First Men in the Moon 1964 — A Sci-fi / Horror Movie Trailer

First Men in the Moon 1964 — A Sci-fi / Horror Movie Trailer

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H.G. Wells’ Astounding Adventure in Dynamation!

When a spaceship lands on the moon, it is hailed as a new accomplishment, before it becomes clear that a Victorian party completed the journey in 1899, leading investigators to that mission’s last survivor.

First Men in the Moon is an H.G. Welles cinema adaptation from director Nathan Juran. When scientists in the year 1964 are confused by evidence of a long-ago space flight, nonagenarian Arnold Bedford (Edward Judd) explains all. Back in 1899, Bedford, eccentric scientist Joseph Cavor (Lionel Jeffries) and heroine Kate Callender (Martha Hyer) took a trip to the moon in a home-made space vehicle. Once on the lunar surface, they encountered an alien civilization resembling an ant colony, complete with “queen,” soldiers, and workers. How they returned, and the aftereffects of their journey, comprise the film’s final third. Peter Finch appears briefly as a messenger; he happened to be visiting the set when the actor hired to play the bailiff’s assistant failed to show up.

Plot: Spoilers?
In 1964, the United Nations has launched a rocket flight to the Moon. A multi-national group of astronauts in the UN spacecraft land, believing themselves to be the first lunar explorers. However, they discover a Union Jack flag on the surface and a note mentioning Katherine Callender, which claims the Moon for Queen Victoria.

Attempting to trace Callender in the records office in Dymchurch in Kent, south-east England, the UN authorities discover that she has died, but that her husband Arnold Bedford is still living in a nursing home known as “The Limes”. The home’s staff do not let him watch television reports of the Moon expedition because, according to the matron, it “excites him”. Bedford’s repeated lunar claims are dismissed as senile delusion. The UN representatives question him about the Moon, and he tells them his story, which is then shown in flashback.

In 1899, Arnold Bedford lives in a romantic spot, Cherry Cottage, next to a canal lock in Dymchurch. His fiancée, Katherine Callender, known as Kate, arrives by car (driving herself) visiting the house for the first time. It is implied that Bedford is in financial difficulties as he has a letter for rent arrears. They meet a nearby neighbor, inventor Joseph Cavor, who wants to buy the cottage, in case his experiments damage the cottage. Kate agrees with this on Bedford’s behalf. Bedford starts spending much time at Cavor’s house, where he has a large laboratory. There he has invented Cavorite, a substance that will let anything it is applied to or made of deflecting the force of gravity. He plans to use it to travel to the Moon. Bedford gets deeds signed up in Kath’s name selling the cottage to Cavor in exchange for £5000…. it must be remembered that he is selling something he does not own!

Cavor tempts Bedford into his scheme by telling him there are nuggets of gold on the moon. He has already built a spherical spaceship in the greenhouse next to the cottage. The sphere is lined inside in green velvet and has electric lights. There is an explosion at Cavor’s house just as Kate arrives at the cottage. This is caused by Cavors assistant, Gibbs, going to the pub instead of watching the boiler. He shows her deep-sea diving suits intended to keep them alive on the moon. The production of Cavorite is increased. Kate brings things for the trip: gin and bitters, chickens, and an elephant gun. But she gives Bedford an ultimatum: Cavorite or me. Back at the cottage, Kate is served with a summons by a bailiff accompanied by a silent policeman, charged with selling a property she does not own. Bedford and Cavor are just about to leave when Kate angrily hammers on the outside wanting to know what he has done. They pull her inside as the sphere launches.

On a long journey, they eat only sardines. It is not explained how they steer, but opening blind causes the sphere to instead head for the sun. They crash land on the moon. The men don the diving suits and Kate is put in the air-tight compartment.

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