While this film flopped at the box-office, I feel it deserves recognition as a cinema classic. It is beautifully filmed, and everyone concerned seems to have given it their all.
There are moments, like the scene where the ships are about to set sail, that are utterly captivating. When I look at that scene, I find it hard not to think of the launches in the late sixties, early seventies, from Cape Canaveral. There is the same sense of anticipation as the crews make their way down to the boats. But of course, the moon missions had official sanction, and there was no doubt that the rockets were on course for the moon. Here was a man setting out for a world whose existence he had no proof of whatsoever, and having to argue his case with some incredibly dangerous people in the process, to gain the right to explore.
The film also boasts a beautiful score from Vangelis, although it is quite sparingly used. The principal theme in particular is haunting.
There are other reviewers here whose grasp of history may well be better than mine, and this may be one more case of history being rewritten in the cinema, nevertheless it does convey a very powerful sense of the danger and mystery of those voyages. It is a long story, but one which I find myself coming back to.