Riders to the Stars is a 1954 American science fiction film that was independently produced and released by Ivan Tors Productions. It was directed by Richard Carlson and stars William Lundigan, Martha Hyer, Herbert Marshall, and Carlson.
Riders is the second film in Ivan Tors' Office of Scientific Investigation (OSI) trilogy, which was preceded by The Magnetic Monster and followed by Gog.
A group of highly qualified single men, including Dr. Richard Stanton (William Lundigan) and Dr. Jerry Lockwood (Richard Carlson), are recruited for a top secret project. They undergo a series of rigorous physical and psychological tests, during which Stanton becomes attracted to the beautiful Dr. Jane Flynn (Martha Hyer), one of the scientists testing the candidates. After most of them have been eliminated from consideration, the four remaining are told about the purpose of the project.
Stanton's father, Dr. Donald Stanton (Herbert Marshall), is the man in charge. He and his colleagues are working on manned space travel. However, they have found that even the best quality steel eventually turns brittle in in the harsh environment of outer space. Since meteors are not subject to these stresses, the scientists want to recover sample meteors before they enter the Earth's atmosphere, in order to discover how their "outer shell" protects them. To accomplish this, they need to send astronauts into space, something that has never before been done. Stanton, Lockwood, and Walter Gordon (Robert Karnes) accept the dangerous assignment, while the fourth quits in disgust.
Three one-man rockets are sent a couple of hundred miles into space in order to intercept a meteor swarm. Gordon attempts to capture a meteor that is too large, and his ship is destroyed in a collision. Lockwood suffers a mental breakdown when he sees Gordon's space-suited but now skeletal body impact his view screen. Now delusional, he fires his rocket engines and blasts away from Earth in deep space. Stanton misses the main meteor swarm, but a stray crosses his orbital path. He decides to capture it, despite warnings from those monitoring from the ground that he will use too much fuel and risk burning up upon re-entry. He manages to survive a crash landing with the meteor intact; he is then rewarded with a kiss by Dr. Flynn.
William Lundigan as Dr. Richard Donald Stanton
Herbert Marshall as Dr. Donald L. Stanton / Narrator
Richard Carlson as Dr. Jerome "Jerry" Lockwood
Martha Hyer as Dr. Jane Flynn
Dawn Addams as Susan Manners
Robert Karnes as Walter J. Gordon
Lawrence Dobkin as Dr. Delmar
George Eldredge as Dr. Paul Drayden
Dan Riss as Dr. Frank Warner
Michael Fox as Dr. Klinger the Shrink
King Donovan as James F. O'Herli, Security
Kem Dibbs as David Wells
James Best as Sidney K. Fuller