Spaceways Film Details
Overview: A small group of closely-guarded British scientists test their first rocket amidst indications of matrimonial strife in the community. After the partial failure of the firing, a couple go missing – have they gone off together or are
Review: Many people don’t realise that Hammer had been producing films as far back as 1935, when their first ever film – The Public Life Of Henry The Ninth – hit the screens. The director who really made the difference for Hammer was Terence Fisher,whose incredible work on the original Frankenstein, Dracula and Mummy films helped the studio become the name to watch in the field of horror. He had already made a few films for them before his horror entries found such favour, and Spaceways (1953) is one such example of Fisher’s early output for the company. At the top-secret and ultra-secure base of Deanfield, British scientists are carrying out test rocket flights in an on-going attempt to send a man into space. Helping them with their work is an American, Dr. Stephen Mitchell (Howard Duff). Mitchell’s wife Vanessa (Cecile Chavreau) is going crazy stuck on the base, and enters a love affair with fellow scientist Dr. Philip Crenshaw (Andrew Osborn). Then, mysteriously, the illicit lovers go missing around the same time that another rocket is launched into space. Government security agent Dr. Smith (Alan Wheatley) suspects that Dr. Mitchell has murdered his wife and her secret lover, then stashed their bodies aboard the rocket which is now in space orbiting the Earth. Since the rocket isn’t scheduled to return for several years, it’s a case of “no corpses, no crime”. As suspicions mount about his guilt, Dr. Mitchell offers to undertake the first manned mission into space to recover the rocket and prove his innocence. Mathematician Dr. Lisa Frank (Eva Bartok) – who is madly in love with Mitchell – volunteers to join him on this dangerous flight into the unknown. The film’s poster promises a Jules Verne-style space adventure with exciting zero-gravity action and cosmic vehicles and sets. Alas, as it turns out the film is a decidedly earthbound affair, concerned above all else with the deteriorating relationship of Duff and Chavreau, the budding romance between Duff and Bartok, and the cynical suspicions of Wheatley. The film has used up 66 of its 74 minutes before Duff and Bartok even get off the ground, which gives an indication of how little rocket-ship action it actually contains. Since the film came out eight years before the first actual manned space mission, much of the space- flight science in the script is quaint and amusing. Nevertheless, it is not a total loss. Duff gives a decent enough performance within the constraints of the role, while Wheatley as the suspicious government agent is quite wonderful. Bartok has little to do other than supply eye candy, though she does finally get to be more pro-active in the proceedings as the film enters its closing ten minutes Fisher directs it all competently enough, though there’s no obvious sign of the great things he would go on to achieve later. It’s all very efficient without ever quite setting the pulse racing. Spaceways is one of those films that Hammer completists may harbour some burning desire to watch, but other viewers will find it little more than a dated curiosity item. Great theatrical poster plus a smashing performance from Wheatley but apart from that, its wider appeal is very limited.
Country: United Kingdom, United States
Duration: 74 min
Genre: Sci-Fi, Thriller
Also known as: Spaceways,人間ロケット,Viagem Espacial,Viaggio nell’interspazio