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Image Entertainment presents
"Now we can be the very first. The first to make it to the moon. I know we can do it. We've worked hard—on our formulas, and on the fuel. It'll work. We'll make it work."
DVD ReviewDoris Wishman's Nude on the Moon is a space race-inspired variation on the "nudie-cutie" pictures that dominated "adult" cinema in the days before full frontal nudity and sexual content (simulated or otherwise) became standard. It tells the unintentionally hilarious story of workaholic Dr. Huntley (Lester Brown) and his colleague the Professor (William Mayer), rocket scientists (really!) intent on designing a craft capable of reaching the moon. When Dr. Huntley inherits three million dollars, the two men implement their design and take off—they black out during the flight and land on a lush green planet inhabited by topless "Moon Dolls" and their ineffectual male counterparts. When the scientists' air runs out, they return to Earth, where Dr. Huntley wakes up and realizes that his lovelorn secretary (Marietta) bears a strong resemblance to the Moon Queen he fell for and left behind.
Never mind the implausibility of two men building and launching a moon rocket in six months for a mere three million dollars—in the end it's all a dream, and besides, there are plenty of other laughs to be had here. The scientists' rocket cockpit and door are obviously those of a conventional airliner, and they find it necessary to communicate through microphones and headsets even though they're sitting right next to each other. The reason becomes clear when one realizes that their (completely unpressurized) spacesuits have similar mouth-obscuring hardware—the film was shot largely without sound, so that dialogue could be looped in later with little concern for lip-synch. This allows for generic shots of the scientists' observations to be worked into some sort of plot, though even with this flexibility there are some odd "patch" lines thrown in, in one case making it sound as though the Professor can speak two different lines at the same time!
Doris Wishman (producer as well as writer/director under the then-more-acceptable male pseudonym "Anthony Brooks") spares every expense to bring us her story. The film's opening theme song "Moon Doll" is nicely executed, though the audience is left staring at the same still image of moon rocks and a starry sky until it concludes, at which point some extremely limited animation reveals the film's title. The film's brief special effects shots are hilarious, with re-entry "burn" coming from the REAR of the space capsule like a jet engine and an obviously painted papier-mache Earth model spinning at skeleton-crushing speed. Set expenses were reduced by shooting the film at Coral Castle, a Homestead, Florida tourist trap with plenty of mossy stonework and freedom to shoot outdoors, though it still looks more like a roadsite attraction than an alien planet.
The Moon Nudists wear dime-store alien antennae on their heads, and lead an idyllic, topless life consisting of dancing, playing ball, bathing in hot springs and communicating telepathically, again avoiding the need for lip-synch. Nary a hint of actual sex is in the air and everyone keeps their bottoms (mostly) on in keeping with early-1960s "naturist movie" tradition. The acting is on par with the cheesiest sci-fi films of the day, often embarrassingly bad, and the lack of on-set sound and the Professor's white-shoe-polish "gray hair" do much to destroy the illusion of reality. The Moon Queen's court includes a number of attractive girls whose acting skills apparently extend only to nodding their heads up and down or shaking them from side to side over and over again, regardless of what's actually going on in the scene. The unfettered girls certainly look nice, but after a while the impact of the film's copious nudity wears off—it's about as much of a "turn-on" as a National Geographic special.
In the end, Nude on the Moon achieves what it sets out to do, finding a saleable excuse to put some topless women on the screen and fill seventy minutes, with promotional possibilities capitalizing on the 1960 public's burgeoning interest in outer space. As exploitation "nudie-cutie" films go, there are many far less entertaining than this one—if you have an interest in the genre or in vintage visions of space travel, check out Doris Wishman's Nude on the Moon.
Rating for Style: B-
Rating for Substance: B+
Image Transfer Review: Image Entertainment and Something Weird Video present Nude on the Moon in its original 1.33:1 full-frame 16mm theatrical aspect ratio. The source print has suffered a bit of damage, with scratches and green emulsion speckling here and there, and the film has a low-budget look to it with generally poor detail and semi-stable Eastman Color, though grain levels aren't too bad considering the film's "grind house" target. The digital transfer is competent but not perfect—some blocking artifacts turn up on the solid blue background seen during the opening and closing credits, and thin horizontal lines exhibit some wavering, moire patterns and I-frame pulsing. I doubt the film has ever looked better on home video, but the source materials haven't aged well and the DVD image is slightly below average.
Image Transfer Grade: C-
Audio Transfer Review: Nude on the Moon features a genuine Dolby Digital 1.0 monophonic soundtrack, which presents the film's original audio faithfully. The track suffers from some crackle-and-pop due to source print damage, but most of the film was shot M.O.S. with dialogue looped in later, keeping the audio fairly clear if not particularly well-synchronized. The film's piano-and-xylophone jazz soundtrack (composed in part by The Tonight Show's Doc Severinsen!) comes through quite well and lends an air of cheesy pseudo-sophistication to the film, as does the opening song, Judith Kushner's "Moon Doll." Nothing to show off the home theatre system, but a solid transfer given the dated source.
Audio Transfer Grade: B+
Disc ExtrasStatic menu
Scene Access with 12 cues
1 Original Trailer(s)
The film's theatrical trailer is presented in its original 1.33:1 aspect ratio, transferred nicely from a rather scratchy print. Intended for showing in the same houses where the film would play, it features bountiful nudity.
Moon Strip Short:
This 8-minute strip film (as opposed to filmstrip) is an appropriate inclusion here, as a comely female astronaut lands on a distant planet where she is menaced by aliens (well, stalks with red lights on the end, peering out from behind rocks which conveniently hide the more expensive portions of the alien creatures.) To distract them, according to the narrator, she performs a striptease, removing her helmet, silver space suit and bikini top before the film abruptly ends. The film's condition is fairly decent but deteriorates abruptly once she takes her top off, as though someone decided to run just that portion of the film over and over and over—thank goodness for DVD!
Doris Wishman Gallery of Exploitation Art:
This is a bit of a misnomer, as it features the one-sheets and other advertising materials for many of Wishman's films, rather than the original artwork created for the ads. But this is great old-fashioned nudie exploitation stuff, and one can imagine small-town newspaper editors aghast at the thought of running such lurid copy. Ads for Nude on the Moon are also included, as well as similar ads for one of the film's alternate release titles, Moon Dolls. The ads are presented as a running series of still photos; they're great fun in a sleazy kind of way, and the titles alone are entertaining. Indecent Desires indeed!
Extras Grade: B
Final CommentsOkay, kids, Doris Wishman's Nude on the Moon is obviously not an educational film about the Apollo missions. But it's an interesting relic of its time, evidence of early-sixties space fever as well as the growing boldness of nudie film producers like Doris Wishman and David Friedman. Image Entertainment's DVD presents the film fairly well, and the supplements are entertaining and informative. Tame by today's standards, Nude on the Moon makes for good Friday night viewing—you'll laugh out loud at the "science," and it's so carefully non-erotic that your historically-motivated interest isn't likely to be questioned. Recommended (if not in the usual sense of the word!)
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