|Moon Zero Part Two : Film Review Photo Feature ...
Moon Zero Two Copyright Hammer Film Productions & Warner Bros-Seven Arts..
When Bill returns to
Moon City he heads straight to the bar where he again
tries to buy his favourite drink, but this time finds out
that it's 'Wild West Week' and all he can have is a
'Buffalo Stampede' - which is actually still just
distilled rocket fuel! Here he finds a very worried
Clementine drinking alone with her brother no-where in
sight. She explains that nobody has actually seen her
brother for several months and unless he can register his
recent mineral claim he will loose his mining site and
all of his money within the next two days.
Clem asks if she can get a trip in Bill's ship to the mining site on the far side of the Moon and Kemp agrees - he's in a good mood as he's about to become rich. However Hubbard's henchman, Harry, intervenes to stop him and a low-gravity bar room brawl breaks out.
the fight scene the artificial gravity control is
switched off - however Clem's drink should still not
float in normal Moon gravity.
Moon Zero Two .......... Soon take the sky
.............Moon Zero Two ............ Moon we can fly
..................SOLO: Ohh take me soon .............. Riding to the Moon ..............Goner be there - Soon...
As the police move
in to arrest all the trouble-makers Bill grabs Clem and
runs for his ship.
Below; a nice down-angle shot for the launch sequence (my favourite shot of the movie) - that also has the benefit of hiding the models support pole..
|The main MZ2 model was only about 2 feet high, featured a motorised rotating radar dish and gas piping to the main engine and small thrusters, to simulate a rocket effect. The four legs had telescopic moving struts to give the illusion of absorbing the impact of landing. These legs look like the same set up as the real-life Lunar Module, but those were a one-shot design that actually collapsed on landing, to prevent the danger of bouncing in the Moon's low gravity.
|Described as the
first 'Moon Western' this film includes many nods to that
genre, including the design of this supply depot. Here
the glass dome building apparently has the wooden front
of a western style saloon bar!
a quick 20-minute orbit Moon Zero Two touch's down at
Farside Five, the closest safe landing site to her
brothers claim. Unfortunately it will still take another
24-hour trip in a Moon Bug to get out to the mine. The
supply base supervisor is not very helpful or too
interested in Clem's Brother, fortunately Bill still has
enough money left on his credit card to hire a Moon Bug
and off they set, out into the dark forbidding Moonscape.
|The Moon Bug was
built both in miniature and as a rather impressive
full-size working prop, with the two cutting together
rather well with little to tell them apart except speed,
the model moved slowly whilst the full-size prop moved
Below left; Special Effects Director Les Bowie operating the model Bug. Below Right; the full-scale working prop outside Bowie Films studio.
|Below; views of the model Bug-Dozer without it's scoop.
We'll love the world we land on,
And love is what we'll be making.....
After a long but
uneventful journey they arrive at the mining site, only
to find her brother's igloo and Bug-Dozer empty - and no
response to their radio calls?
director Roy Ward Baker is looking over Olsons
shoulder at a copy of CINEMA magazine.
What appears to be a
simple case of bad luck, on the dangerous Moon surface,
soon looks like murder - as a group of gunmen make their
Above right; one of the bad guys (stuntman Martin Grace) is prepared for his explosive death scene.
There are a couple of slip-ups in this action sequence.
Bill somehow 'hears' the gunshot of the man on the rocks
above him, which is impossible in the air-less vacuum of
space. Upon being shot the villain dies as his suit
looses all its air - and somehow it's occupant!
|.After the shootout leaves their vehicle
completely wrecked Bill and Clem have to drive the
damaged Bug-Dozer back to Farside Five.
Below left; An SFX outake, a Bug-Dozer shot cut from the final film.
The Bug Shoot
Moon Bug shots are done rather well, although the model
bug really needs to be a bigger scale for the close-up
*Oops! The wire that pulls the model up the rock slope can occasionally be seen.
centre; standing at the back Brian Johnson (Space 1999/Alien/Aliens)
"We did the radio-controlled buggy and we had the full size one too. We were able to use them in the same shot with the big one driving along and passing behind an outcrop of rocks and then the model coming out the other side, which looked like it was going off miles in the distance."
(That is when it heads back to Farside Five. The same effect is used earlier in the film when they first arrive at the mining site - then the camera pans from a foreground miniature landscape with the Bug-Dozer model to then show the full-scale vehicle approaching, which is a really nice effect and helps to make the small studio set appear much larger than it actually is.)
"Les Bowie made sure that the effects were good because that was Les, even though the film was pretty awful. He was a master. He took pride in his work more than being worried about making money. That was what the guy was like."
You know the way, we're flying,
me and you...........
across the Moon surface, which is now subjected to the
full glare of the hot Sun, the damaged Bug starts to
overheat and then catch fire.
