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A Trip to Mars (1918)

Himmelskibet (original title)
A group of the researchers from the Earth in a spaceship traveling to Mars, where, to big surprise, finds a peaceful vegetarian and pacifist civilization.

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Cast

Cast overview:
Gunnar Tolnæs ...
Avanti Planetaros - Captain of the Space Ship
Zanny Petersen ...
Corona, Avanti's Sister
Nicolai Neiiendam ...
Professor Planetaros, Astronomer
Alf Blütecher ...
Dr. Krafft, Avanti's Friend
Svend Kornbeck ...
David Dane, American
Philip Bech ...
Martian leader - Wise Man
Lilly Jacobson ...
Marya, Martian Leader's Daughter
Frederik Jacobsen ...
Professor Dubius
Birger von Cotta-Schønberg
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Storyline

A group of the researchers from the Earth in a spaceship traveling to Mars, where, to big surprise, finds a peaceful vegetarian and pacifist civilization.

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1920 (USA)  »

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A Trip to Mars  »

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1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

 
A TRIP TO MARS (Holger-Madsen, 1918) **1/2
30 March 2007 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

The only time I've seen this rare Scandinavian foray into sci-fi territory mentioned anywhere - prior to its DVD availability courtesy of the Danish Film Institute - was in a literate appraisal of the genre by noted critic Philip Strick (who, incidentally, passed away recently). This alone would make it interesting and a film to seek out

  • but, alas, while undeniably good to look at (a traditionally Danish


quality, I might add), dramatically it turned out to be a major disappointment!

Apart from being technically stilted and plagued by the exaggerated gestures of the actors (a well-established liability of most Silent-era product), it also presents a totally different view of Mars and its inhabitants to the one we've grown accustomed to seeing in later American films tinged by paranoia. Not only is there no concentrated effort to show an alternative landscape for the red planet, but the Martians themselves are merely benevolent humans fitted in Roman-era attire (with the addition of some outlandish accoutrements): apparently, they were once as 'barbaric' as us but have gradually attained enlightenment - and, though their language is different from that of their earthly visitors, they're somehow able to transmit their thoughts to them! In essence, it's clear that the film is infused with the last remnants of 19th century Romanticism (some of the title cards are unbelievably hokey) which Weimar Germany and, then, the Wall Street crash helped eradicate - leading to a change in the general attitude of cinema.

The ultimate intent of the picture, obviously, was a general plea for tolerance and understanding (WWI was still raging when the film emerged); however, while certainly watchable (and short enough at 81 minutes not to lapse into boredom), the almost total lack of tension between the inhabitants of the two planets - where, back home, it's represented by the ripe but highly amusing villainy of a Mephistophelean character who, eventually, gets his just desserts by way of a lightning bolt! - makes for an altogether dull narrative. Besides, virtually none of the occupants of the vessel - which itself constitutes nothing more fanciful than an airship - who have been assembled from all over the world (and are contemplating mutiny against their stoic captain when the journey takes longer than expected!) get to do much of anything once they land on Mars!!


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