Also known as…Woman in the Moon
Woman in the Moon (German Frau im Mond) is a science fiction silent film that premiered 15 October 1929 at the UFA-Palast am Zoo cinema in Berlin to an audience of 2,000. It is often considered to be one of the first “serious” science fiction films. It was written and directed by Fritz Lang, based on the novel The Rocket to the Moon by his collaborator Thea von Harbou, his wife at the time. It was released in the USA as By Rocket to the Moon and in the UK as Woman in the Moon. The basics of rocket travel were presented to a mass audience for the first time by this film, including the use of a multi-stage rocket. The film was shot between October 1928 and June 1929 at the UFA studios in Neubabelsberg near Berlin.
In the early days of rocket research and development, Fritz Lang with his then wife Thea von Harbou adapted her novel for the screen. It is not quite as full of stylistic touches as Metropolis, but this vision of future space travel is fairly plausible. The rocket launch, in particular, shows real consideration for the steps involved in future manned space flights. However, the story is pure fiction when it comes to why people would want to explore the moon. It is theorized by some that the moon could be the location of another Gold Rush. The plot involves a lot more melodrama than science fiction. Wolf Helius (Fritsch) is our main hero/space adventurer. He works with the discredited Professor Manfeldt (Pohl). There’s a love triangle between Helius and his assistants Hans (Wangenheim) and Friede (Maurus), who are engaged to be married despite Helius and Friede secretly having unexplored feelings. Fritz Rasp, who was also a mysterious figure in Metropolis, plays an American man who goes by the name Walter Turner. The evil Turner blackmails Helius into moving forward with a mission to the moon. Later, a young stowaway is discovered on the rocket ship too. Will the professor be proven right about gold on the moon? Will Turner’s scheme be successful? And will Helius or Hans end up with the beautiful and adventurous Friede??
Director: Fritz Lang
Writers: Thea von Harbou (novel), Fritz Lang (screenplay)
Stars: Klaus Pohl, Willy Fritsch, Gustav von Wangenheim
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