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It's really too bad this movie was first aired the week before the
Berlin Wall fell. It was a very well done mystery involving a murder on
a commercial American moonbase located in Soviet lunar territory.
Because of the jurisdiction problems, Bartok (CIA) and a KGB major were
both sent to investigate.
They found more than they bargained for. Besides the original murder, there were others all aimed at covering up a truth both Soviet and Americans wanted revealed. Fascinating. Well worth watching.
The detail in this film is great. How would people live on a lunar mining station? The bar converts to other things, there's a library, and the quarters, while not spacious, are adequate. They didn't ignore the air situation or the gravity. And they DIDN'T have people exploding in decompression like they did in Outland. Very well done.
This 1989 made for TV movie is worth checking out. Brigitte Nielsen gives an OK performance as the sleuth, but what kept my attention was the writer's attention to detail... In terms of the mystery. Science fiction fans will find a lot of aspects about this film (the political situation, the murder attempt in the library, etc.), a bit hard to swallow. But, hey, give these guys a break. The movie was made before the Berlin Wall fell, and as for the science, well, they don't attempt to explain anything away with technobabble, nor do they forget that the moon has no atmosphere. The love story between the investigators didn't gell, but again, they don't dwell on it. The resolution is a great twist on the concept of "hide in plain sight."
What a shame that somebody retitled this film to MURDER BY MOONLIGHT,
which makes it sound like any bog standard murder mystery or film noir.
The original title, MURDER ON THE MOON, is much better and a
what-you-see-is-what-you-get kind of title: this is a straightforward
murder mystery with the twist that the entire film is set on a Martian
moonbase in the near future.
It's a straightforward effort, constrained by the nature of the TV movie into neither being particularly sexy or violent, but saying that it's a film which holds the attention throughout. The storyline sees an astronaut being murdered and an American (Brigitte Nielsen in an unusual casting choice) and a Russian (Julian Sands in another unusual casting choice) forced to team up to solve the crime.
The film keeps you watching throughout, even if Nielsen's acting ability isn't really apparent. Julian Sands is much better and it's fun to see him before he was typecast as a stock British bad guy in the movies. The British nature of this film means that there are supporting roles for people you wouldn't expect to see in this kind of production, like David Yip and Brian Cox, with Celia Imrie particularly incongruous. Even ALIENS's Ricco Ross pops up in an early cameo. American director Michael Lindsay-Hogg was best known for his work on the famous BRIDESHEAD REVISITED TV miniseries of the early 1980s.
I liked this movie on many levels, despite the poor acting by Neilson. It had the flavor of a realistic moon base, and a mystery that made sense. It provided a haunting view of a political future and expected technologies. I think it was underrated and would like to see it shown on syfy channel. It is definitely as good as the current made for TV movies. As a who-done-it, it is moderate in its effectiveness, although it did take me a while to guess who the guilty party was. There were some surprising revelations along the way that greatly added to the quality of the story--revelations that were made in a low-key but effective manner and that served to define the politics and technology that made the story a true science fiction of the hard type.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Although it is futuristic, "Murder By Moonlight" could hardly be called prophetic; the Soviet Union imploded only a short while after this film was made, making its Eastern-Western tensions seem anachronistic a couple of years later. It is a rather cheap, studio-bound production, and contains more chit-chat than mystery or action. It does have a surprising culprit, however, for those who stick with the film to the end. Julian Sands camps it up with a robotic Russian accent, while Briggite Nielsen holds her own against him in what must be one of her better performances; unfortunately, her amazing physique stays mostly hidden under baggy uniforms. ** out of 4.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I had the honour of designing and working on the computer graphics for this film, if I remember, at Pinewood Studios. I remember the days were interesting indeed. Of course, back in the late eighties, computer animation was pretty new and I created the sequences on an Amiga which was filmed directly from a monitor by Rob Dickinson. Of course, at the time I did not understand just what the graphics meant within the framework of the film. So, to any of those who have seen it, I was quite amused when I found out what they represented. Being a bestselling transgendered woman author now, I feel quite honoured that I was part of this undertaking so long ago. Perhaps I'll even get to see the finished film one day!
Set in the near future, American and Soviet mining companies have set
up moon-bases. A murder happens and a KGB man is teamed up with a NASA
investigator to get to the bottom of the mystery.
Murder by Moonlight is a TV movie whose limited budget is never disguised. It has some name actors in fairness, yet they don't contribute much. Brigitte Nielsen sports massive shoulder pads but gives a very weak performance, Julian Sands sports an over-done Russian accent but is also somewhat lacking, while the usually reliable Brian Cox has no more than a clichéd support role as a Soviet official. The two principals Nielsen and Sands are the sleuthing duo who, as is customary, begin at logger-heads with each other but gradually get to like one and other. They even go as far to develop a romance, which it has to be said was very unconvincing and lacking in any chemistry. Matters are also not helped very much by a cheap tinny soundtrack that constantly reminds you of how low budget it all is. I do like a murder-mystery but this one was handled in a somewhat dull manner, although I will give it credit for at least having a memorable culprit.
Brigette Nielsen and Julian Sands must work together to solve a murder, and discover that the human race's most infamous criminal is alive and well on their little moon base. Very engageing plot with disturbingly memorable gender issues.
I watched this on the UK Horror Channel and what do you know, that's
spot on just where it should be! On the plus side, the plot is not too
bad if very dated, the set of supporting actors is really good, Brian
Cox and Celia Imrie set the tone with Julian Sands making a valiant
attempt to play the Russian 'NastyBecomesNicey', and the settings are
On the other hand...
It's marred by chronic 2D character stereotyping. As always we have inflexible Russians all plain looking in dull dingy outfits, and cool suited attractive Americans, sad because they are unable to communicate meaningfully with them. And it's killed off by Brigitte Nielsen's managing to make the whole thing look like it's acted according to the Plywood school. Whoever thought that she could possibly contribute to making it a watchable film should have their cabin airlock bolts cut and be flushed out into space. She honked in Rocky but was hailed because, lets face it, anyone would have looked passable with Sly Stallone to compare against, and she honks here.
if - - you - - are - - irritated - - by - - having - - to - - read - - this - - written - - like - - a - - list - - you - - will - - know - - just - - what - - I - - mean - - it - - is - - just - - like - - briquette's - - delivery - - of - - even - - the - - simplest - - lines.
Good for a sozzled night in with nothing else to watch, but if you expect anything to draw you in and engage you as many old films of this era can, look elsewhere.
This was a glossy, international co-production by ITV. An attempt by
the channel to show that they can attract big talent and make a glossy
production, something the BBC cannot do.
There is a twist in this drama that it is a whodunnit and we are looking for a mysterious killer in the moon. Julian Sands playing a Russian investigator with all the charisma of a zombie in a coma, whilst the Great Dane Brigitte Nielsen playing an American gets out acted by her recently enhanced breasts.
The film is tosh in so many levels, from the script to the acting from the main leads. To call it wooden is being mild to say the least.
There are a lot of well known British actors in this production doing their best fighting with the script. The production design is pants, for something on the moon we get the feeling we are on a spaceship with beige sets.
The fall in the Berlin Wall and the Soviet Union soon after the production was shown makes it look like a throwback to another era.
Also it was not much of a murder mystery.
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