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Aug 262015

Once in a while I like to blog about pop culture that was before my time, but I still find enjoyable. Now I have reached a whole new area of old when I saw the silent French movie A Trip to the Moon on Netflix.

It’s about a group of astronomers dressed as wizards who travel to the moon on a scientific expedition. Leading the group is Professor Barbenfouillis and the group travels in a small capsule powered by a huge cannon with the assistance of some young women in sailor outfits.

Even though the astronomers made it to the moon safely, what puzzles me is that they don’t even need spacesuits to survive on the moon surface, let alone the trip itself. Of course this movie was made back in the early 1900s, years before astronauts traveled to the moon for real. So the physics were unclear at the time.

It’s so amusing when the astronomers keep falling into each other. That kind of fast paced slapstick is what many silent movies were known for and I love it. It never gets old. Of course, my most favorite silent film is and will always be the Mel Brooks movie, Silent Movie.

Here’s something else unusual. The moon is actually inhabited by aliens called Selenites. They’re fearsome, but easily explode with only one hit from an umbrella. Of all the aliens I’ve seen in movies and TV, I have never seen any as weak as the Selenites. Heck, even their leader was a total wimp.

The real icing on the cake is when the astronomers escape back to Earth the professor doesn’t actually get into the space capsule. You’d think he’d burn up on reentry, but he survived just fine.

As much as it boggled my mind, A Trip to the Moon was a good short film. Of course all movies were short back in that era, but it’s a good way to compare how movies were back then compared to what we have now. Also, film credits didn’t exist back then, so the cast and crew were always anonymous. No way that would ever happen today.

One last item: There was also a colorized version of this movie that had the narrative dialogue and musical score replaced with modern instrumental music, which sets a more current tone to an old classic. That sure got me interested.