WUNDER DER SCHOPFUNG (1925)
aka Our Heavenly Bodies
Article 4246 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Hanns Walter Kornblum
Featuring Paul Bildt, Willy Kaiser-Heyl, Theodor Loos
What it is: Documentary on heavenly bodies
The nature of the various heavenly bodies is explored, as well as the history of astronomy and speculation on the creation and fate of the Earth.
Though the silent era is heavy on “actualities” (films showing real-life events), the documentary as we understand it seems to be a relative rarity. Being a documentary, I’m not sure this movie could strictly be called science fiction, but I do think it qualifies for this project, not only because the subject matter would prove to be of interest to science fiction fans, but also because the movie does use certain techniques that thrust it into genre area; for example, most of the second half of the movie is envisioned as a trip into outer space to explore the moon and the other planets, with some of the action taking place inside of a spaceship. Though the movie does get a bit dry at times, it is creatively staged, is full of fun (if not always convincing) special effects, and has a real charm to it. I do wonder if all of the footage is original to the movie, though; certain scenes (such as the destruction of the world in the last segment) are so elaborate that they do look like they may have been lifted from other movies; nevertheless, they are well used. I really enjoyed this one.