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Der schweigende Stern
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Reviews & Ratings for
First Spaceship on Venus More at IMDbPro »Der schweigende Stern (original title)

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3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

"First Spaceship on Venus" translation

Author: adry from l.a.
14 March 1999

I opted to see this film for its MST3K qualities and was surprised to find that I really liked it. The science isn't complete fiction, and it's really a rather well-made film. A lot of time seemed to go into it. And it helps that it has good characters and story.

If you see it expecting a classic, you'll probably be disappointed. See it expecting a joke and you'll be surprised.

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6 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

The 93-minute American version is just rubbish

2/10
Author: junk-monkey (liam@merriol.freeserve.co.uk) from Highlands of Scotland
10 January 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The original might have been great, as some people seem to suggest, but the American dubbed version looks like it has been cut to ribbons - the dialogue is risible:

"They, and the others who are coming, will form the crew!" is an early example of English being horribly mangled to vaguely fit the mouth movements of the actors.

The story (as it survives) was hardly original even in 1960:

In 1985 a fragment of an extra-terrestrial message is found in the Gobi desert. Somehow, (There is an awful lot of unexplained "Somehow" in this film) this is connected with a supposed meteor that hit Siberia 75 years before. Lots of "International scientists" are given access to the world's biggest computer (and it is very big - must be lots and lots of vacuum tubes in there) they manage to decipher some of the message - but not all.

"We must renovate it!", cries one of the vaguely ethnic International Scientists, "We must soak it in a catalytic medium then subject it to radiation!"

"Very good idea," says another, not bothering to ask why radiating a heat-damaged magnetic recording would do any good whatsoever. Though I must remember that trick next time I accidentally erase one of my answer machine messages.

Meanwhile, another scientist, who has big shiny hair, has worked out that the trajectory of the alien ship means it can only have been launched from Venus! How? I mean how DID he work that out 75 years after the event? Find some 100 year old Yak farmer who saw it crash and asked him which way it came from?

As luck would have it the World League of Super Scientists have just finished building a pretty nifty looking space ship that not only looks like a Stark lemon squeezer but has Artificial Gravity, a machine shop and a fully equipped operating theatre. Why, after going to all that effort, they didn't manage shoehorn in a small kitchen somewhere is beyond me but if they had, the crew wouldn't have got to drink great Science Fiction Chocolate Flavoured Smoothies for the whole trip. Wow! The future is so exciting!

The crew, their cute robot, and (GASP!) a woman doctor! blast off for Venus. Suddenly there is an unexpected meteor shower - didn't these people ever see any crappy old SF films? - there is ALWAYS a sudden unexpected meteor shower. One of the crew goes outside to fix something before they hit an even bigger slightly more expected meteor shower. He fixes it (apparently by letting off a fire-extinguisher in its general direction) they swerve at the last moment and aren't doomed any more.

This whole sequence is deathly dull. One of the most boring unexpected meteor shower scenes ever.

After 45 days in space (sick to the back teeth with chocolate smoothies) and just three days away from Venus they decipher the rest of the message which basically says "All your base are belong to us - Mwahahahaha!"

EEK! Dilemma! Go on? or go back and warn Earth?

They grimly go on. One of the crew goes ahead to scout for a good landing site. He looses radio contact. He lands. He gets out to go for a walk and falls down a hole where he is attacked by metal insects. (Note: "Attacked" in this context means a Not Very Special Effects guy up a stepladder bounces some totally non-scary kid's toys on thin elastic in front of the camera.) His scout ship explodes. The big ship nearly lands on top of him. Everyone meets up.

"Look, your ship exploded because you parked it on top of that buried power cable."

"It didn't say anything about not parking near power cables in the manual. Who do I sue?"

They follow the power cable. It leads to a strange, ginormous glowing ball.

They follow it the other way. It leads to a strange, ginormous underground control centre place - an entire planet to land on and they arrive at the Venusian's High command's secret underground bunker...! Nice one! Suddenly they are attacked by a bezzillion tons of malevolent black porridge which chases them up a spiral ramp. Trapped at the top, one of them pulls out his disintegrator ray and fires. The porridge runs away but things start happening. Lightening flashes. The strange, ginormous glowing ball turns red and gravity starts getting stronger! The spaceship can't take off! Everyone rushes back to the spaceship where they sit around and talk for ages. The cute robot goes berserk (well, rolls backwards and forwards a bit) and (God knows how) manages somehow to seriously injure someone.

The most Asian member of the crew remembers he caught a glimpse of a control panel down the bottom of a very deep hole back at the Secret Bunker and is convinced he can reverse the process. He sets off with the only black member of the crew and lowers HIM down the very deep hole for some reason, before getting a puncture in his space suit and dying.

Suddenly (again for no explained reason) the whole process goes into reverse. Gravity reverses. "Energy is being converted into mass!" Now they are struggling to keep the ship on the ground! They fail. They are flung into space leaving the black guy, and someone who went off to rescue him behind. They go home. Sombrely they step from the ship and make little speeches. Big Shiny Haired scientist is reunited with someone who was cut out of the earlier part of the film. The Lady doctor consoles someone else who was cut out of the earlier part of the film. I wonder who they were because we had seen neither of them before.

