Cat-Women of the Moon (1953)

Cat Women

Directed by Arthur Hilton

Written by Roy Hamilton

Tagline: "Love starved Moon-maidens on the prowl!"

Run Time: 64 min

“You’re too smart for me, baby…I like ’em stupid.”
– Walt chatting up one of the Cat-Women

“Where there’s oxygen there’s life…and where there’s life there’s…death.”
– Kip


A popular film genre during the 1950’s and 1960’s was the "Amazon" film. The plot typically revolves around a group of men who discover a secluded society of women who have no apparent need of men. The "Amazon" society is often ruled by a dictatorial "Queen" with the power of life and death over her subjects, yet despite this overbearing totalitarian government, the women somehow consider themselves to be more "advanced" than the "primitive" culture of "men". Due to the fact that they are cut off from the opposite sex, Amazons usually have underdeveloped or nonexistent emotions, often with no idea what "love" means. The dashing men swoop into the Amazon society (usually taken prisoner in the process) and are typically sentenced to death by the jealous and possessive "Queen". At the last moment, one or more of the Amazon women fall in love with the men and betray their society in an effort to save their new found "mates". The Amazon Queen almost always die in the end (at the hands of the men), thus releasing her followers from their draconian existence and giving them the freedom to feel love and emotion for the first time.

Of course, the Amazon legend is based on legendary "lost tribes" of women in the Amazon river basin of South America, but why limit yourself to good old planet Earth? Why not an Amazon society in outer space? Why not the moon?

Yes, a race of Amazon women who speak English and live in underground caverns on the moon. How do they breathe? Well, an oxygen-rich, gold-filled cave of course (but watch out for the giant one-horned spiders…). Although we have no idea how the women got to the moon (OK, I assume they are not human, but then what are they?), how they procreate, and why the hell they are referred to as "Cat-Women", this film is a lot of fun if you like cheesy, naive ‘space’ movies.

Laird Larid Granger (Sonny Tufts)

The Captain of Moon Rocket Ship 4. Played by Sonny Tufts, who was born into a family of rich bankers. At this point in his career, Sonny went on to appear in "The Seven Year Itch" and "Cotton-Pickin’ Chickenpickers" before disappearing in drinking and scandal.

Kip Kip Reissner (Victor Jory)

Co-pilot of Rocket 4. The no-nonsense Co-Pilot had enough "sense" to take along a pistol on the mission to the moon (a useful weapon against both Cat-Women and giant spiders.)
Victor Jory has appeared in over 100 films, usually as the hard-boiled "bad guy". He occasionally appeared as a sympathetic hero, as in this film.

Helen Helen Salinger (Marie Windsor)

Ship’s navigator and unwilling tool of the Cat-Women. She is freed from the Cat-Women’s control long enough to inform the crew of the mortal dangers facing the Earth, and to confess her love for Kip.
Marie is also a Hollywood heavy-weight with nearly 80 films to her credit.

Doug Doug Smith (William Phipps)

Rocket-4’s radio operator who falls in love with one of the Cat-Women, namely Lambda.
William Phipps has appeared in over 80 films spanning nearly 5 decades (including the voice of Prince Charming in the 1950 production of "Cinderella").

Walt Walt Walters (Douglas Fowley)

Ship’s engineer and greedy entrepreneur. Walt wants to take home "moon water" to sell, but eventually meets his doom due in the gold-filled caves of the moon.

We open with an omniscient narrator:

The eternal wonders…of space, and time…the far away dreams and mysteries of other worlds…other life…the stars…the planets…Man has been face to face with them for centuries…yet is barely able to penetrate their unknown secrets… [As opposed to a ‘known secret’?]…sometime…someday…the barrier will be pierced…Why must we wait?…Why not now!?

Cut from the star field to a rocket blasting off into space, or maybe it’s flying through space…I don’t know, but boy is that puppy really moving!

