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  Cat-Women of the Moon Lunar LoveliesBuy this film here.
Year: 1953
Director: Arthur Hilton
Stars: Sonny Tufts, Victor Jory, Marie Windsor, William Phipps, Douglas Fowley, Carol Brewster, Susan Morrow, Suzanne Alexander
Genre: Science Fiction
Rating:  3 (from 1 vote)
Review: It is the future and planet Earth has sent out a five-person expedition to the Moon. Their spaceship breaks free of the Earth's atmosphere, and mission control asks them if they are all right, so the commander, Grainger (Sonny Tufts), confirms that they are; however, back home they want to hear more, so each of the astronauts give their own reassuring message, including Helen (Marie Windsor), who mentions to "Alpha" that they are on their way. She does not know why she has said that, but it is quickly forgotten when a meteor hits the ship - the party will need to have all their wits about them to survive this adventure.

It's oh so easy to be jaded about going to the Moon these days: been there, done that. This science fiction epic on a tiny budget, originally made in 3D, was released before Neil Armstrong had set foot on our satellite, so it has to use the powers of reasoning and deduction at its disposal to work out what such an excursion would really be like. The result, as written by Roy Hamilton, is absolutely ridiculous, and heavily influenced by a popular male fantasy - Outer Space is inhabited by beautiful, eternally young women who have lived for centuries without seeing a man. Come on, we've all considered it, haven't we? No? No, probably not.

But the past is where they do things differently, and so is the future if this is to be believed. When they finally get to land on the dark side of the Moon, the expedition are understandably wary, and are dressed in chunky spacesuits that cause them to shout at each other at the top of their voices in order for them to be heard - no atmosphere up there, you see. Helen feels a strange sense of deja vu, and directs the men towards a big cave leading underground, where they are surprised to find oxygen present. They are even more surprised to find a giant spider present, which is dispatched with a handy gun, as is the other giant spider (or at least the same puppet filmed at a different angle).

That's not the only life down there - there are the Cat-Women as well. The women in this film are not to be trusted, not even Helen; at the opening, when they finally reach space, the first thing she does is produce a mirror and fixes her hair, and her essential item to take onto the surface is a pack of cigarettes. Never mind those feminine foibles, however, she's under the spell of the wicked, free-thinking Cat-Women, who use their superior, psychic powers to communicate in English and control any Earthwomen - any Earthmen are immune to their telepathy, being made of stronger stuff. The Cat-Women don't look particularly feline, although they dress in black catsuits they don't meow or have pointy ears, disappointingly.

If it's camp you're after then this is the film for you, with its futuristic setting mixed with caveman attitiudes to gender politics. All the male astronauts bar one are noticeably over age, especially the bad film icon Tufts, who starts off acting supremely ill tempered and ends up standing around with nothing to do as his men either get seduced or attacked. The special effects strain the definition of the word "special", and the Cat-Women seem to have trouble remembering any long speeches they have to recite. Our heroes don't enjoy one giant shag for mankind, as what these ladies have on their minds is total domination of the world and prefer their own company (if you know what I mean), all except one weak willed girl who falls in love with the youngest member of the crew - so guess how she ends up? No doubt about it, it's hopelessly daft, but amusing enough, and with a handful of laugh out loud moments. Music by Elmer Bernstein (yes, that Elmer Bernstein).
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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