Film (1929; vt By Rocket to the Moon; vt The Girl in the Moon; vt The Woman in the Moon). UFA. Directed by Fritz Lang. Written by Lang, Thea von Harbou, based on Frau im Mond (1928; trans as The Girl in the Moon 1930; cut vt The Rocket to the Moon 1930) by von Harbou. Cast includes Willy Fritsch, Gerda Maurus, Klaus Pohl, Fritz Rasp and Gustav von Wangenheim. 156 minutes, cut to 107 minutes, cut to 97 minutes. Black and white.
After the success of Metropolis, Fritz Lang's next sf film was a disappointment. Overlong (in its original form) and melodramatic, it concerns an ill-matched group of people travelling to a Moon which seems little different from the Swiss Alps, airlessness and low gravity being ignored: the explorers are able to amble about picking up chunks of precious metal and jewels (the trip having been arranged by industrialists who believe, correctly, that the Moon is rich in gold). The build-up to the take-off, however, is much more convincing; Lang used rocket experts Hermann Oberth and Willy Ley as technical advisers, and the model rocket they produced was prophetic in its design – it was even constructed in two stages. The blast-off itself was also impressive, with good camera-work by Oskar Fischinger and effects by Konstantin Tschetwerikoff. The "5 4 3 2 1" countdown sequence was first used here in association with rockets. The Nazis later withdrew the film from distribution and destroyed the rocket model, afraid that its accuracy would give away secrets about their own development of military Rockets. [JB/PN]
see also: Cinema; Germany.
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