Moon Zero Two : Extras ..
Moon Zero Two Copyright Hammer Film Productions & Warner Bros-Seven Arts

Interview with Martin Davison - co-writer of Moon Zero Two

I guess the most obvious question is how did you become involved in this film project?

It's a hell of a shame you didn't get to talk to Gavin Lyall (who died Feb 2003). Gavin approached me and Frank Hardman in spring 1966 with some speculations about doing a space western.  We responded with great enthusiasm. By this time Gavin had had four very successful thrillers published. The fifth - Venus with Pistol - came out during 1969. The fourth - Shooting Script - was published in 1966 so we must assume that MO2 was filling in a rest period between these two.

By June 66 the basic elements of the plot of MO2 were already emerging from his typewriter. (The 0 in M02 is now a zero, a nought, not an alphabetical letter.  Nice if it had stood for Moon Orbiter but it didn't.)

What you must understand is that Gavin (my oldest school friend from the age of 5) was the author and we were advisers - me mainly on the science (I'd gone to Oxford with a scholarship in physics) but Frank and I were very happy to throw in as many daft space-cowboy ideas as you'd meet anywhere.  But Gavin put together the treatment, his literary agent or he himself got Hammer interested, and he was involved with developing the whole thing with Michael Carreras - but I suspect much less closely than he would have liked to have been involved.

What I would say is that Gavin wrote snappy dialogue and it would be my view that if the film dialogue doesn't come across as snappy it's either because Carreras (and not Gavin) wrote it or because the actors didn't give it the necessary crackle.  Gavin commented at the time that Olson and especially Corri spoke un-variedly and too slowly - especially in the first half, and he thought the director was at fault for not varying the pace more.

Did you think that they were creating what you had envisioned, or was it far different?

 I think you are right in wondering how jokey the whole thing was meant to be and we felt that Roy Ward Baker didn't really have a positive vision of what the end product should be. Gavin/Frank/Martin certainly had in mind something far grittier. Even though it was a fairly preposterous plot we definitely thought of it as being grittier.  Let's say Hammer loved the idea but then ran with it in several directions, not all of them consistent with one another.  I think we all felt that the cartoon titles set the wrong tone for the film - and I'm not sure if the speeding up of the title song was needed simply because the animation didn't last long enough!  

You and your colleague contributors rightly pick out a great many technical and model faults and some general carelessness. I think the plain fact is that it was all done in quite a lot of a hurry. There's always little things that look odd – like the Moon Buggy should have been MB07 rather than MB7 I'd have thought. Gavin and I visited Elstree Studios while they were building the Moon Buggy and that was an impressive piece of work.


But they seemed to have a tremendously good time doing it all - and actually did expect a great deal of success. So much so that we were encouraged by Hammer to look seriously at developing a sequel,
Moon Zero 3 set on Mars, would you believe - and also a possible TV series.  I have lots of ideas-exchanging notes and the correspondence from early 1969 all about MO3. I suspect that these plans not progressing were not simply down to the films failure to be a great success.  I actually think there were considerable goings-on at Hammer around this time - financial/organisational/personalities? - I just don't know? But some fairly dramatic stuff I think.  We weren't really told much but I think something major happened to stop it all from happening.

You refer on the website to the book John Burke did.  I expect Gavin Lyall could have told you something about that, but I can't. Is Burke still around?  I don't know what he basically worked from, the shooting script or our original treatment?

It is very similar to the 'Final Shooting Script' dated Jan 1969, although there must have been another modified script after that as some characters, sets and dialogue were changed.

It seems a bit strange that Gavin didn’t write the novel?

I'm sure Gavin Lyall would have been offered the chance to write the book and would have turned it down. Mainly I expect because he would have been well into the next thriller "Blame the Dead" and wouldn't want to go back and rework old material. He was a very successful thriller writer and continued as such for many years.  He won the Crime Writers' Association Silver Dagger award for ‘Midnight Plus One’.  Bill Kemp was really very much in line with some of his earlier heroes. I attach a scan of an extremely beaten up book cover of his first thriller "The Wrong Side of the Sky" from 1961.  The artwork on the cover was actually done by Gavin himself, because he thought the cover provided by Hodder and Stoughton was inadequate for the job. 

