#5 Favorite Movie of 1929
Woman In the Moon - Fritz Lang directed this "first scientifically-accurate science fiction film" based on a novel by his wife Thea von Harbou, and released by UFA. Adventurous entrepreneur Helius (Willy Fritsch) decides to build a rocket to the Moon based on the writings of the eccentric Professor Mannfeldt (Klaus Pohl), who believes that the Moon is rich with gold deposits. Also joining them on their voyage will be Helius's two assistants, Windegger (Gustav von Wangenheim) and Friede (Gerda Maurus), the latter of whom Helius secretly loves, despite her engagement to Windegger. The enterprise also involves the sinister American "Walter Turner" (Fritz Rasp), whose secret organization threatens to destroy their efforts unless "Turner" is allowed to travel with them. The astronauts also have a stowaway on board: a young boy named Gustav (Gustl Gstettenbaur). Also featuring Tilla Durieux, Hermann Vallentin, Max Zilzer, and Karl Platen.
Despite the filmmakers' best efforts, there are many things shown here which have proven to be scientifically inaccurate, such as the Moon having a breathable atmosphere, but those issues are easily forgivable. The romantic triangle melodrama is routine stuff, and the evil organization is similar to several of Lang's previous films. I enjoy seeing the groundwork for future space travel movies being built, as you can see the influence this held on films like Destination Moon and the many Moon mission movies of the 1950s. The basic character set-up, with a few tweaks, would be the blueprint for TV's Lost In Space, with a father-figure, a mother-figure, another friendly adult male, a child, and an unwanted guest (Dr. Smith in the show, "Turner" in this film). Speaking of "Turner", the great German screen villain Fritz Rasp has one of his best roles here, and although his character is said to be an American, his look is markedly Nazi-like. At 169 minutes, this will try the patience of many viewers, but I like this early attempt at serious SF, even if the suppositions prove to not be entirely accurate. 7/10
Source: Kino Blu-Ray, with a 15-minute German making-of featurette included.