Beats the pants off Destination Moon, Rocketship X-M, Red Planet Mars
Fritz Lang delivers in a major way – this movie kicks ass all over Destination Moon or any other “first journey to moon or planet” flicks prior to 60s and pretty much everything after the 60s too. It’s a long sit – nearly 3 hours in B/W, silent with English captions and some subtitles for some the notes and newspaper close-ups.
The level of detail is astounding in how they show how the challenges of the flight will be handled. For story’s sake they give the moon an oxygen atmosphere. The film is rather light on special visual effects (compared to Metropolis) – it makes great use of miniatures and props, crowds, and scene-staging that is superior to most sci-fi flicks old and new. Even the costuming is quite a step up – the masters of finance and industry are not wearing cheap K-Mart suits! The rich people in this flick have wonderful apartment homes with modern furniture and do-dads.
Simply, Fritz Lang kills it as a director and knew more about visual impact in his pinky than most clowns could learn in 80 years.
For all the attention to detail of scientific matter, the story is not centered on the science or “gee whiz” of the technology – they are merely part of the background and landscape of the drama which is about “dreamers” vs. “capitalists”. It’s always a joy to see how certain jokes or mannerisms come across with the same meaning generations out of time.
Kudos for one of the most evil comb-overs in history, a chick on a rocket who has her wits and isn’t an idiot, even a kid who’s not a friggin’ excuse to pull heartstrings every 10 minutes.
I give it 5 stars!