Today is the 50th anniversary of the launch of the first woman to orbit the earth, Valentina Tereshkova, aboard Vostok 6.
I wrote an answer to James Nicoll, who in his blog inquired:
"Does there exist a non-monster-driven SF movie suitable for viewing on the anniversary of Valentina Tereshkova's flight?"
I think the choice is clear: Космический Рейс (Cosmic Voyage), directed by Vasili Zhuravlev in 1936.
A technically-competent woman, an elderly male genius, and a space-obsessed boy stowaway, all loyal to the Party, undertake the first flight to the Moon as part of a massive Soviet spaceflight program-- and have non-monster-driven adventures.
The film's technical advisor? Different elderly male genius. Fine special effects. Plausible space suits. Portrays lunar exploration as part of a massive government-sponsored effort with many launches, including unwomanned* precursors to the first piloted landing attempt.
Silent, because not many theaters in the Soviet Union were equipped to show talkies in 1936.
In their most dire danger, the cosmonauts' salvation is brought about by something that will be particularly appreciated by James. Those who do not care about SPOILERS may advance the slider to 1:02:58 for a hint.
Can there be a more appropriate choice?
Useful program notes. Thorough fan site (in French). DVD Savant review by Glenn Erickson. Good review by Scott Ashlin.
* For you, Valentina. Happy fiftieth!