Inside the ship, we see the crew strapped into ‘gravity beds’ (looks like some sort of garden recliner). They must be enduring the awesome accelerations involved during liftoff…and enduring them rather comfortably I would say. OK, maybe not so comfortably. We see them putting on ‘pained’ expressions and trying their best to convince us that they are in fact very uncomfortable. As the camera shows us the various crew members (including the delightful Marie Windsor, straining against the g-forces…), the ship continues to cruise deeper into space on its mission to the moon.

The tension is broken when the radio crackles with a message from White Sands Control. (White Sands is a really interesting place to visit in New Mexico if you’re ever there…seriously.) The urgent call is a "Code 63", and they want to know if there is any signs "of recognition" (?) (Just go with the flow.) I would think that the command center would at least wait until they were done accelerating before bugging them on the radio, but well, what do I know?

Cat WomenWhen the g-forces have subsided, the crew members jump out of their bunks in order to get to work. (The first guy to jump out of his bunk almost kicks over a big piece of equipment) Shaking off the effects of the lift off, they begin to busy themselves with ‘space work’ which includes, but is not limited to, twisting knobs and pushing buttons, while Helen busies herself by brushing her hair and putting on make-up! (God bless the 50’s!)

Mission Command continues trying to contact the ship, so Kip the co-pilot suggests just telling them that there’s nobody there "except us space people." (Uh, does that sound like something a professional astronaut would say?) The Captain asks Helen if the ship is still on course, to which Helen replies to the affirmative, but I don’t see how she can honestly say that since all she’s done since waking up is brush her hair.

Captain Laird reluctantly allows the crew to say a few words to the press over the radio. Kip says, "Watch out for that first step…it’s a pip!" (I have no idea what a ‘pip’ is in this context. Please don’t email and tell me either.) When it comes to Helen’s turn to speak, she pick up her microphone, gets a dazed look on her face, and mysteriously says, "Hello Alpha, we’re on our way…". (Hmmm, could there be a telepathic connection between Helen and the moon women? I hope I didn’t give anything away there.) The crew ignores this bizarre statement (because she’s a woman?) and the other crew members continue with their hello’s.

Out of nowhere, a meteor strikes the ship! Alarms go off and the actors obligingly shake in their chairs while the cameraman wiggles the camera back and forth. Disaster looms as the "heat radiation is going up fast" in the "atomic chamber". (Don’t you just hate when that happens?)

Somehow the meteor is stuck to the ship (Helen: "Can you shake it?" Kip: "Maybe the centrifugal force will dislodge it!") Laird dutifully ‘spins’ the ship in an effort to be rid of the meteor. (I never knew meteors could become ‘stuck’ to a spaceship, but then again I’m no astronaut) The ploy works and the crew is rewarded by begin chewed out by the Captain for not paying close enough attention to their work (?). Laird gives a special ass-chewing to Doug for not spotting the meteor in time to avoid the collision. (Which seems like misplaced anger since Doug is the radioman, but anyway…)

Cat WomenAt that time, Walt the engineer notices that atomic chamber #5 is leaking nitric acid (?) (Just go with the flow…) Laird orders water to be dumped into the chamber to neutralize the acid but the water lines are jammed. Kip dons a protective suit and heroically volunteers to go down into the chamber and unclog the line. This whole bit is made somewhat humorous because they just got chewed out by the Captain who said that the Mission Planners "have for seen all contingencies". Well, I guess a clogged water line was one contingency they overlooked, eh?

Kip climbs down into the, *ahem*, atomic chamber and neutralizes the acid, puts out a fire, and turns some valves. Not too bad for a co-pilot. (Actually shouldn’t Walt be doing this? He is the ship’s engineer after all…) Despite his protective suit, Kip is overcome by the fumes (every contingency, eh?!), and is carried back to his bunk to recover. (As pointed out in "Keep Watching the Skies!", the set in this scene was recycled from a submarine movie…complete with an all-too-visible periscope just behind Kip’s left shoulder!)

