Nude on the Moon (1961)

Before we start, I have to explain.

As I look for movies that feature matriarchial societies, it seems like so many of them end up being straight-up male gaze fuelled fantasies. Or so you’d think, because while this movie was made by Anthony Brooks and O.O. Miller, only one of those names belongs to a man.

Brooks may have been Raymond Phelan (the writer, director, editor and one of the main actors of Too Young, Too Immoral), but Miller is really Doris Wishman, who Joe Bob Briggs referred to as “The greatest female exploitation film director in history.” From a series of nudist colony movies to movies with incredible names like Bad Girls Go to HellSatan Was a Lady and Let Me Die a Woman, as well as A Night to Dismember and two Eurospy films (Deadly Weapons and Double Agent 73) starring all 73-inches of the woman with the largest bust on record, Chesty Morgan.

The truth is, this movie does introduce us to a female-run society on the moon, which for some reason is the occult-created Coral Castle near Miami, but they’re all topless. Yet like many of the nudist films of the early 60’s, this comes off as quite innocent. And unlike so many of them, this movie isn’t boring.

Dr. Jeff Huntley (Lester Brown in his one and only role) has inherited millions in his uncle’s will and is finally going to the moon with his mentor, Professor Nichols (William Mayer, who shows up as in several of these movies, like Blaze Starr Goes Nudist, which was not much of a life change).

Nichols sees Huntley like a son and worries about how dangerous the moon will be. He’s old, so he’s ready to die. But he wants Huntley to live and find a wife. After all, their secretary Cathy (Marietta) is in love with him and he doesn’t see it or doesn’t care. All he wants to do is go to the moon.

They get there, wearing brightly colored spacesuits with plenty of spaces for the lack of environment on the lunar surface to kill them. But instead, you know, they end up at Coral Castle and meet an entire planet of clothing-free ladies who are led by a Moon Queen (also Marietta) who uses her psychic powers — or maybe Dr. Jeff has never seen breasts before in person — to make our young moon-obsessed friend get obsessed over her mountain peaks.

Perhaps this explains why Jack Parsons blew himself up after falling so hard for Marjorie Cameron. I mean, you become besotten with one literal Whore of Babylon and you lose your security clearance but still get a peak on the dark side of the Moon named after you.

But I digress.

For two guys who planned a trip to the moon for years, they didn’t bring enough oxygen and also leave their camera behind, so no one will believe them that the lunar surface looks more like the aforementioned Blaze Starr’s 2 O’Clock Club.

It all works out, because that’s when the hood doctor discovers that his secretary — who he’s been ignoring forever, who sits and types the same letter all night long hoping that he will notice her — looks just like the Moon Queen. They embrace, the camera dollys back to give them some privacy and then the Professor walks in on them and just looks on approvingly. He just stands there and watches and smiles to the camera.

Keep an eye out for Shelby Livingston, who just three short years later would be chopped to pieces –just a few towns away in Kissimmee, Florida — in Two Thousand Maniacs! Lacey Kelly, who was in Bunny Yeager’s Nude Camera and Common Law Wife, is also on the Moon.

There’s also a moment where the two space-loving men discuss Dr. Jeff going to a movie, as they drive past the Variety Theater, which is showing Wishman’s Hideout in the Sun. Did Dr. Jeff recognize Pat Reilly when he also saw her up there in space?

This movie also has its own theme song, which is pretty cool when you think about it. “I’m Mooning Over You (My Little Moon Doll),” which was warbled by Ralph Young over orchestration that had been arranged by — but not credited to —  Doc Severinsen.

While not the most feminist leaning film ever, we can still point to the fact that the Moon Queen does rule her planet and you know, if you can breathe the lack of air on the lunar surface — to be fair, at the end the scientists have no idea where they’ve really come back from — you can forget puritanical mumbo jumbo and just walk around unencumbered.

After all, it worked for Blaze Starr, who was smart enough to get 4% of the profits for the 1984 movies about her life, Blaze.

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