Fifty three years ago, this month, the Apollo 11 Lunar Module (LM) “Eagle” carried three men to the Moon. The world watched in wonder how “one small step for man” changed the course of science, art, politics and culture forever. America’s Cold War scorecard registered a feat that was declared a collective human achievement. While the symbolism and imagery of the moon landing had a profound impact on global collective conscience, it was an event that had ample creative precedents. The Moon was always more than a curious celestial neighbour; it was a reality unique to each. Naturally, its cinematic possibilities were endless. We were already over the moon before the Apollo 11 crew. As an anniversary special, this series looks at some movie posters of the pre-landing period that have left us quite moonstruck!
An Epic Moon Landing Melodrama
Posters of the movie in German and English
“‘Never’ does not exist for the human mind…only ‘Not Yet.'” There could hardly be a more fitting start to Fritz Lang’s grand scientific fantasy than such a prophetic line. Woman in the Moon (1929) is an epic prescient drama that deftly fuses space travel, espionage and romance and is often called the first scientific science-fiction film. Written by Lang’s wife, Thea von Harbou, the movie, in many ways, prefigured NASA’s Apollo missions; thanks to rocket scientist, Hermann Oberth who worked as an advisor on this project. Some of the technical/operational features are spot on! From the countdown preceding the elaborately detailed launch to the multiple-stage booster system and interior design of the rocket, the movie compellingly captures facts and fetish. Little wonder that in 1933, in their pursuit of the V-2 long-range guided ballistic missile, the Nazis banned all further screenings since they considered the movie to be too informative! You might be wondering what this extravagant plot and scientific spectacle ends up in. Well, the Woman in the Moon, in an operatic finale, culminates in an embrace of two lovers who choose to stay behind on the lunar la la land.