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Film / 12 to the Moon

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12 to the Moon is a 1960 American Science Fiction film directed by David Bradley, starring Ken Clark, Michi Kobi, Tom Conway, Anthony Dexter, and John Wengraf.

An international team embarks on an expedition to the moon in an uncommonly spacious rocketship. There they encounter a faceless alien intelligence who concludes that the human race is too immature and dangerous and must be destroyed.

For the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode see here.

This film contains examples of the following tropes:

  • America Saves the Day: Averted. The American captain is nominally the hero, but the German guy, the Soviet guy, the Polish/Israeli guy, and the Japanese woman are actually all far more critical to escaping the clutches of the moon aliens.
  • The Atoner: Heinrich, not a Nazi himself, but wracked by guilt because his father was.
  • Batman Can Breathe in Space: Two of them notice the rubber gasket on their Everything Sensor moving.
    "There must be air." [Test this theory by taking off their helmets]
  • Bear Hug: The French Jerk tries to hug the Soviet to death when he won't join his Evil Plan.
  • Black Dude Dies First: Averted; the crew's sole black member survives the journey intact.
  • Broken Aesop: So was it the Power of Love or the threat of Mutually Assured Destruction that made the aliens back off? Then again, maybe the Aesop is that you need both.
  • Captain's Log: Though it isn't the captain who logs.
  • Captain Obvious: After they've been chased off the Moon by mysterious aliens. "I feel that I must explain to you. There is something wrong, something unexplainable."
  • Death from Above: The meteor shower.
  • Deflector Shields: The "magnetic meteorite deflectors". Let's hope any incoming rocks are mostly metal!
  • Dirty Communists: Almost completely averted. Orloff, identified explicitly as being from the Soviet Union, angrily condemns French Jerk Martel's suggestion to let North America be frozen by moon aliens. (Martel implies that he was also a Communist, and denounces Orloff as a traitor for not cooperating.) Orloff then attempts to beat down Martel in order to stop him, despite having second-degree burns all over his hands.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: There's a shot of the various animals brought on the rocket for experimental purposes, all in pairs like Noah's ark.
  • Dramatic Pause: "I don't believe there are any... Moon People. Do you?"
  • Drawing Straws: To decide who pilots the space taxi.
  • First-Name Basis: "It's the first time you've called me David."
  • French Jerk: Martel, who wants to let America freeze so Europe (and/or the Soviet Union) will dominate the world. Even the Soviet character was portrayed as having basic honor and dignity, and this was a movie made more or less at the height of the Red Scare.
  • Gold Fever: As usual there's gold on the Moon, though they're more enraptured by the Medea stone.
  • Harmless Freezing / No Endor Holocaust: Apparently everyone flash-frozen on Earth has just been placed in suspended animation, and not been harmed.
  • Heroic Sacrifice
  • In Space, Everyone Can See Your Face: The helmets are equipped with "invisible electro-magnetic ray screen[s]" that protect them from ... space ... stuff. In practice, this just means they're wearing motorcycle helmets with no face shield.
  • Kill It with Ice: The Moon aliens flash-freeze North America.
  • Lantern Jaw of Justice: While the other characters pass quickly through the checkpoint, the American captain stops to give us a profile shot of his classic hero looks and impressive chin.
  • Magical Asian: Hideko has an intuitive understanding of alien languages because she's Japanese for some reason.
  • Magical Negro: The Nigerian crewman's Spider-Sense tells him there's evil about.
  • Mr. Exposition: An announcer gives the world's first international broadcast, explaining what's going to happen and introducing the crew over a scene of them passing through a checkpoint one at a time (coincidentally in the order he's mentioning them). Once the mission is underway, a crewmember dictates everything that's happening into a recorder for posterity.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Hunky Captain Anderson gets a Shirtless Scene early on.
  • Multinational Team
  • Narrating the Obvious: A member of the crew records the events as they happen. Unfortunately this becomes a Captain Obvious Log for the audience, who can see it happening at the same time.
    [While being bombarded by meteors] "We are constantly being bombarded by falling rocks."
  • Nice Jewish Boy / Badass Israeli: David.
  • New Meat: Rod, the nineteen-year-old Teen Genius in mathematics.
  • No OSHA Compliance: The heavy lead in the boots of the man sucked under the pumice dust, apparently so he could walk normally in the low Moon gravity.
  • Norse by Norsewest: Naturally it's the blonde Swedish doctor and her beau who teach the aliens the Power of Love.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: David again, who is introduced as born in Poland and currently living in Israel, apparently mastered the art of speaking with the most perfectly flat American Midwestern accent ever.
  • Odd Friendship: David and Heinrich, once they put that whole Holocaust thing behind them.
  • Off-the-Shelf FX: The wall-mounted launch countdown timer is a standard GraLab darkroom timer; the gaffer tape covering up the logos is visible in one close-up.
    • The beds the astronauts lay on during launch look suspiciously like lawn chairs.
  • One World Order: The entire international community is cooperating to put a man on the moon.
  • Quicksand Sucks: Even on the moon. One of the crew members sinks to his doom, and Captain Anderson almost joins him by the time the others finally dig out the "Magnet buoy" to pull him out.
  • Special Guest: Francis X. Bushman received "Guest Star" billing in the opening credits for his Mr. Exposition speech at the start of the film as spokesman for the "International Space Order."
  • The Squadette: Averted with two women, though that's out of a crew of twelve.
  • Tap on the Head One punch from the American takes down a knife-wielding Frenchie.
  • Trip to the Moon Plot: Involving a much larger crew than would eventually end up going.
  • Twelve Token Band
  • Twofer Token Minority: Hideko, female and Asian.
  • What Is This Thing You Call "Love"?: The moon aliens, despite being contemptuous of human emotions, admit to being curious enough about love to take the Swedish doctor and her love interest with them, and decide that it is a redeeming quality of humanity by the end of the film.