Cat-Women of the Moon (1953) – Friday Night At The Home Drive-In

Poster for Cat-Women of the Moon (1953)Cat-Women of the Moon (1953) by #ArthurHilton
#SonnyTufts #VictorJory #MarieWindsor #SusanMorrow

Astronauts travel to the moon where they discover it is inhabited by attractive young women in black tights.

“They’re fiery…fearless…ferocious!”

“You’ve never seen anything like it.”

#Adventure #SciFi

Back in January, I wrote about a movie called Missile to the Moon (1958). I didn’t know it at the time, but it was basically a remake of Cat-Women of the Moon (1953), the movie I’m here to talk about today. I loved Missile to the Moon, and when I found out that Cat-Women of the Moon was an earlier version of it, I knew I had to track it down and watch it. The only question was, would it live up to the high standard set by the second film?

Hold upon a minute – what this all about?

The first third of Cat-Women of the Moon is dedicated to a group of astronauts travelling from Earth to the moon. I noticed right away that there were quite a few of them – more than any real moon mission has ever had (I think). Of course this is years before the first moon landing, so it’s a totally speculative story…

As often seems to be the case in 1950s science fiction movies, there is one woman on the crew – Helen Salinger, played by Marie Windsor – and she seems to be dating one of the men in the crew. She is also the navigator.

The first act ends with the astronauts landing on the dark side of the moon, as suggested by Helen, who somehow knows it’s a good place to land – even though no one has ever been able to see this part of the moon. In fact, Helen has been acting strangely for a while, and we get the idea that she may be somehow psychically plugged in to some other (alien?) intelligence.

Helen ultimately leads the men to some sort of city or Palace where someone is clearly living. It turns out to be a society of women wearing black leotards, The leader is named Alpha, and it is obvious that she has been in contact with Helen this whole time. She tells Helen, “We have no use for men.”

Or do they?

The men are invited to a bit of a tea party. The cat women all try in their own way to seduce the men into teaching them about how to operate their rocket ship. The men for the most part avoid giving anything up. A crew member named Walt, who is very greedy, makes a deal with one of the women who promises to show him a cave full of gold in exchange for him taking her onto the ship.

What else happens?

There seems to be some sort of interpretive dance scene, and all of the cat women participate.  A crew member named Doug and one of the cat-women named Lambda seem to fall in love — which is exactly what happens in Missile to the Moon, as I recall.

So Cat-Women of the Moon is the same as Missile to the Moon?

Missile to the Moon is definitely a remake of Cat-Women of the Moon. I can’t really say that one is better than the other. They’re both good – and each one has unique qualities that make it worth watching. In some ways, I think the remake is slightly more fully realized than the original. But there is still something absolutely charming about this one. The matching black leotards are quite something. And the main storyline of Helen being under the spell of Alpha is great.

So what’s the verdict for Cat-Women of the Moon?

Cat-Women of the Moon (1953) is undoubtedly #NotQuiteClassicCinema. One of the best moments to illustrate this is right near the end (SPOILER ALERT). The climactic battle basically takes place off screen, and then a voice shouts out that the cat women are all dead – but Helen is all right. It’s a fairly anti-climactic and yet somehow totally awesome way to end this movie.

I have a soft spot for women living on a planet (or moon) movies, so perhaps I’m biased. But I think that Cat-Women of the Moon is an entertaining good time. At 64 minutes, it manages to leave you wanting more. And I can say without a doubt that I would be happy to watch it on any #FridayNightAtTheHomeDriveIn.

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