Saturday, July 28, 2007

the German Star Trek, 1925



The history of early German space flight and rocket development is complex, puzzling and riddled with unexpected esoteric influences. Then there is the strong yearning to return to a mythical fatherland, that between the two world wars not always translated itself in earthly geographical coordinates. One fitting example of this is found in a German film that was thought lost forever. Only recently a copy of this film, entitled Wunder Der Schöpfung (The Miracle Of Creation), has been found.

In the film a German scientific team travels through the universe in a spacecraft that serves as the symbol of progress and an age of new technologies, explaining all that is to be seen. Wunder Der Schöpfung was not meant as lighthearted science fiction. Instead, the film that was meant as an educational device begun in 1923. It was released two years later under huge acclaim. In contrast, the same year Hitler's apocalyptic Mein kampf saw print in a first edition of only 500 copies. The book was a difficult seller and not a success. In Wunder Der Schöpfung the end of the world is discussed in optimistic terms, with detailed descriptions of the end of mankind. Four Professors cooperated with the film team, to ensure that everything was based on the scientific knowledge of the day.

Wunder Der Schöpfung was to be, in the words of one critic, UFA's greatest achievment. UFA put itself more and more in the mindframe necessary for its most ambitious project yet: Fritz Lang's Metropolis, that was relased in 1927, two years after Wunder Der Schöpfung. Contrary to Metropolis that obtained only a lukewarm reception, Wunder Der Schöpfung was a tremendous hit. It still is a remarkable film with for that time highly ingenious and elaborate special effects.

There is also a general feeling amongst connoisseurs that certain scenes might have served as a template for Stanley Kubrick's 2001.


More stills can be found here, and the trailer here.

3 comments:

creepstarr said...

Where can one see or order this film? A cursory search of google was fruitless.

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clem clements said...

This sounds totally cool and I would love to see it, but alas, it is nowhere to be found. Hopefully it will turn up on the torrent sites at some point, but I doubt it.