Voyage to the End of the Universe – Czechoslovakia, 1963, b/w, 35 mm, 84′
by Jindrich Polak
Script Stanislaw Lem (novel “Oblok Magellana”) Pavel Jurácek, Jindrich Polák – Cinematography Jan Kališ – Editing Josef Dobrichovský – Music Zdenek Liška – Cast Zdenek Štepánek, Radovan Lukavský, Dana Medrická, Miroslav Machácek, František Smolík – Production Vladimir Bor
Following on from his own children’s film Klaun Ferdinand a Raketa (1962) and, no doubt, from the Soviet success Planeta Burg (1962), Polak made this somewhat clinical account of an international group who leave their automated, 25th-century world in a spaceship, commanded by Abajev, in search of a “green” world according to the English version, a “white” world according to the original. They run into an abandoned spacecraft with the corpses of crew and passengers, dead for hundreds of years – an event repeated to more eerie effect in Alien (1979). The film is cool and detached, as if the characters and their world are seen from a totally uninvolved position. […] The US version of this Czech film, dubbed, cut to sixty-five minutes and titled Voyage to the End of the Universe, added a scene at the end of the film, possibly explaining why the English version mentions the search for a “green” planet instead of a “white” one: as the spacecraft nears its destination, the occupants look out and are made to see… the Statue of Liberty.