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 byR. Byron Webber
H.G. Wells (novel)
Starring Bruce Gordon
Heather Thatcher
Lionel d'Aragon
Distributed by Gaumont British (UK)
Release date
  • 1919 (1919)
CountryUnited Kingdom
LanguageEnglish intertitles

The First Men in the Moon was a 1919 black-and-white silent film, directed by Bruce Gordon and J. L. V. Leigh. The film was based on H. G. Wells' 1901 science fiction novel The First Men in the Moon .


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 1818 eponymous novel, however, had appeared in 1910. This earlier film, also long lost but rediscovered in the mid-1970s, has a running time of 14 minutes.


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  1. 1 2 "The First Men in the Moon / BFI Most Wanted". Internet Archive. London: British Film Institute. 23 December 2010. Archived from the original on 14 May 2019. Retrieved 23 June 2020.
  2. 1 2 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).