Film: 660

Feature Drama | 1910 | Silent | B/W

Synopsis:

Extract from Himmelskibet (meaning Heaven-Ship), an early Danish science fiction film about Earth astronauts travelling in a spaceship to Mars where they meet pacifist aliens. Made in 1918

A spaceship travels through the clouds. It partially resembles an airship and has the word Excelsior painted on the side. Four leather-clad astronauts inside the ship look excitedly out of the windows. The corridor inside the spaceship looks similar to the interior of a contemporary submarine. Excelsior is seen flying through the air again. In what appears to be a control room on the spaceship, two astronauts operate some machinery, while futuristic gizmos spin around. Another spaceship flies through a dark sky, toward the camera at great speed. It looks like a metal cylinder on its side, it has the wings from a bi-plane mounted on top, and four wheels underneath. Two men on board the Excelsior look alarmed. The new spaceship is seen again, flying away from the camera and towards a planet in the sky. The men are seen on board, working several wheels and valves that are the controls for their craft. The Excelsior is seen flying above a large building.

Men in large robes holding staffs are seen at the foot of some large steps leading up to a grand palace-like building. They look up to the sky in wonder and raise their arms. These men are Martians. Other Martians can be seen running up the steps behind them, still raising their arms. All the scenes on Mars are shot in sepia, and there are at least one hundred extras in this very grand shot.

The Excelsior flies in the cloudy sky, and begins to slow down
.
All the Martians march down the palace steps, on their way to meet the Excelsior.
The Excelsior has landed, and rolls along on wheels into a Martian field in front of the palace. Great shot of the astronauts bowing to the Martians, who all get down on one knee. They stand again, and in a closer shot the Martian High Priest speaks. Closer shot of the astronauts as they speak and bow. One Martian hands the high priest a beachball-sized globe of the Earth, and presents it as a gift to the interested astronauts. The High Priest talks to the astronaut leader, and he encourages them to follow him. They all walk away.

Back to black and white. Two astronauts stand on the right hand side of the picture facing a Martian on the left. He is dressed in a large black cloak covering all of his body except his face and hands. Between them is what appears to be a screen, or at least a large image of a bewildered looking savage tribesman-type, wearing animal skins. The camera zooms in on him until the Martians and Humans are no longer in the shot at all. The tribesman backs away from the camera, looking directly at it. We see that he is standing in a field, where several other scared tribesman crouch in a line.


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