hard times on venus

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We set up shop on Venus last night and looked around:

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Everything was burned and melted:

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Zelda and Bernie were upset:

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Last photo I took as we panicked and got out of there due to creeping black slime:

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Maybe I didn’t really get all the way to Venus last night. Maybe these images are really from the 1960 East German film, Der schweigende Stern (The Silent Star) based on a Stanislaw Lem story. I recently watched it on YouTube. A shorter version, dubbed in English, was released in the U.S. called First Spaceship On Venus.

It was an odd experience seeing it because I’m pretty sure I saw the U.S. version decades ago at my hometown theater. Probably 1962 or 1963. The black slime that almost engulfed a couple of astronauts is a fairly strong memory, and also the images of the two innocent people left behind on this hell planet, through no one’s fault. That horrified the little me in the theater. The strongest memory is of the woman coming out of the spaceship upon its return to earth and mentioning the awful sacrifices that were made.

I didn’t know until today that the movie was made East Germany, which at that time was behind the “Iron Curtain” and one of the bad guy enemies of the U.S.A.

It’s an interesting film, and not just because of the cool spaceship and the dark blue, weird Venusian landscape. Looking at it now, there’s a strong anti-nuke message that hits you over the head with a hammer, but I also see now that the ship had an international, multiracial crew years before Star Trek did the same thing.

As far the production values, I think the Germans were inspired by Forbidden Planet, or maybe wanted something on that level. Didn’t quite make it, but this is fun to watch if you fast-forward through the slow bits.

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