Oh, girl. I know, it’s not easy being a lady in 1899, especially when your man has debt troubles and won’t commit to marrying you. Let’s not talk about those sherbet-colored dresses or your inability to follow instructions and/or close doors — you’re lucky you got to drive the car! — but let’s do talk about the chickens and that elephant gun, because girl, the men are going to mock you for them.Oh sure, you’re upset when your man announces that he’s going to the moon (of all places!) with his new scientist friend. And oh sure, you’re all “you have to choose, it’s the moon or it’s me!” and just when you think he’s chosen you, you find he’s chosen the moon and you’ve been given a legal summons, because the dude, oh the dude, he tried to involve you in an illegal real estate scheme, didn’t he? The cad. But well, he needed money! And if he’s going the moon and not staying with you, by gum, he needs some chickens and a gun.
Don’t get me wrong. I greatly enjoyed The First Men in the Moon (1964), because it’s classic SF (with more than its fair share of British steampunk trappings) and how could this possibly not appeal to my heart? Especially on discovering that the H.G. Wells book inspired C.S. Lewis’s Out of the Silent Planet which is amazeballs and on the keeper shelf forever. The miniatures of the film are also handled by Ray Harryhausen. Hello. Love.
But there are plenty of cringe-worthy things contained herein, especially Our Poor Kate. Having not read the Wells story, I’m not sure if she’s actually involved there (the Wiki summary makes no mention of her, which makes me presume not). In the movie, Our Poor Kate serves as a scapegoat for all that goes wrong, as if these two bumbling gentlemen explorers aren’t idiots in their own right.
Our Poor Kate wants to send chickens and an elephant gun with her love, then accidentally ends up going on the voyage herself. Oops! When there are only two space suits, she’s shoved into an air-tight compartment of the ship until the men are out. When the aliens swarm the sphere, she shrieks and threatens to shoot them. When the ship is not where the men left it, they presume Our Poor Kate hit the controls and took it back to Earth. Actually, she’s only been stolen with the spaceship by the aliens to further motivate Our Heroes. Thank goodness.
While Scientist Cavor is questioned by the aliens, and Boyfriend Bedford gets to explore caverns and watch moon caterpillars get devoured straight down to their whale-like skeletons, the aliens mostly check out Kate’s skeletal structure and keep her in a glass jail cell.
How did Kate come to be back IN the cell, when she and Cavor were shown resting outside of it; moments later, he’s going to speak with the
Wizard of Oz Chief Alien Insect Dude (unescorted) and she’s locked up tight. Oh sure, I presume the aliens locked her back up, but why? Why not let her go with Cavor? I can’t help but wonder how Kate would have answered the aliens’ questions; what life is like on Earth and what war is. This, of course, perks my story brain right up. Kind of like chickens and elephant guns. And why was the leader of the alien insects a dude? On the one hand, it’s not surprising, because dudes. But on the other, hello insect community structure much?
And where did the chickens end up, after Cavor released them in the sphere? In my mind, there are now giant, mutant chickens on the moon, happily eating up all those moonapillars.