Thursday, December 17, 2015

Movie review - "Jules Verne's Rocket to the Moon" (1967) ** (warning: spoilers)

Dimwitted attempt to cash in on the success of Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines has at least an impressive cast made for this sort of thing - Terry Thomas, Lionel Jeffries. Burl Ives suits the fun as PT Barnum but Troy Donahue brings everything down by playing "comedy". Donahue's deep voice and brooding quality suited melodrama; it might have worked in comedy if played completely straight but he tries to be funny and collapses in a heap. It's not too damaging though since his part isn't very big.

What is damaging is that it takes forever to get to the moon- indeed they only get there in the last minute of the movie and it mightn't be the moon, it could be Russia. Which feels pointless and dumb and really, really frustrating - I mean you can't make this sort of movie and not actually go to the moon.

There are some pleasures - the hammy acting by the Brits, the production design, the costumes, location filming in Ireland. It's a handsome film to look at and everyone is trying to give the audience a good time.

Daliah Lavi plays Donahue's girlfriend and is beautiful but wooden.  Dennis Price and Hermione Gingold add some class. Don Sharp's direction keeps things bubbling along although maybe he's responsible for the tone being out in places - he was never known for his comedies.

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