But the MZ2 novelisation by John Burke does preserve the basic run-down feel as far as I recall.  We all felt the film was overdressed - in Gavin's words "The designers went mad and were allowed to get away with it" - everything was too bright and clean, so there was no contrast between the bright shiny Moon Hilton and the grubby-looking aspect of much of the moon.  Kemp's spacecraft was about to fail its MOT, his space suit was shabby, he was grafting for a bit of income to do essential repairs to keep in business somehow, etc. Somewhere in the back of our minds was a pilot, like Jimmy Cagney flying that old crate of a DC3 across the Andes, or somewhere in the wilds of South America?

I didn’t realise that you wrote the lyrics for the title song.

Yes I wrote the lyrics, working with Don Ellis (US jazz musician extraordinary) who did the music. But I don’t seem to be credited with doing them, possibly because I failed to join the Performing Rights Society. Don and I were both disappointed that the song finished up 20% faster and 50% louder than we had intended it to be. But I read a review saying ‘It hit the listener with a full-on sonic body tackle’ – so I guess it worked for them. Other reviewers were less kind!

Some folk didn't understand the lyrics too well - I wrote to Gavin Lyall July 1969: "Any parallel between the girl singing to her spaceship and a cowboy singing to his horse is entirely deliberate".  

When I looked at your site I noticed a misquote, or two, but that’s because you couldn’t hear exactly what Julie Driscoll was singing as she was going too fast to be clearly audible. I haven’t heard the soundtrack properly for a long time but my lyric is what Don used, as I’d fitted the words precisely to the music he sent me. I’ve got the full lyric here in it’s original form, but of course it may have been edited in the recording studio.

The final lyrics are very close to the original with mostly a few minor word changes in a couple of places, probably to enable the song to flow better at the faster speed. However this speed meant that bars 36 to 39 had to be edited down.

Original lyric –
I’m in space and could be spinning crazy,
Earthbound boys can stand aside,
Man I need I’ll meet in orbit,
Hold on tight and we would ride

And what appears to be used –
I’m in space and ... crazy Earthbound,
Stand aside of me ... In orbit,
Hold on tight and we shall ride

Thank you for taking the time to add to this Moon Zero Two webpage article.

I've looked at your website and I'm very impressed, your enthusiasm is a delight. I was glad you mentioned that bit about the sound effects/music. I remember Don Ellis telling me about the fun he had with that, I think he mentioned his plan to use a trombone to make the sound of a door opening.

I've managed to note a few things down but please remember that it's all 40 years ago and my memories are selective - and dodgy. I remember seeing the film at its press preview - Leicester Square I think - taking the morning off from my then office work.  And then again on ITV but it’s been quite a while. I’m looking forward to seeing it again.

Like you Gavin Lyall was a keen model maker, as was I, and we modelled and then photographed some of the scenes from the movie long before we submitted the script. I did some architectural model making in the 70s, including a model of the whole of the Piccadilly Circus area for the Westminster Council. These days I’m still a musician/songwriter- and currently publishing a collection of 15 of my latest songs/jazz numbers - but mainly spend my time as an oil-painter.

Martin's website, 'Martin Davison Art,' can be viewed - HERE

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Moon Zero Two Calender

Heres an item of merchandise that I found by chance on ebay recently, something that I'd never even heard of, so I was pretty amazed to see it appear.
It is a 1970 calender produced to advertise a company called AVON (a British manufacturing company 'with products ranging from tyres to hovercraft') who wished to celebrate the future challenges and excitment of the up coming Seventies. So they decided to photograph 'The Avon Girls on the Moon'.
So to do this they enlisted 'J.J. Hubbards' two lovely young companions, namely Simone Silvera and Amber Dean Smith, to pose in various costumes on the actual Moon Zero Two sets. This resulted in a calender featuring twelve very large (18" by 24" or 46cm by 61cm approx), and very lovely, pictures.
Concept & Photography credited to Philip O. Stearns in conjunction with Michael Carreras.

