Helius, a visionary and enlightened businessman, decides to give credit to the theories of Professor Mannfeldt, a scientist who has been ridiculed by his peers, and funds an expedition to the Moon on board a rocket designed by himself. According to Mannfeldt’s studies, the underground of the Moon is supposed to be extremely rich in gold deposits. This attracts the interest of assistants Friede (whom Helius secretly loves) and Windegger (Frieda’s ‘official’ fiancée) as well as the greed of a gang of unscrupulous adventurers one of whom is Mr. Turner, an ambiguous businessman who succeeds in joining the team by threatening to sabotage the operation. Helius, Mannfeldt and the others are forced to take him on board but, once the destination is reached, moon-landing and some sensational discoveries upset the space pioneers’ plans.
Woman in the Moon was directed by Fritz Lang in 1929. Based on a novel by his wife Thea von Harbou, it combines a sure-fire plot (a mingling of melodrama and adventurous quest) with a knowledgeable and sometimes prophetic focus on the world of science. This is perhaps to the credit of Hermann Oberth, a renowned scientist in Weimar Germany who was called upon as a consultant for the aerospace sequences of the movie. Thus, for the first time after so much burlesque sci-fi, the movie heralded themes that were to become staples of the whole sci-fi repertoire: countdown sequences, the take-off of a three-stage rocket, and – less scientific but just as seminal - a vague fear of celestial solitudes and of a looming space odyssey. Does it ring a bell?