When Kip recovers, Helen sits on his bunk and chats with him. (Doesn’t she have any, like, navigating to do?) Kip says he’s alright and tells Helen to go talk to Laird instead since she "is his girl". (Uh, would they really put a Captain’s girl friend on the same ship? Well, it was the 50’s so anything goes I guess.) When Helen says that their relationship is strictly professional for the duration of the trip, Kip quickly jumps up and says, "You can’t turn love on and off like a faucet! Believe me baby, if I ever fell in love with you I’d shoot you across the world, around the moon, and all the way-stations in between!" Um. OK. Somebody better get this guy into a cold shower. He then dismisses Helen from his cot with a curt, "Go on, beat it!" before leaning back on his bunk. (God, these old sci-fi movies are great!)

Cat WomenHelen retreats to the comparatively friendly company of Captain Laird. As the ship makes it’s final approach to the moon, Laird takes the opportunity to ask Helen who "Alpha" is. Helen has no recollection of speaking to "Alpha" on the radio, so Laird chuckles and drops the issue by saying Helen probably "has a touch of space madness." (Yeah, and she is a woman, you know).

Moving right along now, the moon finally in sight, Laird maneuvers the ship into its final approach. To Laird’s surprise, Helen has already chosen a landing site, "A valley…on the dark side." (How in the world does Helen know anything about the dark side…it’s almost as if she’s receiving telepathic information from… oh! I get it!) Helen says she doesn’t know why it’s the perfect landing spot…she just knows it. (Well! That’s good enough for me!) Anyway, the valley is partially on the "bright side", so it should be ok. (You can figure all that out.)

Cat WomenAfter landing Kip mentions that a the first order of business should be a thorough check of the ship, especially since it was struck by a meteor. Helen brushes off the suggestion and instead says they should take a walk around the surface first and "make some findings! We’re on the moon, not a machine shop!" (Wow! The professionalism of this crew is amazing!) Helen wins the debate and the crew suits up.

After suiting up, a final check of the suits is made. (At which time Kip notices Helen has a pack of cigarettes (!) tucked into the outside pocket of her space suit. Helen: "I feel more at home carrying these.") Kip can’t laugh too much at her eccentric behavior for he has tucked a pistol (!) into his belt. (A pistol? What the hell do they expect to run into on the moon?) To further add to the absurdity, engineer Walt is taking along a box of pre-stamped letters (!) that he is going to "stamp" on the surface of the moon, thus hoping to sell them for "a couple of hundred bucks a piece" when he gets back to Earth! (I wonder if NASA allowed these kind of shenanigans on the Apollo missions…)

A funny little side note, you may notice that all the actors are yelling while wearing their suits, which is because they could hardly hear each other’s lines through the helmets! Great stuff!

Cat WomenOnce everybody is suited up and have readied their smokes, guns, and letters (for cripes sake!), they leave the ship and begin their jaunt on the surface. Laird takes the lead of course, and stomps around checking out the scenery while the others take turns descending down the side of ship on a little elevator. (I will give credit where credit is due and note that the paintings used for the background on the moon’s surface are fairly decent.)

Once they have all gathered on the surface, Helen suggests that they explore a cave on the side of the crater that she noticed when they were "settling in." Sure why not. It’s not like a moon mission would have any type of, you know, agenda or anything.

The brave astronauts line up and move out on Lairds command. After walking awhile, Kip notices a meteorite (accompanied by a loud screeching noise as it approaches) coming their way. He shots a warning, pulls out his pistol (???), and they all hit the dirt. The meteorite passes just a few feet over their heads (!) and crashes into the crater behind them. (Wow!) Seeing that the danger is over, Kip re-holsters his pistol and they move out.

After a few more minutes they finally reach the "dividing line" between the dark and bright sides of the moon. In order to demonstrate the differences in temperature, Laird takes a cigarette from Helen and tosses it onto the ground a few inches over the line. (If you look closely, you’ll see the "surface" is a linoleum floor!). The cigarette bursts into flame (!!) and is reduced to ashes in less than a second. (I guess somebody forgot to tell them that there’s no oxygen on the moon.)

With that rather improbable demonstration completed, the party moves out again and finally reaches the cave. At this point, Kip pulls Laird to the side and says that there was no way Helen could have seen the cave from the angle that they landed on. "What are you getting at?" queries Laird to which Kip replies, "I don’t know…but I guarantee it isn’t in the book!"

