Aelita (1924)

So Mother Russia, what do you have in store for me with this offering from 1924 as presented in 101 Sci-Fi Movies…

There’s love, murder, jealousy, conspiracy, inter-planetary travel, the red-tape of bureaucracy, revolution and socialist propaganda.

Sadly, I just made the film sound more exciting than I actually found it.

The story follows Los (Nikolai Tsereteli) who is a bit of a dreamer, and wants to travel to Mars after Earth receives a transmission from the red planet. There is a queen there, Aelita (Yuliya Solntseva), who has fallen in love with the earthman while she watches him on from afar.

Accused of murdering his wife, who he believes is having an affair, he disguises himself as a rocket scientist and oversees the construction of a ship to take him away from all of his troubles.

Unfortunately, on arriving on Mars, which has some interestingly designed sets, cityscapes and costume design (I like the guard/militia uniforms with the lasers on their elbows).

He and his cohorts find themselves amongst the planet’s workers and encourage them to rise up, and form the Socialist Republic of Mars. Aelita, the planet’s queen, who rules in name only, agrees to help the movement, but in the end, simply uses it to oust the current rulers from power and seize control for herself.

Los, brokenhearted twice in one film, kills Aelita to save the people and give them rule of the planet.

We find out though, when he and his crew return to earth, or wake from the dream that is Mars, that his wife isn’t dead, and we are afforded a happy Hollywood ending (in Russia!) as lovers are united, justice is served to the actual villains, and Mars is truly a Red planet.

Sadly the film wasn’t what I wanted, and honestly, for a film that clocks in at almost 90 minutes, it felt like it took forever for Los and his bunch to get to Mars.

Still, we are only at the beginning of this book, and I know there some amazing films coming my way, and a lot that I will be revisiting.

Stay tuned!

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