Cat-Women of the Moon
|Cat Women of the Moon|
|Directed by||Arthur Hilton|
|Produced by||Jack Rabin
|Written by||Roy Hamilton|
|Music by||Elmer Bernstein|
|Cinematography||William P. Whitley|
|Edited by||John A. Bushelman|
|Distributed by||Astor Pictures|
Cat-Women of the Moon is an independently made 1953 American black-and-white 3D science fiction film, produced by Jack Rabin and Al Zimbalist, directed by Arthur Hilton and starring Sonny Tufts, Victor Jory, and Marie Windsor. The film was released by Astor Pictures.
An expedition to the Moon encounters a race of "Cat-Women", the last eight survivors of a 2-million-year-old civilization, deep within a cave where they have managed to maintain the remnants of a breathable atmosphere that once covered the Moon. The remaining air will soon be gone, and they must leave if they are to survive. They plan to steal the expedition's spaceship, migrate to Earth, and in the words of the Cat-Women's leader, Alpha, "We will get their women under our power, and soon we will rule the whole world!"
Through the use of their telepathic ability, the Cat-Women have been subliminally controlling Helen Salinger (Marie Windsor) so she can win the navigator slot on the expedition (with Salinger stating, "Someone's got to cook your meals for you.") and lead the crew to their location. Once Helen and the male members of the crew arrive on the Moon, the Cat-Women take complete control of her mind. They are unable to control the men's minds, but they work around this obstacle, with Helen's help, and the use of their superior abilities and feminine wiles. "Show us their weak points", one says to Helen. "We'll take care of the rest".
Along with telepathy, the Cat-Women have the ability to transport themselves unseen from place to place within their living space. They use this ability to steal the crew's spacesuits from the mouth of their cave, where they were left unguarded.
Using Helen to smooth things over after an earlier failed attack on the crew, the Cat-Women approach the men openly. Food and drink are brought out and a dance party ensues. Kip (Victor Jory) is suspicious after discovering the spacesuits are missing; he confronts Alpha (Carol Brewster), who promises to return them in the morning. Kip sits alone, unable to intervene, while the Cat-Women exploit the "weak points" of expedition commander Laird (Sonny Tufts) and the other men.
Soon the Cat-Women have learned how to operate the spaceship and are well on their way to success. But Lambda (Susan Morrow) falls in love with crew member Doug (William Phipps) and tells him of the plot, saying "I love you Doug, and I must kill you." Carrying three spacesuits, Alpha, Beta, and Helen make a break for the spaceship. Lambda teleports ahead to delay them and is killed by Beta (Suzanne Alexander). Kip catches up and fires several shots, killing Alpha and Beta, while leaving Helen uninjured. In short order the expedition manages to escape and begin their return trip to Earth.
- Sonny Tufts as Laird Grainger
- Victor Jory as Kip Reissner
- Marie Windsor as Helen Salinger
- William Phipps as Doug Smith
- Douglas Fowley as Walt Walters
- Carol Brewster as Alpha
- Suzanne Alexander as Beta
- Susan Morrow as Lambda
- Bette Arlen as Cat-Woman
- Roxann Delman as Cat-Woman
- Ellye Marshall as Cat-Woman
- Judy Walsh as Cat-Woman
Upon the film's release, Variety magazine wrote: "This imaginatively conceived and produced science-fiction yarn [an original story by producers Zimbalist and Rabin] takes the earth-to-moon premise and embellishes it with a civilization of cat-women on the moon ... Cast ably portray their respective roles ... Arthur Hilton makes his direction count in catching the spirit of the theme, and art direction is far above average for a film of this calibre. William Whitley's 3-D photography provides the proper eerie quality".
The New York Times wrote: "They (The Cat-women) try to get their hands on the visitors' rocket ship, hoping to come down here and hypnotize us all. Considering the delegation that went up, it's hard to imagine why".
The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction calls the film absurd, but notes that it "qualifies as one of the most influential science fiction films ever made" as it influenced later films "in which astronauts discover decadent, all-female (or almost all-female) civilizations on other planets, including Fire Maidens from Outer Space (1956), Queen of Outer Space (1958), Nude on the Moon (1961), [and] Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women (1968)."
- An original-format two-projector polarized 3-D showing of Cat-Women of the Moon was featured at the first 3-D Film Expo at Grauman's Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood in September 2003, and also at the "3-D at the Castro" film festival, at the historic Castro Theatre in San Francisco, on October 17, 2006.
- The 1995 VHS version, from Englewood Entertainment, was released in the red-and-blue anaglyph 3D format.
- The first 2-D DVD version of the film was released by Image Entertainment.
- Since 2007 The L. A. Connection improvisational comedy troupe regularly screens the film in its live "Dub-a-vision" performances.
- Cat-Women of the Moon was used as the title of two programs about sex in science fiction broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in August and September 2011. They were presented by the writer Sarah Hall, and produced in Manchester by Nicola Swords; they featured a number of British writers including Iain M. Banks, China Miéville, and Nicola Griffith.
- Cat-Women was remade five years later (1958) as Missile to the Moon, also released by Astor Pictures.
- Cat-Women was the inspiration for Pat Benatar to change her appearance one Halloween, which assisted in her acquiring a record deal.
- The film inspired several songs on Shakespears Sister's second album Hormonally Yours, among them their UK #1 hit "Stay".
- Cat-Women of the Moon at the Internet Movie Database
- Variety. Film review, 193. Last accessed: February 7, 2008.
- The New York Times, "Cat Women of the Moon at the Rialto", by H.H.T., March 20, 1954
- "Cat-Women of the Moon". The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction. March 30, 2015. Retrieved 2016-11-23.
- 3-D Film Expo
- L.A.Connection web site.
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