After confusing Laird as much as he confused me with that last statement, Kip rejoins the others and they enter the cave (Helen:"Let’s go in"…Laird:"We might as well!" Don’t they have anything to do on the moon? What the hell kind of mission is this?) Helen scurries into the cave ahead of the others forcing Laird and the crew to rush after her. Once they reach her deep in the cave’s interior, Laird looks around and makes a scientific conclusion: "It’s pretty weird!" Laird offers to turn back if Helen is tired, but she pushes onward…almost as if she’s being led somewhere…(bum! bum! bum!)

Cat WomenEventually Helen tires (complaining that her boots are too heavy!!!), and the party halts to take a rest. Kip looks around and notices moisture on the walls of the cave ("Impossible!" shouts Laird). Kip conjectures that maybe this is why it is so hard to walk: the gravitational pull has increased: "Could be why it’s so hard for us to walk! Where there’s atmosphere there’s got to be gravitational pull to hold it. Even I know that!" (Ummm…ok. I’m not even going to touch that one.)

To prove his point, Kip takes a match from Helen’s pack of cigarettes and lights it. Doug shouts "It’s burning!" (Thanks Einstein) and immediately removes his helmet. (Survival value = zero). The rest of the crew eagerly remove their cumbersome helmets (now they can stop freakin’ shouting every line too!) and look around. (Walt wants to bottle the air and take it back to sell on Earth!)

Nobody notes a mysterious shadow of a woman moving across the wall….

Satisfied that the air is breathable, they also realize that the cave they are in is a "natural decompression chamber" (?) and proceed to remove their space suits and stash them on top of some rocks! Helen notes that they must be near the end of the tunnel since "the air isn’t stuffy…it stands to reason that there must be an opening nearby." (Boy, it takes a lot of nerve to mention "reason" in this film!) Thankfully Kip retains his pistol (see Classic Lines) since the crew is now attacked by a screaming moon spider!

Cat Women

I bet you never knew these lived on the moon!

Yes, the giant moon spider, complete with 4 huge teeth and a big horn on top of its head (look closely at the picture above…) lowers itself (via clearly visible ropes) from the cave’s ceiling and attacks! As Helen runs in terror, the men grab the beast and stab it to death while it screams and writhes. (Most of the ‘writhing’ is caused by the actors getting caught in the wires attached to the spider’s legs.)

Cat WomenWhile the first spider is being dispatched, Helen is attacked by yet another spider! (Well, actually the same spider, just in a different scene.) Laird pulls Helen to safety as Kip fires a couple shots into the lunar arachnid and kills it.

Seeing that the moon might be a dangerous place after all, Kip and Walt head back to guard the spacesuits while Helen rests. (Laird and Doug decide to look around some more. Hmmm) While Helen lays down and recovers alone, a Cat-Woman walks up and touches Helen on the shoulder. Helen screams and the Cat-Woman disappears back into the shadows. Helen does notice that there is a glowing circle on the palm of her hand that wasn’t there before. (Cue mysterious music.)

Ok, I’m fairly sure I’m not giving anything away here when I say that the Cat Women have a telepathic link with Helen. But how was this established? Was it just because she was a woman in the vicinity of the moon? If you remember back, Helen was communicating with Alpha just after lift off. Does this mean that the Cat Women’s "connection distance" extends nearly the entire distance to the Earth? Does anybody else think about this stuff besides me?

Kip and Walt rush back to Helen after hearing her cries and breathlessly report that the space suits have been stolen! With no other option, the weary crew of Rocket-4 head deeper into the caves. (Much to Helen’s delight…muwuhahaha!)

Helen and the others eventually reach the cave’s exit..which opens onto a broad field with a city far in the distance. I suppose this city lies in a vast underground cavern, since they’re still breathing without their suits, then again, I can see what looks like clouds (?) in the sky, so I don’t really know what’s going on here.

Cat Women

Cat-Woman City

Somehow, the astronauts reach the city and make their way into the inside. They are now in a huge courtyard complete with massive sculptures and a Buddha statue (!!!???). Laird takes a gander at a urn standing on a pedestal and reaches his hand into the ashes contained therein. "Cold…I’d say there hasn’t been a fire lit in this place in many years", Laird comments. (Ok, Mr. Science.)

