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WOMAN IN THE MOON

Director: FRITZ LANG

163 minutes| Germany| 1929| New restoration with German intertitles and newly translated English subtitles| Black and White| DVD


A mad professor, two scientists, a female astronomer and a shifty representative of a capitalist consortium embark on a rocket-ship mission to the moon, partly in a spirit of scientific adventure and partly to search for gold. Based on a novel by Lang’s wife, Thea von Harbou, Frau im Mond has a narrative that is more trance-like than dynamic but the scenes of take-off and moon landing are excitingly done: the film is even credited with inventing the countdown. An attractive feature is its positive characterisation of the heroine (Gerda Maurus from Spione), who has the decency to thank the workers for their help, the determination to join the mission and film it for posterity, and the decisiveness to make her own emotional choice at the end. It might have dated, but its scientific details were authentic enough for the Nazis to withdraw the film in 1937 for fear it might disclose too much about their own rocket research.

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