Once in a New Moon (1934) ** Talking Pictures

July 21st, 2020
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir-Scr: Anthony Kimmins/ Cast: Eliot Makeham, Rene Ray, Morton Selten, Wally Patch, Derrick de Marney, John Clements, Mary Hinton. Sci-fi/Fantasy. Fox British. 63 mins

Lurking on Talking Pictures at 6 in the morning is this extraordinary relic of the troubled 1930s (a front page briefly glimpsed during a montage bears the secondary headline ‘Nazi Terrorism in Europe’) in the form of this bizarre British hybrid of Duck Soup and Passport to Pimlico with a large ensemble cast (including a young Thorley Walters glimpsed in his film debut) headed by perennial ‘little man’ Eliot Makeham that anticipates the sort of thing that would soon become associated with the name of Frank Capra.

Much of it attractively shot on rural locations – with a noisy music score, Russian-style editing & directed with a restless camera by the always unpredictable Anthony Kimmins from a 1929 novel by Owen Rutter called ‘Lucky Star’ – the thing is fantasy rather than sci-fi as a tiny village called Shrimpton is blown into space precipitating civil war. There’s a lot of political talk but the suspiciously short running time of 63 minutes suggests substantial pruning before it was passed for exhibition. R Chatten

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