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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.
I hear a lot of people yearning for some mysterious original version of
this film, which is supposed to last for around 4 hours or so. Well,
DEFA has recently released an original version DVD, and it still runs
for exactly 1 hour 30 minutes. If you think the English version was
badly dubbed - be prepared for a treat of your lifetime. The multitude
of actors (this word should be used in parentheses) who worked on this
film, came from Germany, Russia, Poland, China, France (the Japanese
actress is French) and Africa, and God only knows what mish-mash of
languages they used on the set. It's all dubbed in German, in a sound
booth that has the acoustics of a bucket, regardless whether the actors
are in their space suites, in an Sound-of-Music-like mountain paradise,
or fighting the boiling tar on Venus. Amazingly, the original version
takes place in the year 1970, not 1985 as the version released in the
I can't really say anything redeeming about this over-lit, under-directed yarn. There's a bunch of extremely unexciting actor wannabes with the average age of somewhere around 55, who in real life would probably have hard times climbing the stairs to second floor, let alone flee from the living slime which at one point is supposed to be so sticky that the slightest drop glues the female to the floor, and which a minute later pours over the protagonists like a sea of mud (which it is) with no visible effect. Everything is shot in a rather small sound stage (as opposed to Russian sci-fi classic Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet), and how some viewers can deem this dermatine-plasticine world to be eerily alien, is far over my head. I remember the time when every Socialist coffee house had furniture like the "glass forest of Venus".
The way the director, the cameramen and the lighting crew have managed to neglect their tasks, is biblical. The scriptwriters probably just were somewhere else from the very beginning. The actors are quite often a real pain to behold, especially the black astronaut who probably was simply the only black man they had in East Germany, and who is so miserable, that the director, on his more sane moments, has wisely asked him to turn his back to the camera while delivering his dialog. Another horrible character is the TV-woman with her bedroom eyes (don't forget it's a 1959 Socialist bedroom), who covers the event globally on a live Intervision network. Then there are some excitingly unnecessary characters like Brinkmann's mother and Arsenjew's wife, who were cut from the first part of the film for US release, but for some inexplicable reason can be seen at the ending, thus making the whole mess even more perplexing.
Oh, and let's not forget the despicable, but unavoidable precious little robot, one of which you can unmistakably find in every 50s sci-fi flick, so you can marvel how it's cute little light bulbs start flashing frantically when it starts talking in a funny little voice! Even though it looks like a tiny toy tank, it manages to run over the stomach of a 7 foot Russian astronaut, thus giving the petite female surgeon excuse to undress the heroic male and operate on him to save his vitals (sorry, not shown!).
I find Stanislaw Lem one of the best writers in this genre, and that makes me wonder whether the fact that his name was used for this miserable screensoiler tormented him throughout his life.
Please don't waste your time on this film, otherwise you'll want to waste some more time to write a comment about how you wasted your time in the first place.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is the epitome of what makes some subject matters the perfect replacement for a sleeping pill. What little plot there is surrounds the discovery of an apparent meteor near Venus, and a journey to find out what it is and if it is, does it pose any threat? I kept patiently waiting for something thrilling, but all I managed to discover after 45 minutes of scientific mumbo jumbo that I was checking out the remaining time on it. Without a doubt one of the most pathetically boring and unnecessary trips into the wild dark yonder. I found it tedious, uninspiring, and would learn more about astronomy through the most boring science teachers of my educational past.
I would not say this was a great movie, it is worthwhile viewing for
sci-fi movie fans.
I was very impressed by the set designs inside the ship, I expected a much lower budget looking film. It appeared a lot of thought went into the sets. For example they did not show old mechanical counters and such on spaceship control panels. Instead they had instrumentation that might very well have come from a more advanced version of our technology. The outside sets, different crafts, robot and spacesuits were also impressive for the time and considering the location of the production.
The story was also decent, predictable by today's standards, but okay. I guess my one complaint is I fell asleep three times watching it and had to rewind to where I left off. Before and after the film I was wide awake. There was something about it that put me to sleep, I guess I should get this out next time I have insomnia. Don't get me wrong, I do recommend seeing the film. Just have some caffeine handy.
I loved this movie! And you can love it too, IF you ignore a few
problems. One, I can't think of anything more idiotic than having to
break glass to turn something on in a spaceship. 2, what could look
more ridiculous than the "Crawlicopter?" Krollikopter? whatever it was.
