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Rehla ilal Kamar

Entry updated 10 February 2017. Tagged: Film.

Egyptian film (1959; vt Journey to the Moon). Delta Film Productions. Directed by Hamada Abdel Wahab. Written by Hamada Abdel Wahab. Cast includes Roushdy Abaza, Sophy Sarwait, Souad Thawrat, Edmoun Toeima, Ismaïl Yasseen and Ibrahim Youness. 90 minutes. Black and white. [Note: Journey to the Moon is the official English title given in the opening credits; the names of Wahab, Yasseen, Abaza, and Sarwait are spelled as they appear in the opening credits; the names of Toeima, Youness, and Thawrat are spelled as they appear in the subtitles of the film's DVD.]

An Egyptian journalist, Roushdy (Abaza), and his driver Ismaïl (Yasseen) are visiting a Spaceship, accompanied by its German builder, Dr Sharvin (Toeima), when Ismaïl accidentally launches the spaceship, sending them to the Moon. While Roushdy tries to revive an unconscious Sharvin, Ismaïl finds some liquor on board, gets drunk, and, anxious to return to Egypt, puts on a spacesuit and leaves the spaceship. The revived Sharvin then instructs Roushdy to put on another spacesuit and go outside the craft to throw him a rope and get him back inside. When the three men land on the Moon, they encounter a Robot named Otto, who employs an invisible Ray to hypnotize the men and forces them to march into a cave, where they meet Otto's inventor, an elderly man named Cosmo (Youness). He explains that he is one of the few survivors of an atomic war on the Moon, along with his daughter Stella (Thawrat) and several other beautiful women; he also employs some "equipment" that allows them to breathe on the Moon without wearing spacesuits. After Roushdy falls in love with Stella, the new lovers accompany Ismaïl and Sharvin on an expedition to the dark side of the Moon to retrieve some atomic fuel so they can return to Earth. In another cave, they meet a few scarred and mutilated survivors of the war, who direct them to the fuel. When Roushdy and Stella mistakenly believe that their companions have been buried when the cave collapsed, they return to the spaceship and, along with Cosmo and the other women, they depart; but they see the two Earthmen on the lunar surface and come back to retrieve them before everyone returns to the Earth to be received as heroes.

This obscure Egyptian film is sometimes described as an adaptation of Abbott and Costello Go to Mars (1953; vt On to Mars), but except for one scene involving Roushdy being trapped by a lie-detecting machine (see Lie Detectors), there are few similarities between the films, except that they are both examples of a common phenomenon in the 1950s and 1960s, namely, film comedians who venture into space as a new backdrop for their trademark buffoonery. One might argue that the film embodies the aspirations of people in the Third World to travel into space, even though their nations lacked the advanced Technology to make it possible, requiring Ismaïl and Roushdy to employ a German vehicle for this purpose and, with their successful Space Flight, to demonstrate their ability to master space. Yet even though comedies typically foreground flawed protagonists, Roushdy and Ismaïl are still singularly unimpressive representatives of their nation: the vacuous Roushdy is focused only on picking up beautiful women while on the Moon, while Ismaïl seems to value space travel primarily as a means of getting drunk, first using liquor stored on the spaceship and later enjoying a lunar substance with similar effects. [GW]


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