Sunday, 15 February 2015

Moon Zero Two

A few weeks ago, John Tomlinson sent me some text and pictures about a film that I'd completely forgotten about, so I'm posting it now. I've been a bit slack with Oranges lately, and I apologise for that, but sometimes life gets in the way. Take it away John... 



I first saw Moon Zero Two at a school film society night, but time hasn't dimmed its infinite dumbness. It was billed as the first moon western, and they weren't kidding. On an airless moon, in pressurised lunar modules, moon buggies and a domed moonbase, everyone carries 19th century six-shooters. I got it on DVD for Christmas and it's since become the only movie my girlfriend has ever yelled at me for watching. But for some inexplicable reason I still love it. Its an ill-conceived and misshapen beast, like Gerry Anderson meets Carry On Up The Kubrick. With his gleaming lunar dome, James Olson (who later made at least one good SF film, The Andromeda Strain) is odd casting as the hero. Although not nearly as weird as Warren (Alf Garnett) Mitchell as dastardly villain J.J. Hubbard. We don't learn much about Hubbard, which is just as well, or his crummy Russian accent would have taken a lot of explaining. On the upside, Catherine Schell (later in Space: 1999) is gorgeous as the love interest. 



It's incredible to think that Moon Zero Two was made a year AFTER 2001: A Space Odyssey, the same year (1969) as the first real lunar landing. Director Roy Ward Baker (Quatermass and the Pit, Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde among others) should have been bundled out of the premiere under a blanket, and D.W. Griffith and George Méliès would have had a good laugh about the effects before dismissing them as not up to 1915 standards. In other words it's great!

John Tomlinson

4 comments:

  1. You know, I've never seen it, the one chance I got to see it on the box was many years ago and it was a choice between Moon Zero Two and--er, entertaining a lady friend. Tracking down the DVD is a bit of task, it's one of those that goes for silly money when it does surface.

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  2. If curiosity gets the better of you it's on Amazon for about £12. Don't be deterred by the Spanish DVD cover, there's a UK soundtrack option. Failing that, if you have a multi-region player you can get a US import for under £10. A mere bagatelle for such a cinematic landmark! John T.

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  3. I watched it on you tube by way of MST3k last year, of course this has a funny commentary and the film was cut a bit, but very enjoyable.

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  4. I saw this at the pictures as a support in the early 70's and loved it , and you've got a great shot of the most memorable moment ie Catherine Schell overheating...I sampled some of the soundtrack for the Opera btw

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