In Victorian England, an American showman uses a wealthy Frenchman's finances to build a German explosives expert's giant cannon designed to fire a people-filled projectile to the Moon but spies and saboteurs endanger the project.
Anthony Hancock gives up his office job to become an abstract artist. He has a lot of enthusiasm, but little talent, and critics scorn his work. Nevertheless, he impresses an emerging very talented artist.
Based on the Stephen Potter "One Upmanship" and "Lifemanship" books, Henry Palfrey tries hard to impress but always loses out to the rotter Delauney. Then he discovers the Lifeman college ... See full summary »
Phineas T Barnum and friends finance the first flight to the moon but find the task a little above them. They attempt to blast their rocket into orbit from a massive gun barrel built into the side of a Welsh mountain, but money troubles, spies and saboteurs ensure that the plan is doomed before it starts.Written by
This is a very underrated film. In Halliwell's Film Guide it gets no stars at all, and when it was shown recently on TV, the reviewer in the listings magazine I buy each week made no secret of how little he liked it.
However, this 'comedy fantasy' has a huge amount going for it. Although it is rarely hilarious, it is often funny and it is usually fun. The cast is terrific. The costumes and cinematography are also excellent, and the period feel is surprisingly good: we really feel that we are in the late 19th century. This is impressive given that many films with bigger budgets than this are not as successful in recreating a period atmosphere.
Maybe the title misled people into thinking that it was going to be an exciting science-fiction adventure, and so their expectations were raised too high. However, with slightly lower expectations, it can be enjoyed rather a lot.
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