TOWARD THE UNKNOWN—-competently made, but dated and unexciting story of Air Force test pilots. William Holden has to prove he can still hack it, after cracking under Communist brainwashing in Korea. Rather a curiosity piece today, with the slick jet acrobatics from 1956 all but dwarfed into prehistory by succeeding generations of camerawork and effects creation.
Holden gives another sturdy portrayal of a forthright type with chinks in his armor, and Lloyd Nolan is excellent as ever as his commanding officer. They share a romantic interest in Virginia Leith. Flying buffs and star-trackers will notch this up, others won’t find much of an excuse to watch.
Directed by Mervyn LeRoy, running over interest altitude at 115 minutes, with a solid supporting cast: Charles McGraw, Murray Hamilton, James Garner (his debut, age 28), Paul Fix, L.Q. Jones, Malcolm Atterbury, Karen Steele, Strother Martin and Jon Provost. It came in 40th place among earners for its year.