Meanwhile Doug and Walt find an urn ready for lighting and do so with the aid of one of Helen’s never-ending supply of matches. Kip, the only one with any common sense, reiterates that they have no space suits (Duh!) and starts calling out into the ruins for the thieves to come forth and make themselves known. (I have to agree with Kip, the others in the crew have really shown no concern for the fact that without their suits they are totally screwed!)

Cat WomenHelen and Doug go to "look around" (again) while Kip continues to yell and shout in vain. Suddenly Helen freezes in place and we see a pair of Cat-Woman eyes staring at the humans. Out of nowhere, a Cat-Woman jumps on Doug’s back and overpowers him while Helen sneaks off.

Doug’s cries for help are heard by Laird, Kip, and Walt who come running to his aid. The Cat-Woman releases Doug and hides somewhere. Upon realizing that Helen is missing, the men split up (Duh!!!) and are ambushed by a bunch of Cat-Women (It really doesn’t look so unpleasant to be honest.)

Firing a shot from his pistol, Kip scatters the Cat-Women, but Doug has managed to capture one. The others rush over to examine the catch…who promptly disappears!!! (Met by Kip’s acerbic remark to Laird: "Well…anything in the book about that, Professor!"…yeah, ever hear of subordination, Kip?)

We now return to Helen who has found her way to a group of Cat-Women (clad in black body suits and gold collars). The leader of the Cat-Women (CW from now on…), Alpha, greets Helen with a cordial, "It’s been a long journey Helen…welcome to the moon!" Alpha then goes on to introduce her executive officers, Zeta and Lambda.

Cat Women

"It’s been a long journey Helen…welcome to the moon!"

Alpha takes the dazed Helen to a sofa and boldly states, "You are now one of us…ask anything." (Apparently the requirements for Cat-Woman citizenship are rather lax…) As Helen and Alpha discuss the finer points of telepathic suggestion, Helen asks why she was chosen and not one of the others, a query that Zeta brusquely answers with, "We have no need of men!" (Amazons on the moon! I’m in love!)

Alpha continues with the tragic tale of the Cat-Woman race. You see, a long, long time ago, the moon was losing its atmosphere, and the CW decided "to conserve oxygen". This oxygen conservation meant one thing: "Maximum energy reduction! Planned genocide to reduce population!" (Just go with the flow.) Alpha confesses to Helen that the only hope of the CW was if a space ship would come to them so they could steal it and return to Earth. (Sounds good to me.)

Alpha suggests that if Helen would tell them the Earth men’s weaknesses, they can exploit them and learn how to fly the ship. Helen, under some sort of hypnotic control agrees to aid the CW in their efforts to steal the ship. ("It’s funny," Helen sighs, "I should care about them…but I don’t…")

Meanwhile, Laird and the others are awaiting Helen’s return back at the courtyard. Hearing a "sound", Kip jumps up, pulls his gun, and leads the others into a nearby room.

In the room, Kip and the crew are reunited with Helen and the Cat-Women. Helen tries to soothe the men by explaining that the CW are their friends and they have nothing to fear. (Kip: "You want to be our friends…then bring our space suits here and now!" Helen: "Don’t be a bore!") Alpha promises to return the space suits in the morning (is there a morning on the moon?), so the men settle in for the ‘night’ while the Cat-Women set out food and drinks for their visitors.

While Doug and Walt enjoy the hospitality of the CW, Kip keeps his distance and prefers to eat space rations instead of the meal offered by their hosts.

Cat Women Cat Women

Chilin’ with the Cat-Women

Doug makes some small talk with his attendant CW and asks where all their "men-folk" are. She replies that they all "died off when I was a child." Doug, Mr. Cool, smiles and says, "Gee! It’s a lucky thing we came along!" (Dude! Relax!) Doug and Lambda cuddle together while he describes what it’s like to drive to the beach and go swimming. Lambda looks at him and wistfully says how much she would like to go to a beach someday and drink a Coke. (Is this really happening? Am I dreaming this movie?)

