First Men in the Moon (1964) was based on the H.G. Wells book of the same name and is a rollicking adventure graced with beautiful sets and the special effect magic of legendary stop-motion animator Ray Harryhausen.
As man was already racing to the moon in real life, the film opens with astronauts landing on the lunar surface only to discover a British flag and declaration that the moon has been already been claimed in the name of Queen Victoria.
Investigators track down the last surviving member of the Victorian crew, 90-some-year-old Arnold Bedford (Edward Judd). Bedford tells the story of how he, his girlfriend Katherine Callender (Marthat Hyer) and inventor Joseph Cavor (Lionel Jeffries) reached the moon in 1899 in a sphere-shaped craft painted with Cavor's anti-gravity paste.
Once on the moon, they encounter the Selenites, a race of ant-like creatures who live in crystal caverns and take the bold explorers captive. But ultimately, man's presence spells diaster for the ill-fated moon bugs.
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