“Be careful, Mind your weightless!”

In 1946, the Soviet Union has been doing some experimenting with sending test animals into outer space. The results have not been promising. Professor Sedikh still believes that man can and will explore space soon. He has been working with Captain Viktor Orlov on a space ship that will do just that. Sedikh’s assistant Professor Marina and Viktor’s kid brother Andryusha are on his side. Professor Karin believes that Sedikh is too old to stand the rigors of space travel and is trying to prevent the professor from going into space by denouncing him as insane.

Viktor is supposed to go as well but he believes Professor Karin’s hype and is concerned about Sedikh’s mental state. Sedikh will not be deterred and with Marina and Andryusha’s help, all three defy Karin’s directive and take off in the rocket ship to the moon.

After a successful flight they make their landing on the Moon. Sedikh plants a flag and the three do a little exploring. The professor has planned on sending a signal to the Earth to let them know the ship safely landed. They find, however, that they landed on the dark side of the Moon.

They jump from where they are over to where they can see the Earth from the Moon. Their mission to send the signal and return to Earth is threatened when they run low on oxygen and Professor Sedikh becomes trapped in a land slide.

“Cosmic Journey” AKA “Cosmic Voyage” was released in 1936 and was directed by Vasili Zhuravlov. In 1950 the big thing in cinema was George Pal’s science fiction movie “Destination Moon”. It was branded as the first major science fiction movie that dealt with the realities and challenges of space travel. Perhaps that is true, but the Russians did it in 1936 with the silent film “Cosmic Journey”.

Heralded as a film that followed the science, it lived up to its hype. Many known facts of space travel were depicted in the film. Konstantin Eduardovich Tsiolkovsky volunteered as a consultant on the film. Tsiolkovsky was a Russian and Soviet rocket scientist and pioneer of the astronautic theory. Tsiolkovsky had several requirements that the film had to follow. Details like weightlessness in space and low gravity on the moon needed to be depicted. Reentry via a parachute was also a must.

Of course there were also things that were a little more out of the realm of the probable. Frozen Moon air for one. The ability for a boy and his youth group to have access to the rocket so that Andryusha can jump on at the last minute. Being able to steal the rocket in the first place. But these are minor things that just move the plot along.

The Special effects were actually decent for 1936. The stop motion clay figures on the Moon were kinda obvious but, oh well.

Virtually unknown in the West until the fall of the Soviet Union “Cosmic Journey” Is a well done Soviet film, but then a lot of Soviet science fiction films were done well, all the way up through the mid sixties.

There are two versions available. The regular Russian version with original sound track and the American version with English subtitles. The sound track on the American film is classical whereas the scoring on the Russian version is more of a thirties view of what futuristic music would sound like.

Even though the film is basically propaganda to get the Youth Movement interested in space exploration it’s still a fun, entertaining film. It’s also in decent shape although a little restoration would make it shine.

American subtitled

Russian version