The First Men in the Moon (1919 film)

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The First Men in the Moon
The First Men in the Moon (1919).jpg
The British film The First Men in the Moon (1919), adapted from H. G. Wells' novel of the same name, was the first science-fiction full length movie but is currently deemed lost.
Directed by Bruce Gordon
J. L. V. Leigh
Written by R. Byron Webber
H.G. Wells (novel)
Starring Bruce Gordon
Heather Thatcher
Lionel d'Aragon
Distributed by Gaumont British (UK)
Release date
  • 1919 (1919)
Country United Kingdom
Language English intertitles

The First Men in the Moon (1919) is a black-and-white silent film, directed by Bruce Gordon and J. L. V. Leigh. The film is based on H. G. Wells' science fiction novel The First Men in the Moon (1901). There have been many subsequent adaptations of Wells' novel on film, radio and video.

As of August 2010, the film is not held in the BFI National Archive and is listed on the British Film Institute's "75 Most Wanted" list of lost films.[1] Stills from the production and a plot synopsis exist.[2]


The synopsis from The Bioscope trade paper of 5 June 1919 reads as follows:

In the company of Rupert Bedford, a grasping speculator, Samson Cavor, an elderly inventor-scientist, ascends to the Moon in a sphere coated with 'Cavorite', a substance which has the property of neutralizing the law of gravity. After strange adventures with the 'Selenites' (the inhabitants of the Moon), Bedford villainously deserts the professor and returns to Earth alone in order to make a fortune for himself out of Cavorite. By means of wireless telegraphy, however, Hogben, a young engineer in love with Cavor's niece, Susan, succeeds in getting in touch with the stranded inventor, who denounces Bedford and states that he has been amicably received by the Grand Lunar, overlord of the Selenites. Susan thereupon indignantly rejects the proposals of Bedford, who has represented it as Cavor's last wish that she should marry him, and, instead, accepts Hogben as her husband.[1]


Robert Godwin credits the film as "the first movie to ever be based entirely on a famous science fiction novel."[2] "Frankenstein", a loose adaptation of Mary Shelley's eponymous novel, however, had appeared in 1910. This earlier film, long also lost but rediscovered in the mid-1970s, has a running time of only 14 minutes.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "The First Men in the Moon / BFI Most Wanted". British Film Institute. 
  2. ^ a b Robert Godwin, H.G. Wells The First Men in the Moon: the Story of the 1919 Film, Apogee Space Books, ISBN 978-1926837-31-4- see web page at Apogee books (retrieved 5 May 2014).

External links[edit]