Cat-Women of the Moon (1953)

This film was originally released in full stereoscopic format in 1953, and a regular B/W print was released later under the title “Rocket to the Moon”. The film is of historic interest as it was one of the first (perhaps the first) of many Sci-Fi movies about space travellers who encounter a “lost” civilization of nubile young women, not only in attractive dresses and perfect coiffures but also speaking perfect English. This theme was so successful that it has been repeatedly followed right up to today when everyone has a much more sophisticated understanding of the realities of space. Historically, it is interesting to compare this film with those of the same genre released more recently such as Femalien or the Emmanuelle in Space series. Over the two generations since Rocket to the Moon was released, films of this genre have gradually changed their intended appeal by becoming primarily skinflicks rather than Sci-Fi thrillers.

It is unfortunate that Hollywood quickly lost interest in the complexity of producing good stereoscopic films (which are most often now featured in specialist theatres such as the IMAX), and instead has followed what I feel has been a largely disasterous attempt to explore the potential of anthropomorphic lenses even though in the majority of cases these have no conceivable artistic contribution to make to the final product. Although produced for polarised projection, Catwomen of the Moon is one of the very few 3D films which has been made available on VHS tape in analglyphic (dual colour) stereographic format. It has also been released as a DVD, but in non-stereographic format. Whilst the analglyphic tape version will remain of interest to a most people interested in the history of the cinema, I find it very hard to understand the choice of this film for release as a regular DVD.

This film was not produced on such a low budget as some of its successors. The view of the rocket itself gives the impression that at a pinch this might be large enough for a small monkey, but for its period it makes a serious attempt to show the need for features such as spacesuits for the crew of the rocket. After their rocket lands on the dark side of the moon the astronauts find a deep cavern where air still exists and where these suits can be dispensed with. Scientific improbability returns when they travel back to the surface wearing casual sports clothes and encounter a fairly normal gravitational pull. More surprisingly (?), the cavern is occupied by giant spiders and a group of nubile catwomen who are threatened with extinction, not by the complete absence of any men but by the gradual loss of their air. Logically they therefore plan to steal the rocket and return to Earth in it. The whole plot is worked out in just over an hour (64 min) of quite easy watching; however the story (plot?) does not have the charm shown by the film Fire Maidens of Outer Space which appeared three years later. This is unfortunately not currently available in any home video format, although in my opinion it provides a more enjoyable example of movie nostalgia than the Catwomen.