Rocketship X-M (1950) is a outer space adventure drama, the first of the post-WWII era. Because production issues delayed the release of George Pal's high-profile Destination Moon, this black-and-white feature from Lippert Pictures was quickly shot in just 18 days, on a $94,000 budget, and rushed into movie theaters first, while taking full advantage of the high-profile national publicity surrounding the Pal film. Rocketship X-M tells the story of a Moon expedition that, through a series of unforeseen events, winds up traveling instead to distant Mars.
In the original 1950 theatrical release, the Mars scenes were tinted a sepia color.
The film was directed by Kurt Neumann and features Lloyd Bridges, Osa Massen, John Emery, Noah Beery, Jr., Hugh O'Brian, Morris Ankrum, Patrick Ahern, Sherry Moreland, John Dutra and Katherine Marlowe.
The film score is by American composer Ferde Grofe. Groffe uses a theremin in the score, the first use of this electronic instrument in a science fiction film; it would later become strongly identified with the genre in the years to come. Groffe's film score was released on LP in 1977 through Starlog Records (#SR 1000); it contained a bonus track not used in the film.
Instruments and technical equipment were supplied by Allied Aircraft Company of North Hollywood. The picture is also known as Expedition Moon and originally as Rocketship XM-1.
This was one of many B-movies later mocked in an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000.
In the 1970s the rights to this and other 1950s science fiction features were acquired by film exhibitor (and later movie theater owner and video distributor) Wade Williams, who sometime later set about re-shooting some of RX-M 's special effects scenes in order to improve the film's visual continuity; the VHS tape, laser disc, and DVD releases of RX-M incorporate this re-shot footage.