The First Men in the Moon (lost British sci-fi film; 1919)

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First Men In The Moon.jpg

A still from the film.

Status: Lost

The First Men in the Moon is a British sci-fi film directed by Bruce Gordon and J.L.V. Leigh and was released in 1919. The film is based on the H.G. Wells novel of the same name. It is notable mainly for being the first film adaptation of the author's work, as there had only previously been several films inspired by his work, such as Invisibility and Le Voleur Invisible, as well as being one of the first films based entirely on science fiction.


The plot of the film surrounds Samson Cavor (played by Hector Abbas), an elderly scientist and inventor, who, along with Rupert Bedford (played by Lionel D'Aragon), ascends to the moon in a sphere coated by what's known as "Cavorite", a substance that has the ability to offset the laws of gravity. After some time adventuring with the inhabitants of the moon, the Selenites, Bedford gets greedy, and returns to Earth alone to make a fortune off of Cavorite. However, at the same time, Hannibal Hogben (played by Bruce Gordon) successfully telegraphs to Cavor, which by then the scientist denounces Bedford and how he has been brought back to the moon by the over-lord of the Selenites, the Grand Lunar (played by Cecil Morton York). Back on Earth, Susan (Cavor's niece played by Heather Thatcher) rejects Bedford's proposals for marriage and instead chooses to marry Hogben (who previously crushed on her).[1]


Upon its initial release, The First Men in the Moon received mixed reviews. Some criticized the crude nature of the visual effects while others praised the film for preserving the appeal of the novel despite its low budget. The film soon faded into obscurity.

In 2010, the British Film Institute cataloged the film as one of their 75 Most Wanted features.[1] In 2013, owner and founder of Apogee Space Books Robert Godwin uncovered a series of newspaper reviews and stills from the film.[2] As of 2023, that is what is publicly left of the film.



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