Wednesday, January 16, 2013

First Men In The Moon (1964)

Starring Edward Judd, Martha Hyer, Lionel Jeffries, Miles Malleson, Norman Bird
Directed by Nathan Juran
(actor & director credits courtesy

In Victorian England, an eccentric scientist discovers a means of overcoming gravity, and uses it to launch himself and his neighbor on a journey to the moon.

Screenwriters Nigel Kneale (noted for his British television serials including the Quatermass adventures) and Jan Read have cleverly adapted H.G. Wells original novel within the framework of a modern-day journey to the moon, where the astronauts make the shocking discovery that two men journeyed there more than 50 years prior.  The skilled stop-motion animator Ray Harryhausen is behind the special effects, and although this movie does not utilize as much stop-motion as his other films, Harryhausen's talent is well on display.  The ending of the framing story, borrowing the closing from another H.G. Wells novel, is a little disappointing, as the filmmakers could have used the opportunity to launch into a fascinating second film, rather than wrapping things up, but all in all, this is a well-crafted adventure.

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