Watch First Men in the Moon
- 1 hr 43 min
First Men in the Moon takes you on a thrilling journey to the moon, which is not untouched by human existence, in this 1964 British science fiction film. The movie is based on a novel of the same name by H.G. Wells and directed by Nathan Juran. The film starts with two astronauts, Arnold Bedford (Edward Judd) and Joseph Cavor (Lionel Jeffries), who embark on a journey to the moon in their homemade spaceship. Cavor has discovered a new, mysterious substance, which he names "Cavorite," which can nullify gravity, and he believes that with its help, they can reach the moon.
After landing on the moon, they discover an old-fashioned Union Jack flag sitting there, which makes them question if there has been a previous expedition to the moon. Soon they come across an abandoned vehicle and some papers, and they realize that the flag and the vehicle belong to a Victorian-era scientist named Catherine "Kate" Callender (Martha Hyer) and her suitor, Arnold Bedford's great-grandfather James Bedford.
In a series of flashbacks, the story shows how Kate and James discovered a race of insectoid creatures called "Selenites" living in vast underground colonies inside the moon. The Selenites are intelligent and communicate through a series of buzzes, hums, and clicks. After a series of misadventures, Kate and James manage to escape back to Earth. Upon returning, James and Kate's accounts of their experiences are met with ridicule, and their claims are dismissed as a hoax.
Back in the present day, Arnold, Cavor, and Kate find themselves trapped on the moon, with a horde of Selenites pursuing them. The adventurers use their wits and Cavorite to outsmart the Selenites and make their way back to their ship. Along the way, they learn more about the Selenites and their way of life.
The production design of First Men in the Moon is one of the film's strongest aspects. The movie's vision of the moon's interior is inventive and imaginative, with sets that are a mix of practical effects and matte paintings. The costumes, gadgets, and vehicles are also creatively designed and visually interesting, lending the movie a distinct retro-futuristic vibe.
The film's special effects are serviceable but understandably dated by today's standards. However, the acting from the film's lead trio more than compensates for this. Lionel Jeffries delivers a standout performance as Cavor, providing plenty of charm and comic relief. At the same time, Martha Hyer imbues Kate with intelligence and wit, making her a compelling and memorable character. Edward Judd's Arnold is a little more straightforward, but he gives the role enough charisma to make the character likable and enjoyable to watch.
First Men in the Moon is ultimately a fun, exciting, and well-crafted adventure film that will appeal to fans of classic science fiction. While some of the movie's special effects have aged, the film's strong production design and performances from its lead actors make it a noteworthy and enjoyable entry in the genre.
First Men in the Moon is a 1964 adventure movie with a runtime of 1 hour and 43 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.5.