Frau im Mond [Woman in the Moon] (1929)

Frau im Mond
Director: Fritz Lang
Writer: Fritz Lang, Hermann Oberth, Thea von Harbou
Based on: Thea von Harbou‘s novel
Cast: Klaus Pohl, Willy Fritsch, Gustav von Wangenheim, Gerda Maurus, Gustl GstettenbaurFritz Rasp
Seen on: 05.06.2016

Plot:
Professor Manfeldt (Klaus Pohl) has spent his life researching the moon. He has theorized that it has huge gold reserves that could be harvested for earth should space travel ever be achieved. But academia laughed him out of work and into poverty. Now the only one who still believes in him is Wolf Helius (Willy Fritsch). After a mysterious man (Fritz Rasp) shows up at Manfeldt’s, trying to steal his research and putting pressure on them all, things are set in motion to finally finish a rocket and fly to the moon together with Manfeldt, his best friend, engineer Windegger (Gustav von Wangenheim), scientist Friede Velten (Gerda Maurus) and the mysterious man.

Frau im Mond has interesting, albeit by now quaint ideas and is a well made film, but I think that I would have liked it much better if it had come with different music – the score really got on my nerves after a while, making an already long film feel even longer.

frauimmond

Shortly after I watched the film the program for the next season of the Film and Music Cycle was announced and it actually includes this film with new music by Timothy Brock, so I guess I know next year whether it was just the music that made this film feel so long. But it definitely annoyed me and the music is such an essential part of the film that it definitely can’t be ignored and watching without it, even when it is a silent film, doesn’t really fly either. In any case it does color the entire perception of it.

Having said that, it is pretty amazing that I enjoyed the film at all, speaking to how strong it actually is. Of course, from a scientific point of view a lot of it doesn’t hold up to today’s knowledge and it seems slightly ridiculous that people ever believed it. Above all the fact that in the film there is an atmosphere on the moon that is completely breathable as if they were on earth makes me want to condescendingly pat the film on the head. But it takes science and scientists seriously regardless. They even had actual scientists advising on the film.

frauimmond1I did like the characters, although I could have done without the love triangle that I never really understood anyway. From the very start it is so obvious that Friede is not into Windegger that I’m still mystified why she would ever accept his proposal. And the awkward tearing down of his character to free her up for Helius felt forced anyway, never building him up as a love interest would have all saved us from that.

Be that as it may, it’s not that big a part of the film. And if the love triangle is the prize I have to pay for watching a competent female scientist fly to the moon and do her stuff there, then I’ll pay it gladly. We need more of those films – and I’m looking forward to watching this again with hopefully better music.

frauimmond2Summarizing: Watch it.

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