Saturday, March 29, 2008

Woman in the Moon (1929)

"Progress on earth will not fail because of learned ignoramuses who totally lack in fantasy and whose brains operate in inverse proportion to their calcification!!!"
One of the first major films to dwell upon the possibility of space travel, Fritz Lang's Woman in the Moon (Frau im Mond) is, like many of its modern-day counterparts, more successful on a special-effects level than it is in terms of character development. The titular female, played by Gerda Maurus (one of the stars of Lang's 1928 classic Spies) joins an extraterrestrial expedition in search of gold on the moon. Among the many prescient aspects of the film is its use of a countdown before blast-off and its depiction of the effects of centrifugal force upon the lunar passengers. Willy Ley, later a leading light of the U.S. space program, served as technical adviser. Reportedly, Adolf Hitler was so overwhelmed by Woman in the Moon that he used the rocket depicted in the film as the prototype for the dreaded V1 and V2 assault missiles. Curiously unavailable during the "Sputnik fever" of the 1950s, Woman in the Moon rose back to the surface when it was excerpted in David Wolper's landmark 1960 TV documentary, The Race for Space. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

Running Time: 169 mins
Woman in the Moon (1929)
Another long film at over 2 1/2 hours, but was worth it. They did get many of the facts about space travel wrong, and yes it was a fiction when they did not need space suits on the other side of the moon. But the film does recognize the fact of weightlessness in space. Although somehow they felt the moon would have just a slightly smaller effect of gravity. Thus they used wooden soles on the bottom of the shoes when on the surface of the moon. Also to handle weightlessness of space they used straps on the floor that to walk the person would insert foot in one strap and remove from another strap. Launching was also performed under water because nothing could support such a rocket ship in lift off.

It definitely had Fritz Lang's handiwork in it. I felt the three way love affair was a classic Lang and even more dramatically was the all powerful evil controller of all the other characters that forced the group to go to the Moon so the evil syndicate could reap the gold rewards.
He [Helius] avoids their engagement party, but is then mugged on the way home by operatives of the evil businessmen, led by the creepy Mr. Turner. Woman in the Moon

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