The original 130-minute version may well have been great but its 93-minute American version is just rubbish.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

To Boring For Me To Watch

2/10
Author: Rainey Dawn from United States
17 January 2017

Well it started out super boring, I fast-forwarded it to the just over a half of an hour mark and stopped to watch again. What caught my eye was them on Venus in their sparkly silver suits, a robot running around and a pretty eerie looking atmosphere. I watched for a few more minutes then was so bored with it I had to fast-forward to the end.

I enjoy some of the Mill Creek 50-pack hidden gems but this film is not one of them to me. I found it in their Sci-Fi Classics collection. The film was jittery but that I can handle, I just can't handle the boredom it gave to me. It just was not my style.

2/10

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Very old East German SciFi

4/10
Author: Thomas (filmreviews@web.de) from Berlin, Germany
12 August 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"Der schweigende Stern" or "First Spaceship on Venus" 8and there are several other German and English titles for this one) is an East German movie from 1960. It had its 55th anniversary last year. The original film runs for 90 minutes, but the English dubbed version only goes on for 80 minutes. The English title is already a good indicator what this film is about, namely the exploration of space, especially of the planet Venus. The film is based on a novel and the director here is Kurt Maetzig and he is also one of the several writers who adapted the original work by Stanislaw Lem. Maetzig lived until 2012 and became over 100 years old. There are a handful of somewhat known science-fiction films from (East) Germany that are still known very well today despite being from the 1960s or 1970s. The most significant thing is maybe the cultural diversity of the cast. There's Caucasian actors, Asian actors, Black actors... as if this was Star Trek. I cannot say I am familiar with any of the cast members though.

All in all, I found this a really generic science-fiction film. Mystery Science Theatre 3000 made this a lot more famous than it has any right to be with their unfunny and ignorant spoofing. Anyway, back to this one here. It's always surprising to see so many writers work on a film and then it becomes so mediocre and forgettable. Yes there was a trashy scene here and there and it felt pretty bizarre how the movie still took itself so seriously, but all in all I thought this was not a very interesting or even entertaining watch. Maybe it is worth checking out for the biggest SciFi fans who have seen almost everything else from the genre, but I cannot say that I would recommend checking this one out. Not even the visual side is really convincing, so four stars are still pretty generous. Better stay away.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

old memory

5/10
Author: a666333 from Canada
24 September 2008

I first saw this on TV in the mid 60s in black and white. It was spooky and scary at that young age. Recently I have seen it in colour but only the cut down version. I will try to find the longer version as the editing of the 79 minute version seems quite harsh and very rushed. When they reach the planet, things happen in rapid succession. Some build up and more interaction among the characters would definitely help. Maybe some of that is there in the full version.

The visuals are definitely there with the imaginative sets (with the 50s modern art flavour that could have come from the Jetson's) and there is a basis for a good enough story. The very multinational crew is a good idea and refreshing. Yoko Tani always looks great to me.

But even with the editing problems fixed, there are clearly some unnecessary, cheap diversions such as the inevitable threatening meteor shower and the goofy robot (where is Robby when you need him?). Those were common in American B grade science fiction. If taken out of this, this film could rise well above those. It certainly has the potential for that. Other Warsaw Pact science fiction films of that era, though flawed, come across better. Then again, this seems to be the first one.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

I just got a copy of the original German version...

Author: jbrotychoorion from Santa Rosa, CA
9 December 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

What surprised me was that so little of the original basic storyline had been changed. Of course, in this version the head of the expedition is Russian(not American), as is the spaceship, which the Russians generously offer for the trip, and the moonbase is referred to as socialist, though it has been benevolently been made available to all nations. And the Americans are presented here as greedy business men who try to prevent the one idealistic American scientist from joining the Venus mission. The American also feels guilty about helping to create the Atomic bomb, and the bombing of Hiroshima, which just so happens to have made the Japanese woman on the voyage afraid to have mutated babies due to the radiation she received during the war. Of course this has greater significance when they reach Venus, and realize that the Venusians accidentally destroyed themselves fifty years before in a huge nuclear explosion, while attempting to invade Earth. There is one very interesting scene left out of the American print, which shows the American and Russian Astronaut (Cosmonauts?) sitting in a field, touching mother earth, and remarking thoughtfully about the trip they're about to take. Perhaps this scene was deleted because the two characters, though friends, were depicted in earlier scenes as being from two different societies, and their conversation wouldn't have made sense in the more Utopian world the US version depicts. But other than the previously described changes, a few scenes which show family members saying goodbye to the astronauts, there is little difference between the two available versions of the film, and the added footage cant be more than several minutes long, if that.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Good visuals for the time, but the story lags a bit.

