Woman in the Moon (1929)

Woman in the Moon (1929), directed by Fritz Lang.

Decades after predictions that mountains of gold could be found on the Moon, a expedition is finally set to go and get some. We have an hour and a half of background before blast off, with a love triangle and a crime syndicate inserting itself into the mission.

Luckily, the far side of the moon has an atmosphere (who knew?) so our explorers can walk around without suits. After a shootout with the chief baddie the onboard oxygen supply is depleted, meaning someone has to stay behind...

Lang's last silent film, this is said to be the first serious science fiction film, the one that invented the countdown before liftoff. Despite the lunar atmosphere we have some good physics here, a multi-stage rocket and weightlessness. At 2h49m long, it is an ambitious epic, if not always a fast-moving one. Technically impressive, less so in the human dimension. Both Lang's M (1931) and even Metropolis (1927) have deeper characters.

Available on Blu-ray from Kino, restored from the original negatives. As you would expect, image quality is variable and there is a lot of damage that can't be repaired. Now and then the quality is quite striking.

I found the score to be irritating repetitive keyboard noodling.