Above Right; Out-of-line special effect shot to clearly show the combination of a foreground landscape (with model Bug) at the top and a live-action section of Moonscape below. With careful positioning and lighting the two blend together quite well, then explosions on the model and full size set were timed to go off simultaneously, with flying debris thrown onto the set and an additional explosive optical overlay to cover the join.
Below; Stunt people doubling for the lead actors run across the set and hide from the explosion.
|Safely back at Farside Five they find
Bill's girlfriend, Liz Murphy, waiting to
arrest them for the earlier bar fight
* Question, how did she get there, and why bother?
Before she can moan too much Bill quickly explains that Wally Taplin has been murdered - and then with a clever bluff forces the hapless supervisor to confess to killing him with poisoned air tanks.
* We never hear this mans name, even in the novel he is only called the trading post 'Supervisor', however according to the end credits he's actually called Smith.
But why did he do it? Suddenly Kemp realises Hubbards full plans for the asteroid, but too late........
|.........as Hubbard and
his henchmen arrive and Liz is shot dead.
Question, how did they manage to drive there in two and a bit days? In the book Hubbard explains that, like the police, he could hire a fast Bug and driver, although it's still hard to believe that anyone could drive half-way round the rough Moon surface in such a short time. Also in the final shooting script and book Liz manages to kill 'Jeff' before Harry shoots her. Jeff was a twin 'thug' to Harry and was involved in the earlier bar fight, his character was not used in the film and his lines are spoken by Harry.
No more dry life .....CHORUS: Space is...
SOLO: I need the high life ... CHORUS: Space is wide....
With Harry holding a gun to Clem's head Bill is forced to fly them back to the asteroid for its final course correction. This will make the asteroid now land on the dead Wally Taplin's mining site - which will then be transferred into Hubbard's ownership, making him the richest man who ever lived!
(2008) Catherine Schell is reunited with the chest-piece of her old spacesuit.
Catherine - 'We were specially measured for the suits, I remember going to a workshop that smelt very heavily of fibreglass chemicals. The suits were very well made, but we all joked on set about the plastic bits on the front - that looked rather like nipples!'
Director Sir Roy Ward Baker reads the 'Moon City News'
This was part of
the publicity package given out by the film company. It
details events happening in the movie as news items -
dateline December 10th 2021.
SOLO: Starshine - Glowing ............. Love is - Growing ............. I Don't need - I don't need showing
Clem uses a private phonewire connection to talk to
Dimtri who is chained up, she then has to cut him free
with a buzz-saw.
Below; The Asteroid set being constructed - the lower deck and hatch of the Moon Zero Two can be seen on the right.
On the Sapphire asteroid Hubbard relaxes in the knowledge that he's just made his biggest profit of his life - and the future of the Solar System is in his grasp. Unfortunately Clem manages to activate the spaceships controls and then a gunfight takes place. As dead men, in burst spacesuits, spin off into the blackness of deep space Bill, Dimtri and Clem get the upper hand, leaving Hubbard and Whitsun on a one way trip to the Lunar surface... and destruction.
Whilst the characters often remove their space helmets
during the course of film this was actually impossible
without the help of an assistant (with a screwdriver!),
as the metal ring around the helmets base is used to lock
it securely to the rubber collar.
|CHORUS: Space is wide open .................. Space is wide ........................... Space is wide open
|A happy ending as the trio fly back
to Moon City.
Although Bill's long-time girlfriend has only just been brutally gunned down in front of him (and then died in his arms) he wastes no time in chatting up the very young, lovely, and now very rich Miss Taplin. I like his style!
Moon Zero Two is certainly different to most other science fiction films and is generally well made for its time. However trying to do a proper space epic on a Hammer budget has been described as impossible, but it was a very fine attempt.
When you consider the cartoon opening
credits, the plot to grab a giant jewel, the slightly
jokey style, the use of comedy actors in the villains
roles, a lead man who can hardly be described as
handsome, and various other faults this film should be
classed as just 1960s camp nonsense. Yet when compared
with the more usual sci-fi films, featuring Buck Rogers
style heroes, or superheroes with special powers, laser
gun fights, massive spaceship battles, aliens,
brain-sucking monsters, timewarps and the like, then
suddenly it begins to look almost normal, and God-forbid
even a serious attempt at science fiction!
I have only ever viewed this film on a television screen and here the sets and effects look very good. Wires show up on only three occasions, and hardly ever on all the spacewalk sequences, and the studio limitations are only obvious on the full size moonscape mining set. How the films quality stood up to being projected on a big cinema screen is unknown to me, but as TV fair it's better than a lot of the rubbish that's out there.
Unseen on British terrestrial television for many years it has recently been showing up on Sky TV using nice new prints cropped for the 16:9 widescreen format and even better it's now out on DVD. Catch it if you can, it's an oddball Sci-Fi gem.
No more dry.... life, Need the high.... life,
Music: Don Ellis ..... Lyrics: Martin Davison .....Vocals: Julie Driscoll