Sunday, 26 June 2016

First Men In The Moon.

"As a whole we lead very quiet and unexciting lives, which is what we seem to want, for we like stability, settling down and a certain reliable sameness. Yet underneath our ordinary surfaces there is something stirring...The captive that stirs inside us, is the spirit of adventure."
            A few lines from the introduction to HG Wells the First Men in the Moon. Not the best known of wells significant output and for some reason neither as loved or regarded of so much of the great man's other work. Yet I think even this brief introduction serves most eloquently to draw the reader on. It is a direct appeal to The Spirit Of Man and a notion that wells held close to not only his heart but the great mind that drove his speculative output.
              I just watched the movie version of the book .The one with Lionel Jeffries as Mr cavor and not the silent version by Georges Melies(still a wondrous thing.) from boyhood I have had such a fondness for Lionel Jeffries jittery professorness. He brings it to almost every role he played. It was so endearing and familiar. a sort of silly cowardice married to a desperate need for self improvement; He knows all his own faults. not something we see very much in modern cinema. That sort of lived in humaness. The ability to be brave while scared.
             I found a copy of this paperback in Jim McKevitt's Atomic Collectables (What a great sandwich board sign he has made for the pavement outside his store. It is a piece of modern art. Post modern art.)) and just had to have it for its great cover. It is very sixties pop and very faithful to the playful fantasy escapist cinema it is a well crafted part off. It does have its dark moments despite the warm humour that permeates. The opening theme and stark imagery of the opening credits is surprisingly melancholy. The screenplay for the movie was written by Quatermass' da Nigel Kneale and manages to maintain much of what is fine about Well's original novel and yet roots us in the "modern" world. It captures so well the tone of a story about the search for something  better in this world or one close by. A search that may well end in disapointment and disillusionment  but one well worth going on. A story that perhaps mirrors Well's own journey and where it brought him.
               You have to love the interior of the Cavor space vessel, very Jules Verne, very Tardis secondary console room. It has curtains and comfy seats and tins of sardines. If one is to travel to the stars far better to travel there in style. Or at the very least a style one is comfortable with.