3, Professor Sikarna was such a grouch it's hard to imagine someone
didn't throw him off the ship. 4, it drove me nuts the way they kept
mispronouncing "Omega". 5, the vitrified forest really did look a lot
more like petrified seaweed than a mechanism for directing
radio-activity toward Earth. 6, it is a little amazing that on a planet
slightly larger than Earth, they managed to land pretty close to the
Venusian command bunker. 7, when they looked down into the command
center...what the heck was that? 8,kicking a rock into the "slime" made
it attack them? 9, the whole planet's gravity reversed itself? 10, if
the gravity pushed them all away from Venus, why didn't they just pick
everybody up in space? 12, why did they pitch a tent? 13, it made no
sense whatever that the Venusians made those jumping, metallic bugs to
store information. Those problems and a lot more were a little hard to
get around, but I managed.
I did notice though, that there seemed to be a lot of ideas there that "Star Trek" borrowed just a few years later. The ship vaguely resembled the Enterprise, (although I admit, the Enterprise looked a lot cooler). Even the control console on the bridge vaguely resembled the bright red console on the Enterprise. And an internationally diverse crew? "Star Trek" gets a little too much credit for being the first to do that.
Maybe I'm too forgiving, but I still liked it, and I could well imagine looking out a porthole at those storms that occurred throughout the "long Venusian nights".
(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.
Oh so amazing. Or not.
It's actually rather hard to watch. Talk talk talk. You wait for the action.
And there is actually a scene where a spaceman gets injured and the doctor says "I think he has internal injuries. I must operate." As they drag him into the ship. What?
It's a really bad film.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Based on a Polish science fiction novel, this movie is set in 1985,
when the world is at global peace. A mysterious message is discovered
in Siberia, but needs to be translated. It is believed to be a warning
from the planet Venus. An international team of scientists board a
silver rocket and head off to make contact with Venus. The ship lands
in a misty, glassy wasteland that swarms with metallic bugs and a
mysterious oozing mud that causes the astronauts to return thinking
they have discovered a failed plan to attack Earth.
Reading sub-titles didn't help my enjoyment; but then again I don't speak or read German. The movie is worth watching if not just for the funky, brightly colored psychedelic photography while on Venus. The cast features: Oldrich Lukes, Yoko Tani, Kurt Rackelmann and Gunther Simon.
The movie is called First Spaceship on Venus in English. The guy before
me called it "visually stunning". He must have the braille version.
This movie tries, and any movie with Yoko Tuni can't be all bad, but
the special effects, while ambitious, are pretty lame. The Venusians
were about as scary as laundry flapping in the breeze.
I watched this movie on my ~Sci-fi Classics 100 Movie Pack~- a great way to spend $20 bucks, by the way. First Spaceship on Venus is a crawler. Way too much moralizing, and not enough action.
Yoko Tuni looks great in her silver space suit, so I have no regrets about watching this movie.
Unfortunately, most who see this movie today are robbed of whatever chance
there might have been to appreciate it as a serious effort at speculating
about mankind's future by it's current re-edit and the atrocious choices
made in the dubbing room. It is inconceivable that an adaption of a Stanslaw
Lem novel could be plotted so incoherently, and even more improbable that
English-speaking male astronauts would board a craft called the
`Cosmostrator' or that a robotics expert would name his creations `Automats'
in honor of the popular coin-operated cafés of the 1940's.. The heavy
contrast on the print may have been the original cinematographer's fault or
it may be a result of decay setting in, but it doesn't help at all. The one
black character in the film appears as a faceless shadow, except when his
glistening teeth or the whites of his eyes break through the
The flaws do not completely ruin the tale, however: following in the Soviet tradition of `Aelita, Queen of Mars' the filmmakers present a dazzling vision of an alien world, and combine it with a compelling argument for international cooperation. The devastated face of Venus is brilliant, as are the `data spiders' the lifeform used to store information by the Venusian culture. Unfortunately, audiences rocked by the hysterics of an `MST3K'-style viewing may have difficulty approaching its deeper philosophical insights.
The production values of a 7th grade Thanksgiving play. The
international cast of actors (I use the word actors out of generosity)
are stilted drama queens.
The special effects suffer from being seen. The dialogue is delivered with the finesse of a drunk Stalin impersonator.
The only way to watch this steaming pile is with the comments by the MST3K crew which spear this dead fish through the East German gills.
It's hilarious to compare this movie with Kubrick unless you're talking about Kubrick the slinky salesman in the arcade.
Unless you can watch this with the MST3K crew, avoid at all costs.
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