No Fizzle In This Missile
1958’s The Lost Missile is categorized as a sci-fi movie, but it’s kinda sorta not really. For one thing missiles – lost or not – are pretty much fact. (What do you think we’ve been shooting at Godzilla for the last 60+ years – milkshake straw wrapper spitwads?) Secondly, there’s no uninvited space alien or laser guns to show said party-crashing extraterrestrial the door. Matters not – The Lost Missile is a gripping moment-by-moment flick with battle-ready military, explode-y bombs, real estate damage, and more importantly, panicking.
So this unidentified missile — about the size of a vertical submarine — is zooming through space, aimed STRAIGHT AT EARTH. Dang – of all the flippin’ planets out there, it had to choose us. Wanting to show off their military superiority, a nation on the other side of the world (they don’t say who, but I’m looking in your direction outer Mongolia) shoots a rocket (or “missile”) at it. Nice move – they only succeeded in diverting the runaway weapon right into our atmosphere. And I say “our” because it’s heading straight for New York by way of Canada.
What follows next is pretty exciting, even though 90.3% of the movie is built around stock Civil Defense footage showing people evacuating the city by heading into bomb shelters, movie theaters, basements and apocalypse-proof hall closets. (It should be noted that doomsday’rs head straight for the bars.)
Thankfully, a scientist and his science fiancée (or would that be “sciencée”?) have been working on a hydrogen warhead in-between practicing for their honeymoon. The plan is to stick it in a ready-to-launch rocket and shoot it at the missile, thereby blasting it into nuclear fallout particles/morsels to rain harmlessly down upon our breathable faces/lungs.
Lots of exciting footage of real Air Force jets ineffectively firing missiles at the lost missile, which is wreaking Rodan-like destruction in its low-atmosphere trek around the world. Yeah, they gotta fluff the pillows with taut apprehension as it liberally applies to school kids, countdowns, relationship-y stuff. But even with the weapons of mass distraction, The Lost Missile brings home the excitement groceries.