24 August 2014

Blu-ray (Masters Of Cinema) Review - Fritz Lang's Frau im Mond (1929)


Genre:
Sci-fi, Drama
Distributor:
Eureka! Entertainment
Rating:U
BD Release Date:
25th August 2014(UK)
Running Time:
170 Minutes
Director:
Fritz Lang
Cast:
Klaus Pohl, Willy Fritsch, Gustav von Wangenheim,
Buy:Frau Im Mond [Woman In The Moon] (Masters of Cinema) (DUAL FORMAT Edition) [Blu-ray]

Frau im Mond was the last science fiction film Fritz Lang ever made, as well as his last silent film. It was also the first film to present the idea of rocket travel to a mass audience and even the first ever countdown of a rocket launch not only in film but ever. It may not have the fame of his other science fiction film Metropolis but it’s equally important.

The film has a sprawling narrative, which includes espionage (a theme Fritz Lang often used), melodrama and space travel. A group of spies blackmail the entrepreneur Helius (Willy Fritsch) to let them join him on his mission to the moon. It’s believed there is gold to be found on the far side of the moon.

Fritz Lang’s cinematic storytelling is some of the most precise ever, so it’s hardly surprising Alfred Hitchcock idolized him. The film is the better part of tree hours in length and it certainly takes its time to tell the story, it beautifully unfolds over the running time. Fritz Lang is meticulous with every small detail and plot point; it’s awe-inspiring to watch a film by such a master.

The film was billed as “the first scientific science fiction film” and the “science” aspects of the film are certainly laughable to modern audiences, but the set design and special effects are utterly breathtaking. It’s truly stunning to think this film came out in 1929 and remains one of the quintessential journey to a moon films ever made. It’s also one of the great shames of cinema: Fritz Lang never made anymore science fiction films after this; he tried for years to get them made in the US to no avail.

The Blu-Ray disc includes a new High Definition transfer from the F.W Murnau-Stifung. It also includes a short German documentary about the film by Gabriele Jacobi, along with the usual length booklet with a film analysis and a casebook expect with a Eureka release. Frau im Mond makes a very welcome Blu-Ray debut and hopefully Eureka can release some more Fritz Lang films in the future such as Destiny and even some of his American Noirs down the road.

★★★★1/2

Ian Schultz


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