(U.S. Version) A mysterious magnetic spool found during a construction project is discovered to have originated from Venus. A rocket expedition to Venus is launched to discover the origin of the spool and the race that created it. Written by
Leo L. Schwab <email@example.com>
The German version contains a reference to one of the professors having his career stalled when he was thrown out of the university by the Nazis. Director and co-writer Kurt Maetzig had his career stalled by the Nazis because his mother was Jewish. See more »
One of the crew is injured during the first meteor shower, and has a gauze applied to his head. The next time he's seen the gauze has moved to the side of his head and now has a lot more tape holding it on. See more »
Recently shown at the Viennale Filmfestival, this movie (one of only five East German sci-fi films) was spoken of rather than of a trashy museal antique stuffed with communist ideology. I had thought it would be about the quality of Plan 9 from Outer Space, so I was surprised to discover that First Spaceship on Venus is not at all trashy! A lot of money seems to have been invested in the design of the mysterious landscape on venus and the spacecraft. The technical effects look highly professional!
As regards ideology, one can't make out more than a slightly pathetic call for peace in the world (which is perfectly agreeable, really) and a casual remark on how well Soviet astronomy is developed. The crew of the spaceship, though, includes an American and a Japanese as well, so it is openly international.
The moment the spacecraft starts, however, the science-fiction story stands in the foreground. It was written by Stanislaw Lem and is therefore quite interesting, shocking and full of suspense - another aspect I wouldn't have expected to get in a film like that. Of course, the acting is stiff, dialogues are reduced to a necessary minimum and the romantic element in the plot is too weak to be convincing. Probably, the screenwriters have removed most of the depth of Lem's original novel. Nevertheless, the whole film manages to evoke Kubrickesque feelings at times (note that it was made before 2001: A Space Odyssey!) and serves as an interesting historical document but also as good sci-fi fun on a Sunday afternoon.
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