4/10
Author: Aaron1375
28 December 2011

I saw this film originally on the cult show, Mystery Science Theater 3000. I actually have it without the riffs in a package of two science fiction films, both foreign in origin. As far as films done by the gang on the satellite of love, this is one of the better ones they have done. That being said, it is still riff worthy, but that is more due to the fact it is very dated now and of course, the cut of the film they saw was a chopped up and repackaged version of the film. The special effects in areas look very good, but at the same time some of the effects look dated and kind of silly. Granted, this was in 1960 so one can be a bit more forgiving when one sees a string used to simulate weightlessness. Of course, the fact it was made in 1960 also makes the Venus set piece all the more impressive along with the strange ooze pit found on the silent planet. At the same time, the movie suffers from the fact that not enough time is spent on Venus and too much time is spent prepping for the trip and flying there. There is supposedly a cut of the film that runs 120 minutes, but if this is indeed a U.S. cut of the film, I'd imagine that there are not a lot of action sequences on the cutting room floor, but rather even more dialog scenes.

The story has a mysterious object found that seems to suggest that there is life on Venus. A team of scientist launch into space to try and make contact with the planet. During their flight, one of the scientist is able to translate the object as it is apparently some sort of communication device and learns that Venus plans to attack Earth. Unable to relay the message to Earth, the continue onward to Venus in the hopes of making contact with its people and somehow convincing them not to attack the Earth. They finally land on the planet, but there seems to be no aliens there. They begin to explore the remnants of the seemingly lost civilization and begin to uncover the truth. Unfortunately, they also set into motion something that may doom them all to become permanent residents of the planet themselves!

As an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000, this one was an okay episode. It was a bit talky in areas and some of the jokes were repeated a few times. Still, it had some good moments, not just the riffs, but the actual movie as the scene where the scientist try to escape the ooze is particularly good. The robot of the film is kind of lame and it does make me chuckle when he just rolls over the one guy, talk about something that was completely avoidable! The bumps in the show were okay, the best being that robot that Tom and Crow created that talked in foam!

So the film is a bit better than a lot of the films the show MST3K has riffed, but not the best. It was a bit too talky and could have used more action as they actual did make some impressive sets for the film and created some tension when they had to get off the planet. They also had a bit too much death at the end too. Everyone survives the trip and are doing fine, then the tail end they start dropping off! Still, a movie that I would say you may wan to view without the gang from the satellite of love. Not completely without merit and had an interesting concept. Just a bit more time on Venus would have been nice and less time watching doctor trying to feed her crew.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

It's A Dead World On Venus

4/10
Author: bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York
20 December 2011

Back when Germany was divided politically and ideologically the Communist East German half gave us First Spaceship On Venus which is a rather self explanatory title. It hasn't worn well with time, but it's still open to speculation what's on Venus.

A magnetic spool containing Venusian recordings is found in the wreckage of what was thought to be a meteor hitting the Siberian tundra in 1908. Just enough to arouse scientific curiosity is translated and an international expedition is formed.

Back in 1908 things were happening on Venus and it was a more advanced civilization on that planet and more warlike. But a big old disaster happened and the Venusians were all killed. What happened to the Venusians is why you watch the film.

The film is a plea for universal disarmament and it was made sincerely with the best of intentions. The message is laid on with a sledgehammer and the acting not great and the dubbing even worse.

Still Walter Ulbricht who led East Germany back then had no real reason to be ashamed of the film, but it is sadly and badly dated.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

The Best Film I've Seen Through MST3K But Its Not Saying Much

3/10
Author: WakenPayne from Valhalla
28 March 2011

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.

Out Of All The Films Yes This Wins As The Best One Including "This Island Earth". Joel & The Bots Put Up A Layer On This Film That Made It At Least Watchable. The Acting Is As Good As It Got For The Sci-Fi Genre Back Then.

The Idea Of This Film Is Just Too Stupid To Be Looked Upon Now But Back In Its Time This Film Could Be A Better Movie.

There Is Not Much Else To Say Unfortunately Except If You Plan On Watching This In Any Way Only Do It Through MST3K.

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2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

I like the workmen's outfits the best!

5/10
Author: Glenn Andreiev (gandreiev@aol.com) from Huntington, NY
11 February 2006

FIRST SPACESHIP| is a 78 American dubbed version of DER SCHWEIGENDE STERN, a 130-minute German sci-fi film made in 1959. Based on Stanislev Lem's novel "The Astronauts", this was the first German sci-fi film made after World War II A meteor fragment is found to have discarded radio signals from Venus, so an international team of scientists travels in a sleek George Jetson style rocket to our "sister planet". Presented here in letterbox format, in generally bold storybook like color, VENUS makes it DVD debut courtesy of Wade Williams. Mr. Williams is a valuable modern day video and film distributor who has kept a running supply of Edward Wood movies and other drive in treats on video shelves. The cinematography by Joachim Hasler displays Venus as a planet alive with primary colors. Some elements are sure to make DVD buyers giggle. The surviving inhabitants of Venus are tiny, spidery and bounce around, resembling cat's toys on strings. The workmen who help rocket blast off and return all have enormous letters on their chest, making them look like escapees from an Alpha-Bits commercial.

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