FRAU IM MOND (1929)

PrintE-mail Written by Kieron Moore

REVIEW: FRAU IM MOND / CERT: U / DIRECTOR: FRITZ LANG / SCREENPLAY: FRITZ LANG / STARRING: WILLY FRITSCH, GERDA MAURUS, KLAUS POHL / RELEASE DATE: AUGUST 25TH

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. The opening act is certainly the weakest, as Lang takes his time with a drawn-out espionage plot – as Helius gathers his motley crew, including his colleague Windegger and Windegger’s fiancée Friede, a shady business syndicate threaten and manipulate him into letting their agent Turner on board. It’s over an hour in before we finally get to see the rocket, but from this point on, the film ramps up the excitement.

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.

Once they reach the moon, however, any accuracy is flushed down the space toilet. Professor Manfeldt discovers a breathable atmosphere and bounds off, Wallace and Gromit-style, albeit in search of gold rather than cheese. By this point, though, tensions have risen among the group, and the characters’ story is engaging enough for these errors to be forgiveable. As Windegger panics and tries to turn the rocket back, Turner puts his evil plans into action. And of course, there’s a love story at the heart of it all – Helius’ real reason for initially not wanting Windegger and his fiancée to join him was his repressed love for Friede, and soon they must deal with the possibility that not all of them will make it back to Earth…

Frau im Mond, though not a patch on the revolutionary Metropolis, is a fascinating piece of cinema history, with a stunning depiction of space travel, impressive set design, and a strong character story, all demonstrating Lang’s artistry as a master of visual cinema. 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.

Extras: Featurette / Booklet

 

 


Suggested Articles:
John Boorman’s revenge drama starring Lee Marvin and Angie Dickinson is released on Blu-Ray as par
Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal Season 2 Complete Collection brings together the final season of Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal and
The DC Universe is a unique world full of mythical, larger-than-life characters ever since its birth
Many contemporary comedians cite Richard Pryor as the biggest influence on their own material and ca
scroll back to top

Add comment

Security code
Refresh

Other articles in DVD / Blu-ray Reviews

POINT BLANK 14 October 2017

YU-GI-OH! ZEXAL SEASON 2 COMPLETE COLLECTION 14 October 2017

WONDER WOMAN 12 October 2017

THE RICHARD PRYOR COLLECTION 12 October 2017

THE UNRAVELING 11 October 2017

VAMPIR CUADECUC (1971) 10 October 2017

THE STEVE MARTIN COLLECTION 10 October 2017

COLD MOON 10 October 2017

CUTE LITTLE BUGGERS 10 October 2017

THE YAKUZA (1974) 10 October 2017

- Entire Category -

Sign up today!
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner