Frau im Mond (By Rocket to the Moon) (Woman in the Moon) (1929)
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Critic Reviews for Frau im Mond (By Rocket to the Moon) (Woman in the Moon)
Fritz Lang's last silent film is nothing special, looking more like the work of Lang's wife and screenwriter (and Nazi-to-be) Thea von Harbou.
In this 169-minute version, which restores the film closer to Lang's original vision than any other video release, the film proves itself a terrific entertainment with hints of greatness.
As opposed to the furious ellipsis of Spies, the launchpad countdown does not arrive until after the midway point, Lang's intro leisurely laying in human detail to contrast with the sense of dwarfing technology to follow.
In Lang's overlong but intriguing space oddity, the realities of flight clash with the reveries of the characters.
Audience Reviews for Frau im Mond (By Rocket to the Moon) (Woman in the Moon)
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??
Lang turns what could've been a run-of-the-mill "from the Earth to the moon" adventure (or the type that became so popular among SF filmmakers in the 50s) into something super intense. The sets are grandiose, the special effects are great (contains some of the best weightlessness scenes you'll encounter until Kubrick's 2001) and yup, I teared up a little at the end. I'd just dock it points for the overly long and kind of convoluted setup.
An interesting take on spaceflight. Curious how much they got right about the launch but missed on other details. The rocket rollout from the hanger was so similar to the actual Apollo rollouts of the Saturn V. It was funny on the moon even tho it was 1929, the rocket didn't have a radio for communication to Earth. And they used a superstious Diving Rod to locate water! Lang could've seriously cut 30 to 45 minutes out of the beginning as the melodrama got extremely repetitive.
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