Over in a cozy corner, Alpha is trying to pry information from Laird regarding the ship’s automatic pilot. Laird demurs, stating that it’s "restricted information" (what? turning on the auto-pilot?) and delicately tries to change the subject.

Meanwhile, Walt is asking Zeta if she has anything he could take home for a souvenir (!!!). She gives him her armband, and Walt says that they have something similar to them on Earth but they are often made of gold. Zeta laughs condescendingly and says, "gold..but it’s so common!…We don’t even bother to dig it." Apparently gold is as common as dirt on the moon, much to Walt’s delight. (How come NASA never said anything about that to us?)

The conniving Zeta offers to show Walt the gold-filled caverns and return the space suits if he takes her on board the ship. Walt, knowing that the Captain wouldn’t be to happy with that, makes Zeta promise not to mention it to Laird…and the deal is made.

While Walt sneaks away to fulfill his greed, Doug and Lambda are falling in love. He tells her of the times he would drive to the beach, while Lambda looks at him with star-filled eyes.

Alas, the dinner ends, Alpha and Laird toast to their respective people’s health, and Alpha dismisses the Cat-Women, promising to return the space suits in the morning. Kip, understandably irritated that the suits aren’t returned immediately (I must side with Kip…what’s the delay? The suits were stolen, they have every right to demand their return. That the others don’t seem to take the theft more seriously truly baffles me.)

Resigned to the fact that they will be spending the night, Kip suggests 2-hour guard shifts. (Kip is the only one with any common sense in this movie.) This suggestion is met by ridicule from the others.

The others finally notice that Walt is missing. Kip decides to get to the bottom of Helen’s strange behavior and storms off with her in tow. In the next room, Kip grabs Helen’s hand and inadvertently covers the glowing "moon symbol" on her hand, thus temporarily breaking the Cat-Women’s telepathic control. Free to speak, for the time, Helen confesses that the Cat-Women are planning to kill all the men and steal the space ship.

Cat WomenHelen takes this opportunity to confess to Kip that she’s always liked him more than Laird. (Now that they have finished talking about the evil Cat-Women planning to kill them, they might as well talk about love.) The two embrace (Helen: "Hold me tight!"…Kip: "You’re dog-gone right I will!"), and Kip plants a fat kiss on her mouth.

As you can see from the picture, Kip unknowingly releases Helen’s hand and the Cat-Women regain a limited control over Helen via the exposed dot on her hand. Helen volunteers to tell Laird of her love for Kip when the time is right (aren’t there more important things to deal with?), and everybody settles in for the night.

Meanwhile, Walt and Zeta have made their way back to the space ship where Walt has finished explaining the use of the automatic pilot system. Impressed by Zeta’s quick understanding of the complex controls, Walt ‘complements’ her by saying, "You’re too smart for me, babe…I like ’em stupid." (Look out, Romeo! Here comes Walt!) Having kept his part of the bargain, Walt impatiently asks Zeta to take him to the gold-filled caves as she promised. With a devious grin, Zeta agrees and they suit up and leave the ship.

Cat WomenBack in Cat-Woman City, the CW are performing a dance. No, that’s not a typo…a group of them are dancing around to some sort of ‘groovy’ bachelor pad music. (Since everybody is sleeping, I’m not sure who the performance is targeted for…maybe Cat-Women just like to dance.)

All the commotion happens to wake up Doug, who groggily rises from his bed and goes out to see what’s going on. He watches from a distance as the Cat-Women parade around the floor until his gaze falls upon Lambda, who is busy sending him googly-eyes from across the room. Doug and Lambda exchange glances, embrace, and start making out. Lambda then leads Doug to a different room (vaa-vaa-voom!) while Kip watches from the sleeping room.

Seeing Doug slip away with Lambda, Kip wakes up Helen and tells her what’s taking place. (Why?) She suggests that Kip follow along just to make sure Doug is OK (Helen: "Lambda is the dangerous one!"…Kip: "What! That kid?") Kip relents and tip-toes out of the room in order to ensure that Doug does not fall victim to Lambda’s treacherous ways.

