FREELANCE WRITER. JOURNALIST, AND SCRIPT READER – FAN OF SCI-FI AND CHOCOLATE DIGESTIVES – YSTV'S BEST DRESSED MEMBER 2013

Monday, 28 July 2014

On 28.7.14 by KieronMoore in , , , , ,    No comments


Anyone who knows their sci-fi history will know Metropolis, Fritz Lang’s genre-defining dystopian epic. They may be less familiar with Frau im Mond, or Woman in the Moon, released just two years later in 1929, though it too deserves consideration by the genre’s historians – it was the first movie to take space travel seriously.

After the scientific community ridicules Professor Manfeldt’s theories of gold on the moon, his friend Helius determines to prove him right and puts together an expedition. In a time when Germany was keen on the idea of one day going to the moon, Lang put a lot of effort into getting the details right, employing real rocket scientist Hermann Oberth as a scientific advisor and even funding Oberth’s experiments alongside the film. Sure, not everything’s perfect – they crack open a brandy to celebrate having survived blast-off and wear chunky cardigans instead of spacesuits, but, with the dangers of G-force and the first on-screen countdown to lift-off, it’s an amazingly accurate depiction of space travel compared to what you might expect from the silent era.

Frau im Mond, though not a patch on the revolutionary Metropolis, is a fascinating piece of cinema history. Its slow opening act aside, this classic demonstrates Lang’s artistry as a master of visual cinema with a stunning depiction of space travel, impressive set design, and a strong character story. Combined with the superb crispness of this Blu-ray release and the intriguing fifteen-minute documentary that comes packaged with it (analysing the film’s place within real-life rocket science), it’s a purchase necessary for any classic sci-fi aficionado.

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