January - Amber Dean Smith

February - Simone Silvera

March - In Flight Deck of MZ2

April - Standing in the MZ2 Airlock

May - Posing on the Asteroid set

June - At Lunar Customs

July - In the lobby of the Moon Hotel

August - In Hubbards Celler Hotel Suite

September - Farside Five

October - Rentabug and Moonsuits

November - Wally's Igloo set

December - Mining site set

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Moon Zero Two Credits & Posters

Production

Director: Sir Roy Ward Baker
Producer & Screenplay: Michael Carreras
Story: Gavin Lyall, Frank Hardman & Martin Davison
Director of Photography: Paul Beeson B.S.C.
Art Director: Scott MacGregor, Assistant John Lague
Costume Design: Carl Toms
Asistant Director: Jack Martin
Construction Manager: Arthur Banks
Wardrobe Master: Larry Stewart
Makeup Artist: Ernest Taylor
Stunt Advisor: Bill Weston
Production Manager: Hugh Harlow
Editor: Spencer Reeve
Recording supervisor: A.W. Lumkin
Sound Mixer: Claude Hitchcock
Dubbing Mixer: Len Abbott
Sound Editor: Roy Hyde
Musical Supervisor: Philip Martell
Dancers: The Gojo's
Choreography: Jo Cook
Casting : Sue Whatmough
Hair stylist: Ivy Emmerton
Wigs: Leonard
Music: Don Ellis
Title song: Julie Driscoll
Lyrics: Martin Davison
Continuity: Josie Fulford
Camera operator: John Winbolt
Titles: Stokes Cartoons
Special Effects Created by: Les Bowie
SFX Photography: Nick Allder, Kit West
SFX assistants: Colin Chilvers, Peter Lawson
Neil Swan, Brian Johnson, Mike Tilley,
Terry Schubert, Wally Veevers.

Cast

James Olson ......... Capt. William H. Kemp
Catherine Schell ............. Clementine Taplin
Warren Mitchell .................... J.J. Hubbard
Adrienne Corri ............... Elizabeth Murphy
Ori Levy ..........................Dmitri Korminski
Dudley Foster ............................... Whitsun
Bernard Bresslaw ............................. Harry
Neil McCallum ....................Space Captain
Joby Blanshard ................................ Smith
Michael Ripper ................. 1st Card Player
Robert Tayman ............... 2nd Card Player
Sam Kydd ...................... Len, the bar man
Keith Bonnard ....... Junior Customs Officer
Leo Britt ............... Senior Customs Officer
Carol Cleveland ............................ Hostess
Roy Evans .................................... Worker
Tom Kempinski ....................... 2nd Officer
Lew Luton ................... Immigration Officer
Claire Shenstone .......... Female Hotel Clerk
Chrissie Shrimpton ........ Boutique Attendant
Amber Dean Smith ... Hubbard's Girl Friend
Simone Silvera .......... Hubbard's Girl Friend

Bar Dancers ...
Michelle Barry, Sue Baumann, Jane Cunningham
Irene Gorst, Sally Graham & Brenda Krippen

Athol Coats ............. Mercer (uncredited)
Tim Condren .... Yellow Man (uncredited)
Freddie Earlle ...... Little Man (uncredited)
Martin Grace ........ Red Man (uncredited)
Robert Lee ..Hotel Employee (uncredited)
Bill Weston ........ Green Man (uncredited)

Moon Zero Two Books & Films

Above left to right; the screenplay novelization by John Burke - the American Signet version & then the English Pan Book.

To my knowledge the film has never been made widely available to the public. Above right we have a rare 1980s Australian video release - I got this image from ebay about two years ago when the video started at 0.99p (and I had a bid on it) and reached a final price of 242.05p (where I didn't bid on it!). Someone was obviously desperate to see it - or was just some sort of mad collector.
Finally we have the recent (and only) 2008 DVD release by Warner Home Video, a double bill with 'When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth'. Currently this appears to have been pulled from release as it was given a children's rating but turns out that 'WDRTE' features a few topless women - I'm not complaining?

As yet there has not been a release of the full film score, although the possibility has been mentioned in the last few years. Currently only the title song is available on the 'Hammer Music Collection Vol 1'.

Oh, give me a home, a pressurized dome, In a crater thats way out in space...
Where the meteorite showers, Last for hours and hours, And your space-suit blows up in your face!
The moon miners song; unused lyric by Martin Davison

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All Film photographs Copyright Hammer Film Productions Ltd
Moon Zero Two Copyright Hammer Film Productions & Warner Bros-Seven Arts
No infringment of copyright is intended. This site is a non-profit making fan interest only.

* If you have any information on the production of Moon Zero Two then please contact me HERE