Back in the caves, Zeta has kept her part of the bargain and has led Walt to the gold. While Walt stares in disbelief at the vast amount of precious metal lining the walls of the cavern, Zeta sneaks up behind him and sinks a knife into his back. (Bad Cat-Woman! Bad!)

Cat WomenWhile Walt meets his death in the dark caverns of the moon, Doug and Lambda are smooching by some rocks on the outside of the city. (The backdrop in this scene is a picture of Monument Valley, Arizona!!!)

OK, I just need a minute to think about this. Supposedly, the Cat-Women live in a city deep under the surface of the moon where there is still oxygen present. (Remember the cave acts as a "natural decompression chamber", whatever the hell that means.) So, if this all happens underground, how can Doug and Lambda be sitting in front of a sunset? And where do the clouds come from? Not to rag on this poor, naive film, but hey, that’s my job, you know?)

Overcome by her love for Doug, Lambda betrays the Cat-Women and tells Doug (sort of) what she and the others are planning to do. She tells Doug that he needs to leave the city for his own safety. Sadly, he agrees but promises to come back someday and meet her again.

Lambda makes her way back to Alpha and Zeta and exclaims that she won’t have any part of the Cat-Women’s sinister plans to rule the Earth. (Don’t ask. Ok, fine. Alpha intends to return to Earth with 4 Cat-Women, gain control of the Earth women, and rule the world. Aren’t you sorry you asked?) Needless to say, Lambda’s treachery is met with scorn from Alpha and Zeta, who mock her for falling in love with Doug. Lambda further states that she knows something the others don’t, which will make flying the rocket impossible without her help. (She’s bluffing, just so you don’t worry too much.) Refusing to divulge the secret, Lambda receives a smack on the face from Alpha, and storms off in stony silence. (I was really hoping for a cat-fight, but oh well. And yes, the pun was intended.)

Hang in there, the end is in sight.

Doug rushes back and tells Kip what the Cat-Women are up to. Kip, of course, is already aware of the plans from his previous chat with Helen, but it suddenly hits him that Helen is back under the Cat-Women’s control, and is getting information from Laird in the other room. (Alpha is then receiving what Laird says about the ship via telepathy.) Kip rushes into the room and finally discovers that if he can cover the moon-symbol on Helen’s hand, she will be freed of the Cat-Women’s mind control. (Are you following all this?)

Kip forcefully grabs her hand and covers the moon mark, breaking the spell. Doug and Laird watch in amazement as Kip rattles off 3 quick questions to the dazed Helen.

1) Are you in love with Laird? (No)

2) Have you been bleeding him for information to pass on to Alpha? (Yes)

3) Who do you really love? (Kip)

Well, at least he has priorities straight regarding the line of questioning:Two questions trying to get to the bottom of Helen’s affections, and one question regarding the fate of the Earth.

Laird doesn’t get pissed because Helen has betrayed the Earth to the Cat-Women, but he does slug Kip for stealing his girl. As Laird and Kip duke it out, Helen falls back under Alpha’s spell and sneaks away to lead the Cat-Women to the ship. In an effort to buy some time so the men can catch up with Helen and the others, Lambda teleports herself into the caves and intercepts Helen and the wily Cat-Women.. (Why can’t the Cat-Women just teleport themselves onto the ship? Why not teleport themselves directly to Earth?) Lambda tries to stop Alpha, Zeta, and Helen, but Zeta kills her by bashing her head with a moon rock.

Just then Doug and Kip come running up and see Lambda laying motionless on the floor. Doug goes to her limp form and kisses her, while Kip runs forward shooting wildly in the direction of the women. As Doug cradles the lifeless Lambda in his arms, Kip suddenly calls out "The Cat-Women are dead! Helen’s all right!" (The killing of the Cat-Women happens off screen of course, so, gee, thanks for not letting us see the climax of the film!)

Safely back aboard the ship, Laird and the crew (sans the greedy Walter) prepare to return home. A dejected and heart-broken Doug radios mission control to let them know they’ll be returning.

