Woman in the Moon
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The attention to detail, always a Lang trademark, is on full display here. German scientists were consulted on the rocket and space sequences and chillingly give us a glimpse of the technology that would be employed by the Nazis during World War II. Even more chilling and prophetic is how the principal heavy is the spitting image of Hitler minus his mustache (and Hitler wanted Lang to be the Third Reich's filmmaker!). In addition to the technological aspects the human side of the story is also quite compelling. There's a love triangle, the crazy dreamer who isn't crazy, a global financial conspiracy and even an unwanted passenger aboard the rocket. Every technical science fiction film or series that follows (THINGS TO COME, 2001, even LOST IN SPACE to name but a few) owe a debt to WOMAN IN THE MOON. The performances are all first rate with Gerda Maurus in the title role and Fritz Rasp as the villain standing out but it's the story and the settings that really shine.
This new Kino version restores the film to it's almost 3 hour length and Jon C. Mirsalis' score is simple and extremely effective particularly in the rocket and lunar sequences. Once you see this movie you will be amazed at how many scenes you have seen elsewhere in other movies and TV shows. It's great to finally have the opportunity to see the source material at last... Historical Note: The idea of counting down to zero to launch a rocket comes from this film.
We open with handsome Doctor Helius chewing scenery with an aged professor driven into poverty and near-insanity by the rejection of his theory that the moon's mountains are full of gold. The good Doctor still believes in him, as do the 5 potentates (!) who control the world's gold supply and wish to corral the moon's as well. This introduces an underworld spy played quite suavely by Fritz Rasp.
We also meet the eponymous Woman, Gerda Maurus, a lady with expressive eyes, no particular figure and a rather bad hair-do. She is a jolly sort, though, as well as a much stronger individual than the jelly-backboned dames who pollute the post-WWII genre, and serves well enough as the love interest for both the good Doctor and his (mostly) loyal engineer Hans.
This all gets sticky for about an hour until we finally meet the Rocketship. The roll-out of the Ship is a sequence of monumental power as the massive craft and supporting structure are slowly rolled out of the assembly building to the launch pad as the moon rises out of the searchlit gloom and crowds and photographers swarm beneath the juggernaut to the accompaniment of radio voice-over which, though completely unheard in a silent film, is so beautifully gestured that we understand exactly what the announcer is saying.Read more ›
To those who are familiar with it, even the severly edited version that had previously been available before this DVD release, it is most famous for its scientific accuracy in the launching of the rocket, and especially notable for the famous 5,4,3,2,1 countdown, which has since been the definitive rocket launch protocol. Outside of the real world, Lang's vision of space travel proved to be the cinematic archetype for decades, until the new wave of 2001 and Star Wars. It's influence can be seen directly and indirectly accross all genres, even in Abbott & Costello Go to Mars!
One of the common complaints about the story is the scientific inaccuracies, specifically the atmosphere on the moon. It has been validly argued that Lang and his scientific advisors should have been aware that there is no atmosphere on the moon--and they were! What most people overlook in their nitpicking is that the film clearly explains the theory of a partial atmosphere on the dark side of the moon. While this is still scientifically inaccurate to those of us who never knew a time when man had not landed on the moon, this was actually a common device used in pre-Apollo science fiction, prevelant in the Fantastic Four comic books of the 60's (and still present in the Marvel Universe today).
Of course, the film is not limited just to a moon launch and landing. There is a captivating spy thriller that leads up to the climactic voyage.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Superb, very well restored, one of the few films of the era that has a newly recorded soundtrack that matches the quality of the film.Published 8 days ago by Ruben
Amazing preview of history, science fiction with a view. A woman astronaut, who would let that happen? Read morePublished 22 days ago by AlchemystAZ
This is a well written story with an unexpected ending. Art at its best!Published 1 month ago by AC
I was astounded by the foresight and detail of this masterpiece. Truly a classic that I was so happy to find!Published 1 month ago by David J. Roskoph
Sadly, this Fritz Lang classic has been transfered by Kino in the wrong aspect ratio. The image is in 1.28 when it should be 1.33, resulting in a squeezed image. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Raskolnikov
A little slow but good twists and some reasonable accuracy of what problems a mission to the moon would be like from the view of about 85 years ago.Published 2 months ago by sparkybird
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