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Woman in the Moon (1929)

Frau im Mond (original title)
Not Rated | | Comedy, Drama, Romance | 6 February 1931 (USA)
A tenacious scientist blasts off for the moon in hopes of riches that may be found there.

Director:

Fritz Lang

Writers:

Thea von Harbou (manuscript), Thea von Harbou (novel)
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1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Willy Fritsch ... Wolf Helius
Gerda Maurus ... Stud. astr. Friede Velten
Klaus Pohl Klaus Pohl ... Professor Georg Manfeldt
Fritz Rasp ... Der Mann, der sich Walter Turner nennt
Gustl Gstettenbaur ... Gustav (as Gustl Stark-Gstettenbaur)
Gustav von Wangenheim ... Ingenieur Hans Windegger (as Gustav v. Wangenheim)
Tilla Durieux Tilla Durieux ... Fünf Gehirne und Scheckbücher
Margarete Kupfer ... Frau Hippolt, Haushälterin bei Helius
Alexa von Porembsky Alexa von Porembsky ... Eine Veilchenverkäuferin (as Alexa v. Porembska)
Heinrich Gotho Heinrich Gotho ... Der Mieter vom II. Stock (as Gotho)
Alfred Loretto Alfred Loretto ... Zwei eindeutige Existenzen (as Loretto)
Max Maximilian Max Maximilian ... Grotjan, Chauffeur bei Helius (as Maximilian)
Edgar Pauly Edgar Pauly ... Zwei eindeutige Existenzen (as Pauly)
Karl Platen Karl Platen ... Der Mann am Mikrophon
Gerhard Dammann Gerhard Dammann ... Der Werkmeister der Helius-Flugwerften (as Dammann)
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Storyline

Thirty years ago, at a scientific conference, Prof. Manfeldt presented his theory on the existence of gold on the Moon. It was greeted with laughter by the assembled academics. Today, Herr Helius has ambitious plans to build a spaceship... and take it to the Moon! Windegger, his chief engineer, will be going, and so will Prof. Manfeldt, now living in a cramped garret alone with his theory. But there are disagreements with the financiers who insist that their man Turner also accompany the flight... The unmanned Rocket H 32 brings back valuable information from the dark side of the Moon. Helius is upset by the news of Windegger's engagement to the pretty Friede. And the financiers have a secret agenda: to control the world's gold supply... Finally, the Spaceship "Friede" is ready as it rolls out on its gantry for takeoff. The staged rocket works as planned, but the acceleration is fierce. As they approach the Moon, they discover a stowaway on board, Gustav, a little boy... Written by David Carless

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Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film contains one of the earliest examples of product placement in a film. A character is seen drinking from a glass that says "ODOL", which is now known as a German brand of mouthwash, but back then may have been a carbonated beverage. See more »

Goofs

Though many of the mistakes about space and the moon could be excused given our limited knowledge at the time this was filmed, the use of a fountain pen in space should have been known to not work. Fountain pens, or specifically the bladders of ink in them, tend to crack or leak everywhere even in regular air flight. This was known even in the 1920s. See more »

Quotes

Professor Georg Manfeldt: The day will come that the first space ship will fly to the moon to bring its gold back to earth!
See more »

Crazy Credits

Fritz Rasp is billed in the opening credits as "Der Mann, der sich Walter Turner nennt" or "The man who calls himself Walter Turner." See more »

Alternate Versions

The film was given a release from Kino Internation on DVD, running a length of 169 minutes. The 2000 restoration runs 200 minutes. The original showing in the United States ran 156 minutes and was later cut to 95 minutes. See more »

Connections

Referenced in History's Mysteries: The Truth About Science Fiction (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Heimlich singt für uns die Liebe
Music by Willy Schmidt-Gentner
Lyrics by Fritz Rotter & Andre Mauprey
Sung by Gerda Maurus and Willy Fritsch
See more »

User Reviews

 
"Into the hands of visionaries"
10 September 2010 | by Steffi_PSee all my reviews

The cinema of Weimar Germany, more fantastical, surreal and purely visual than its Hollywood counterpart, often resembles not reality but the world of dreams – and nightmares. And this is a world not totally removed from our own experiences, because we all of us dream.

Frau im Mond was adapted by acclaimed screenwriter Thea von Harbou from her own novel. It has at its core the spirit if not the accuracy of scientific endeavour, and yet it is essentially, like most of von Harbou's work, a story of epic, rip-roaring adventure. Rich with subplot, which adds to rather than detracts from the awe-inspiring voyage, of all her stories it is probably second only to Metropolis for its sheer imaginative splendour and romantic sweep. Many of its devices found their way into Tintin's moon adventure twenty-five years later, author Herge even naming one of the characters Wolff as a possible tribute to Wolf Helius.

Such a story is in constant danger of going off the rails of credibility, and as such it requires a director of a certain boldness in approach. Fritz Lang, von Harbou's husband at the time, is known for his stark visual style which many would associate with the expressionist excess of film noir, a genre to which Lang would indeed make several notable contributions in later years. And yet his manner, unbridled as it was in Germany where he was allowed to work more closely with his creative team, is more one of bizarre fantasy and nightmarish exaggeration than of grim realism. It is this take on things that brings Frau in Mond into the world of acceptability. Von Harbou creates a great character in the impoverished yet brilliant Professor Manfeldt. Lang brings Manfeldt's world to life with the bleak angular depiction of his home. In such a place it is normal for actors to grimace and gesticulate wide-eyed into the camera.

And herein lies the important second dimension to Lang's technique. Point-of-view shots were by now a fairly routine trick in Hollywood, but Lang consistently breaks that fourth wall and inserts the audience somewhat aggressively into the film's world, often having the camera take the position of alternate positions of two characters facing each other. Also notice how each of the sets of Frau im Mond is an enclosed space, not a backless facade as we would get on a soundstage. By giving us 360-degree coverage of a room, Lang gives us the impression – better I think than any other director – that we have entered the same space as the heroes and villains of the story.

This is how Lang and von Harbou get away with their own bizarre and fantastical ramblings. Fritz Lang's later silent films are exciting, so enthralling, in spite of their long running times, their oddball imagery and melodramatic plot lines. The finest work of Lang and von Harbou allows us to become part of their dream world.


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Details

Country:

Germany

Language:

German

Release Date:

6 February 1931 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

By Rocket to the Moon See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (2000 restoration) | (DVD) | (1970) (edited) | (Cinemateca Portuguesa)

Sound Mix:

Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

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