Doug: "Moon Rocket Four…calling White Sands."

Mission Control: "What? Who?" (!!!)

Wow…great job Mission Control. Exactly how many moon rockets are there? One?

Cat WomenAnyway, the crew buckles their seat belts on their office chairs, and Rocket Ship 4 takes off (never mind that the number "53" is painted on the ship.)

As the ship lifts off, mission control asks what happened…to which Doug replies, "That will be a long story."

Yes…

A long story indeed.

Dennis Grisbeck (May 2005)

Afterthoughts

It’s hard to know where to start. This film is pretty bad. The naivety regarding space travel (sticky meteors), and lunar conditions ("natural decompression chamber") are breathtaking. The dialog is most often corny and occasionally downright incomprehensible (Zeta to Helen: "Remember, our generation predates yours by centuries!"…huh?) I certainly don’t need to reiterate how bad the special effects were, do I? In fact, I dug up a bit of an interview with William Phipps, who played Doug (the radio operator). Apparently William was also not too excited about the quality of the special effects:
"When I saw that spaceship set, I thought I was workin’ for Soupy Sales! And that giant spider! They held it up with big ropes above us on the cave set and dropped it down on our heads. At the time, I thought it was the most outrageous, absurd thing in the world – how did spiders get on the Moon?! It was all just incredible. I thought, ‘How can anybody put this in a movie? It’s gonna ruin it!’"But you know what? "Cat-Women of the Moon" is a lot of fun! Really, you won’t find a heck of a lot of films featuring a gun-toting space crew (who also take cigarettes with them while exploring the lunar surface), who fly to the moon to discover gold-filled caves, one-horned screaming giant spiders, and the inexplicably named stars of the film, "Cat-Women".

Interestingly enough, this film was originally filmed in 3-D (!). I can’t help but think that these 3-D effects were more than a little disappointing since most of the action sequences move across the screen rather than ‘toward’ the viewer (except for the sparkling meteor that almost hits them while they are walking on the moon…the meteor that has sparks go back into it in reverse once it ‘flies’ overhead.)
Don’t judge a book by it’s cover! Have a beer or 2 (or 3…) and check this film out. Better, have a "Space Matriarchy" Double Feature along with Devil Girl From Mars and make an evening of it!

Read more about Cat-Women of the Moon at

IMDB

7 comments to Cat-Women of the Moon (1953)

  • guts3d

    I gotta find this one in my sci-fi collection and watch it. Was this a MST3K episode?

  • No it wasn’t. But it is public domain now, so search around and find it 🙂

  • guts3d

    natural decompression chamber??? I guess nature looks out for stupid space farers…

  • Guts3d

    Shaking off the effects of the lift off, they begin to busy themselves with ‘space work’ which includes, but is not limited to, twisting knobs and pushing buttons, while Helen busies herself by brushing her hair and putting on make-up! (God bless the 50′s!)

    I so love old Sci-fi movies that have a million dollars worth of lights and dials that no one ever seems to watch…

  • Guts3d

    To further add to the absurdity, engineer Walt is taking along a box of pre-stamped letters (!) that he is going to “stamp” on the surface of the moon, thus hoping to sell them for “a couple of hundred bucks a piece” when he gets back to Earth! (I wonder if NASA allowed these kind of shenanigans on the Apollo missions…)

    Actually, this is reminiscent of a novel by Robert A. Heinlein “The Man who Sold the Moon” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Man_Who_Sold_the_Moon)

    I am a big Heinlein buff!

  • dpartlow

    I read somewhere that one of the scenes in the movie that purports to show the stars in space from the surface of the moon was created by mounting over 2,000 auto headlights in a black background. A LOT of work. How many car batteries do you suppose that took?

  • guts3d

    …I read somewhere that one of the scenes in the movie that purports to show the stars in space from the surface of the moon was created by mounting over 2,000 auto headlights in a black background. A LOT of work. How many car batteries do you suppose that took?

    Yikes! I cannot imagine why they would choose car headlights over normal electrical lights used to film with. Just take a black sheet, punch a few holes in it, and Voila!

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