First Men in the Moon
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Special effects maestro Ray Harryhausen's First Men in the Moon (1964) posits a modern-day U.N. lunar mission which discovers-lo and behold!-that a motley little 19th-century human crew has beaten them to it. Edward Judd, Martha Hyer, and the inimitable Lionel Jeffries are the intrepid explorers, encountering everything from a giant centipede to some particularly nasty oversize insectoid creatures.
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The 1890s expedition claim the Moon for Queen Victoria.
In 1899, Arnold Bedford and his fiancée Katherine Callender – known as Kate – meet an inventor, Joseph Cavor, who has invented Cavorite, a substance that will let anything it is applied to or made of deflect the force of gravity and which he plans to use to travel to the Moon. Cavor has already built a spherical spaceship for this purpose, taking Arnold and (accidentally) Kate with him. Whilst exploring the Moon, Bedford and Cavor fall down a vertical shaft and discover to their amazement an insectoid population, the Selenites, living beneath the surface. (Cavor coins this name for the creatures after the Greek goddess of the moon, Selene). After escaping from the Selenites back to the surface, they discover that their ship, still containing Kate (who stayed behind because Cavor had brought only two spacesuits), has been dragged into their underground city.
The two, following the drag trail, find and enter the city. The city holds a breathable atmosphere, so (unwisely) they take off and leave their spacesuit helmets. Upon finding the living quarters, they are attacked by a giant "moon bull" which pursues them until the Selenites find out and are able to zap it to death with their electric-possessing stun ray gun. Cavor and Bedford see the city's power station, powered by sunlight. In the end they reach their ship underground. The Selenites quickly learn English and interrogate Cavor, who believes they wish to exchange scientific knowledge. The more practical Bedford eventually manages to persuade Cavor that the Selenites are interested in conquering Earth using Cavorite. Cavor helps Bedford and Kate to escape, but stays voluntarily on the Moon.
Bedford, along with Kate (who only leaves the ship once, to help repair the damage caused by the Selenites), flies the ship up a vertical shaft, shattering the window cover at the top, and back to Earth. The aged Bedford concludes his story by mentioning that the ship came down in the sea off Zanzibar, and sank, but he and Kate managed to swim ashore. There is no later radio message from Cavor, and his ultimate fate remains unknown.
Back in the present day, Bedford, the UN party and newspaper reporters watch on television the latest events on the Moon, where the US astronauts have broken into the Selenite city and find it deserted and decaying. Moments later, the ruined city starts to crumble and collapse, forcing the landing crew to retreat hastily, and seconds later the city is completely destroyed. Bedford realizes that the Selenites must have been killed off by Cavor's common cold viruses to which they had no
hokey. Still all in all I can remember being a boy, stuck at home, with a cold and watching
this thing that to me was amazing at the time.
Basic premise, yes we made it to the moon, only about 100 years earlier than we thought.
So, England, back in the day, they come up with a "paint" that when applied to shutters on
a diving bell and those shutters extended would cancel out Gravity. (Mini-spoiler there as you
really don't see the ship until a decent way into the introduction. But since this thing has
been out for ages.... oh well)
ANYWAY, they make a trip to the moon, some decent character interaction, some goodly humor,
female lead (I forget her name) well, she was always one of my favorites.
Can't say a lot more without spoiling the fun that is in the movie.
But you do have stop action, a lot of it, visuals that were interesting and a decent plot twist
that was new at the time.
So, for some old fashioned fun, would recommend this one.
Not great, and by todays standards "B" movie fare, but in it's day...