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Riders to the Stars Reviews

Marshall leads a group of scientists who are studying meteors. The scientists don't understand how meteors avoid being burned up by the cosmic rays of outer space. A rocket is developed that can fly slightly faster than meteors. The scientists plan to use the rocket to capture a meteor for study so that they will be able to design and build rockets impervious to cosmic rays. Lundigan, Karnes, and Carlson (the last being the film's director as well) are trained for the mission. In 1954 Americans were terrified of the Russians getting ahead in the space race and quickly became fascinated with all things scientific. The films of the period reflect this interest in roughly two science categories: films that presented monsters and evil creatures from outer space or films that sought to explain scientific processes. RIDERS TO THE STARS falls in the latter category. It shows a step-by-step progression, taking great care to explain each plot point and scientific fact with detail. Though released as a science fiction film, it played more like science fact with its painstaking documentary style. Tors was well known as a producer of such films, and they were considered to be quite informative in their era. But several moonwalks and space shuttle flights later, films like RIDERS TO THE STARS seem outdated and boring with little factual material to inform today's more sophisticated audiences. Still, this is an interesting historical curio that may be of some interest to students of the era.