Catwomen of the Moon
|Victor Jory as Kip Reissner
|Marie Windsor as Helen Salinger
|Sonny Tufts as Laird Grainger
|Carol Brewster as Alpha
From the 1950s comes this harrowing vision of the future. Well, maybe not harrowing. More like terribly inaccurate, misogynist, and low budget.
From the opening with standard 50’s Narrator/Philosopher droning on about man reaching the stars: “Why must we wait…why not now?” we are in for a rocket ride of sci-fi “fun” (shame). The intrepid crew of Moon Rocket 4 wake up on their hammocks as the first people in space. They are all white, but there is an actual woman on board!
|Captain Laird Grainger — Jerk.
|Kip Reissner — Co-Pilot. In love with…
|Helen Salinger — Navigator, and an actual woman, loves Kip but is with Laird.
|Walt Walters — Engineer, mustachioed and wants to make a buck on everything, especially moon souvenirs
|Doug Smith — Radio Operator, young.
The crew is talking to Earth via Space Radio, when a Space Meteor Space Crashes into Moon Rocket 4, causing it to slowly spin counterclockwise. In the thrilling Special Effects, we see Moon Rocket 4 labeled “63” for reasons never explained. The Space Meteor has caused the Nitric Acid stored near the Atom Chamber to spill. That should teach you to never store Nitric Acid in your Atom Chamber. So Kip suits up and puts out the Acid Fire (Yes, the Acid is on fire) with a Space Fire Extinguisher. Captain Jerk and the rest of the crew just look concerned while Kip does his thing, then Captain Jerk declares from now on they’ll go by the book. Helen picks a landing point on the Dark Side of the Moon. (But it’s only barely on the Dark Side). After they touch down, everyone suits up, and they pull out the odd objects they’re brining along for some reason, including Helen’s cigarettes, Kips gun, Walt’s Moon Letters and Moon Stamps, and Doug’s “LA City Limits” sign (Why WOULDN’T you take an “LA City Limits” sign to the moon?)
Departing the ship is a complicated process that must be done individually, and by gum the director takes the chance of showing us the whole long boring sequence. Most directors don’t feel that their movies are up to the task of 5 minutes of disembarking, but Arthur Hilton doesn’t play by the rules of normal movie making. Immediately they all go to explore a cave, since that is the first thing anyone would do on the moon. Exploring the Moon Cave was Helen’s idea, she claims she saw it from the Rocket, but she couldn’t have from her angle. Curiouser and curiouser. But before they can think about it too much, the party is buzzed by a Space Meteor, so they duck. Inside the cave, they encounter moisture and heavier gravity. Helen’s cigarette match is struck, and it burns. So they take off their helmets and breath the Moon Air. And they take off their entire Moon Suits. But then…………………MOON SPIDER ATTACK!!!!! Our Heroes shoot it dead, but then a second Moon Spider appears, and Helen does her job as a woman and falls and screams while the men kill this Moon Spider as well. But someone has stolen the Moon Suits, and a lady in black creeps around while Helen rests from her exciting energy expenditure of screaming and doing nothing. Since they are now trapped in the cave, Our Moon Heroes descend deeper into the mysterious depths of the cave…about three feet, then see a Moon City, which is abandoned. Or is it? No, it’s not. Moon Women dressed in black and looking like Romulans show up. One is captured, but she vanishes. Then the Moon Women, aka Catwomen of the Moon, tell Helen that they have been using telepathy to contact her and guide her to their Moon City. The leader of the Catwomen is Alpha, and her compadres are Beta and Lambda. They want to use the Spaceship to escape the moon, and have no use for men. The Catwomen want to find the weaknesses of the men so they will explain how the rocket works. So they know the way to a man’s heart is his stomach, and they prepare a Moon Feast for the men. Kip is suspicious and won’t eat, but Laird, Doug, and Walt dive right in. Beta beguiles Walt with stories of a cave of gold, which she will take him too if he explains the engine of the rocket. And Doug starts working his Moon Charm on Lambda, who has never met a man before. Soon they are in Moon Love. Alpha tries to get Captain Laird to explain the autopilot, but he refuses. Walt runs off with Beta, and Kip gets Helen alone, and determines that the Catwomen made Helen love Laird so she’d get accepted on the Moon Mission, and fed her Navigation skills. But she really loves Kip, and tells him of the Catwomen’s plan of escape. While Walt tells Beta that “You’re too smart for me, babe. I like ’em stupid”
Then the Catwomen Dance. OR Moon Dance. Or something vaguely like dance, with black costumes, like if ballet and avant guard German filmmaking had a bastard child, that would be the Catwomen’s Moon Dance. But it’s enough to get Doug’s motor running, and soon he’s Moon Kissing Lambda. But it is too late for Walt, in the Moon Cave of Gold, he is Moon Stabbed in the back by Beta. Alpha won’t let Lambda take Doug with, so she switches sides. Our Moon Heroes figure out what the Catwomen are doing, but Alpha, Beta, and Moon Hypnotized Helen run towards the rocket. Lambda has returned two of the stolen Moon Suits, so Doug and Kip follow. Lambda tries to stall Alpha and Beta, but is killed by being shoved by Beta. Kip and Doug run up, and Doug leans over Lambdas dead body. Then we hear gunshots off screen, and Kip yelling he killed the Catwomen and rescued Helen. It was so exciting they decided we couldn’t handle actually seeing it onscreen. Either that, or they ran out of Money, or even lost the film of the scenes. Whatever it was, it was so brilliant I have never seen a film even attempt to try such an ending, since it would immediately be compared to that of Catwomen of the Moon and by default be inferior. And then Our Moon Heroes get back on Moon Rocket 4 and Moon Fly back to Moon Earth. The Moon End.
Yeech this was terrible. But it did have a few redeeming qualities, such as characterization of a few of the characters (Walt, Laird, and Kip), and it was short. Mercifully short. I think that is what I will think of when I think of Catwomen of the Moon, and I will think of it.
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