat=directlink#5321319742735682882

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Post Re: Script: Destination Moon (Opus G.073) (1948)
Photographic proof that Heinlein has indeed lived on the Moon. I knew it.

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Post Re: Script: Destination Moon (Opus G.073) (1948)
Robert W Franson wrote:
I see that The Heinlein Society http://www.HeinleinSociety.org/ on its home page refers to Destination Moon as "the classic science fiction movie based on the Robert Heinlein novel "Rocket Ship Galileo".

To me, based is a fairly strong word, and I've always been a bit surprised when I see such a claim. Jim in RAH: A Reader's Companion under Rocket Ship Galileo says that the novel "loosely inspired" the screenplay; and that's about as far as I'd go. But also in a sub-heading, "Filmed: 1949 (as Destination Moon)."

As I've said elsewhere, I think Rocket Ship Galileo has long been underappreciated. There are so many more-or-less First on the Moon stories (even by 1950) that the main resemblance between these two is that they're both by Heinlein. Aside from the basic proposition of First on the Moon, and Heinlein's realism, they're more dissimilar than similar.

Comments?
The relationship between book and movie was probably a lot clearer in 1950 than it is today. Fritz Lang was very concerned in 1948 about RSG being marketed in Hollywood at the time he was putting together a deal with Heinlein standing by to film what eventually became DM, saying "any moon rocket project" would endanger his priority, and that was his main point that caused the collapse of the relationship. Heinlein had others.

Heinlein had wanted to put together a "realistic" story about how a moon rocket might be bult nd the journey made for several years, and he rang change after change on this theme until "The Man Who Sold the Moon" satisfied him. So it would be clearer to say that both DM and RSG draw on the same thematic concerns that motiated him at about that time. Heinlein regarded that he was taking the themes of RSG and modifying them for the film purposes.

But in any case, the book got a credit card on the movie, and that's probably the reason why the attribution continues to be perpetuated.


Mon Apr 06, 2009 7:44 am
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