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Monday, December 28, 2015

First Men In The Moon (1964)

In 1899 Victorian England, an inventor (Lionel Jeffries) has created a substance that defies the force of gravity. He partners up with a failed writer (Edward Judd) to use the substance on a craft that will take them to the moon! Based on the 1901 H.G. Wells novel and directed by Nathan Juran (7TH VOYAGE OF SINBAD) with the special effects of that stop motion wizard Ray Harryhausen. While it lacks the magic of Harryhausen's best movies, the film is still a visual treat, both on Earth and on the moon. Harryhausen had nothing to do with the charming Surrey, England locations but Cherry Cottage along the canal is the kind of home and location one dreams about! Where the film stumbles is in its "hero", Edward Judd. It's bad enough that he's a bland and unappealing actor but his character is an unpleasant jerk. He's going to the moon yet leaving his fiancee (Martha Hyer) in the lurch with his creditors and a lawsuit pending and on the moon, he shows man at his worst! What a charmer! So while it's lesser Harryhausen, it's still a clever adventure. There's a nice score by Laurie Johnson. With Peter Finch, Hugh McDermott and Miles Malleson.  

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