A film by Fritz Lang (1929)
Starring: Willy Fritsch, Gerda Maurus
Length: 163 Minuten
Languages: Silent film with original German intertitles with newly-translated optional English subtitles
Frau im Mond is: (a) The first feature-length film to portray space-exploration in a serious manner, paying close attention to the science involved in launching a vessel from the surface of the earth to the valleys of the moon. (b) A tri-polar potboiler of a picture that manages to combine espionage tale, serial melodrama, and comic-book sci-fi into a storyline that is by turns delirious, hushed, and deranged. (c) A movie so rife with narrative contradiction and visual ingenuity that it could only be the work of one filmmaker: Fritz Lang.
In this, Lang’s final silent epic, the legendary filmmaker spins a tale involving a wicked cartel of spies who co-opt an experimental mission to the moon in the hope of plundering the satellite’s vast (and highly theoretical) stores of gold. When the crew, helmed by Willy Fritsch and Gerda Maurus (both of whom had previously starred in Lang’s Spione), finally reach their impossible destination, they find themselves stranded in a lunar labyrinth without walls — where emotions run scattershot, and the new goal becomes survival.
A modern Daedalus tale which uncannily foretold Germany’s wartime push into rocket-science, Frau im Mond is as much a warning-sign against human hubris as it is a hopeful depiction of mankind’s potential.