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The Silent Star


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Product Details

  • Actors: Yoko Tani, Oldrich Lukes, Ignacy Machowski, Julius Ongewe, Michail N. Postnikow
  • Directors: Kurt Maetzig
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Special Edition, Subtitled
  • Language: German
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: FIRST RUN FEATURES
  • DVD Release Date: August 23, 2005
  • Run Time: 95 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (76 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0009PW3TC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #350,483 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Silent Star" on IMDb

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

A film by Kurt Maetzig, based on Stanislaw Lem's novel The Astronauts. In this celebrated sci-fi classic, a mysterious object from outer space is found in the Gobi desert. An international expedition, dispatched to Venus to decipher the message it contains, discovers it is a declaration of war-- on Earth!

The first sci-fi film made in East Germany by the legendary DEFA film studio, THE SILENT STAR is a masterpiece in story, art and set design, and technology and was the forerunner of 2001: A Space Odyssey and, later, Contact. Based on the novel by Stanislaw Lem (who also wrote Solaris) and made during the U.S./U.S.S.R. space race set off by the Sputnik launch.

Customer Reviews

SPOILERS AHEAD: The bad part, however, was I just knew the black man wasn't going to make it back alive, and I was right.
Stephen Roth
And the set design and very painterly special effects are unique in the Venus sequences (on or above the level of "This Island Earth" but better serving the story).
John Ellis
Eventually you'll notice a disturbing thing: there are often many more novel ideas and great touches in these films than in contemporary ones.
Wayne A.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By gsczr1 on November 19, 2005
Format: DVD
Well, after 40 some years I finally saw the uncut version of the European release, The Silent Star. The American title was, First Spaceship On Venus. Back around 1961 when I was a little boy my Mother took me to the theater in Toronto to see, First Spaceship on Venus. I loved it. When this movie finally came out on DVD I ordered it. Unfortunately the picture quality and sound was horrible. I bought it a second time when it was remastered. This copy was much better but it still was the American version that was edited, the voices were dubbed,and music added. The release of Silent Star on DVD finally shows this film as it was originally intended. The 20 minutes missing from the American version are here along with the orignal voices of the crew (with sub-titles) and the original music (what there is of it). I always thought that the film was cut because it ran to long. How wrong I was. This movie was made in a Communist Country and the Cold War was at it's peak. The parts that were removed were propaganda pure and simple. The cut parts of the movie talks about who the real threat is (the imperialist West) There are several references to the bombing of Hiroshima. At this point I need to explain the movie a little bit. Short and to the point, the inhabitants of Venus want to destroy all of mankind by using lethal does of radiation. Things go terribly wrong on Venus and they end up destroying themselves. See the reference to Hiroshima yet? The message is, we destroyed Hiroshima and will probably destroy ourselves. Of course they left out a slight detail called Pearl Harbor. For 40 years I just thought this was a SCFI popcorn eating movie. If you are a fan of, First Spaceship To Venus then this latest original version is a must have.Read more ›
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37 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Thomas F. Bertonneau on April 9, 2003
Format: DVD
Polish science fiction novelist Stanislaw Lem (born 1922) must take pride in the fact that his "Solaris" (1962) has now been twice filmed, first by Andrei Tarkovsky (1972) and more recently - also less effectively - by an American director whose name escapes me (2003); yet as early as 1960 Lem's first science fiction novel, "The Astronauts" (1952), had already appeared in an adaptation for the silver screen, directed by an East German, Kurt Maetzig. "First Spaceship on Venus" issued, in fact, from a Polish and East German collaboration, with contributions, in the ensemble of players, from three or four "third world" nations. Viewers will recognize Japanese actress Yoko Tani as the sole female crewmember of the space research vessel "Cosmostrator," the titular "First Spaceship" on earth's putative "twin," Venus. This is a mostly superb film, quite magical in its expressionistic special effects. Enticingly for audiences, almost half of the action takes place on Venus amidst sets that do justice to Lem's insistence that alien life will be incomprehensible to humanity. The story, briefly, is this: in 1985 excavations "to irrigate the Gobi Desert" discover extraterrestrial artifacts, one of which, a glassy "spool," contains the last message sent home from a spaceship engaged in reconnoitering the earth. The narration links this fictional incident to the actual 1908 Tunguska meteor impact. The "spool" has sustained damage and yields only a fraction of its contents, but from this bit scientists determine that the visitors originated on Venus, whereupon the "World Space Agency" determines to mount an expedition there. An international crew take command of the "Cosmostrator.Read more ›
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Surfink on August 1, 2002
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
As evidenced by the extremely mixed reviews here, this East German/Polish co-production (filmed in 1959, released here in 1962) seems to be a love-it-or-hate-it affair. Personally, I'm in the lovers' camp, although if you've never seen First Spaceship on Venus you deserve some fair warning. According to IMDb, the East German version of this runs 130 minutes, the Polish (?) version 93. If either figure is reliable there's anywhere from 15 to 52 minutes missing from the 78-minute U.S. version, so there are definitely continuity problems. The English script is somewhat muddled and seems to repeat or contradict itself at times, several subplots have obviously been trimmed or junked entirely, and the English dubbing is particularly bad, with virtually no attempt to match dialogue with people's mouth movements. Also somewhat distracting is the heavy use of stock music cues (particularly the familiar Universal "Wolf Man" theme), although a few almost dissonant passages sound like they might be snippets of the original score. Between the heavy editing, rewriting, and dubbing it's really impossible to evaluate the original screenplay, but even with only the skeleton of SF legend Stanislaw Lem's original novel that's left, it's still more conceptually challenging than the average 1950s space opera (compare the roughly contemporary War of the Satellites, Missile to the Moon, or even a "classic" such as This Island Earth). In brief, a Venus mission is launched to determine the source of an ominous message encoded into a metallic spool unearthed by archaeologists.Read more ›
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