Movie Diary 4/29/2020

The Silent Star (Kurt Maetzig, 1960). Big DEFA sci-fi production from East Germany, about a mission to Venus. The production design is aces, as you would expect, full of zany colors and shapes. Plenty of anti-nuke material, with lots of references to Hiroshima and the foolishness of man creating something he cannot control. The crew of the spaceship is made up of a rainbow coalition (though only one woman, played by Yoko Tani), including an American (Oldrich Lukes) who must defy his suspicious anti-commie U.S. colleagues to join the trek. There’s a great scene where he arrives at the German launch site and he and his Soviet counterpart sit down in a meadow of grass and wildflowers, with the mountains behind them, and contemplate leaving the Earth; it feels very German, somehow. Variable acting, but even with the cheesiness of some of the action, there’s something thoughtful beneath the surface. It was re-cut and dubbed for U.S. release as First Spaceship to Venus.

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