Written by: Michael Den Boer on July 3rd, 2008
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, November 25th, 1965
Alternate Titles: 002 operazione Luna
Approximate running time: 85 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Widescreen
Language: Italian (with some Russian)
Director: Lucio Fulci
Writers: José Luis Dibildos, Vittorio Metz, Amedeo Sollazzo
Cinematograper: Tino Santoni
Composer: Coriolano Gori
Cast: Franco Franchi, Ciccio Ingrassia, Mónica Randall, Linda Sini, María Silva, Elena Sedlak, Emilio Rodríguez, Chiro Bermejo, Ignazio Leone, Franco Morici, Enzo Andronico, Piero Morgia, Lino Banfi
Synopsis: The KGB is forced to take drastic measures after losing communications with two cosmonauts they have just sent into space. In order to save face the KGB search the world for look a likes to take the cosmonauts place and they find patsy’s in a pair of Italian thieves, Franco and Ciccio. All appears to be on track once the KGB has their look a like’s to help them impersonate the lost cosmonauts that is until the two lost cosmonauts reappear.
The stars of 002 Operation Moon are the Sicilian comedic duo Franco Franchi and Ciccio Ingrassia who first worked with Lucio Fulci in 1962, “Those Two in the Legion”. Over the course off five years from 1962-1967 Franchi and Ciccio Ingrassia would collaborate with Lucio Fulci in a dozen films (Those Two in the Legion, The Swindlers, The Maniacs, Two Escape from Sing Sing, 00-2 Most Secret Agents, Two Public Enemies, How We Got Into Trouble with the Army, 002 Operation Moon, The Two Parachutists, How We Robbed the Bank of Italy, How We Stole the Atomic Bomb and The Tall, the Short, the Cat).
Visually 002 Operation Moon shows that even at this stage of his career Lucio Fulci had a tremendous sense of creating style and framing compositions. The plot for 002 Operation Moon is absurd and yet simple. The use of dual language Italian and Russian in 002 Operation Moon furthers helps is selling the madness at hand. If there is trouble too be found Franco and Ciccio always find a way to involve themselves. One of the best things about this film is that the comedy is not as much based in verbiage as it is in the two leads Franco and Ciccio’s physicality. There style bears some faint resemblances to the style employed by American comics like The Three Stooges, The Marx Brothers and Laurel & Hardy.
My favorite moments in 002 Operation Moon are a scene where Franco and Ciccio trying to escape from their Russian captors pose as a doctor and a woman. In this scene Ciccio Ingrassia poses as the doctor while Franco Franchi dressed in drag is given hormone shots to make him a woman. The other standout moment occurs when Franco and Ciccio come face to face with their like a likes Colonel Paradowsky and Major Borovin. The pacing of the film is greatly benefited by Franco Franchi and Ciccio Ingrassia nearly flawless comedic timing.
In the role of the two cosmonauts wives are Mónica Randall (Superargo Versus Diabolicus) and María Silva (Curse of the Devil). All the cast are very funny in their respective roles. The films rumpus and infectious score was composed by Coriolano Gori (Four Times That Night, Werewolf Woman). Out of all the genres that Lucio Fulci worked in his work in the comedy genre is still relatively unknown and underrated. Sure these comedies that Lucio Fulci directed with Franco Franchi and Ciccio Ingrassia, are very formulaic in their design which could have put a strain on most directors own artistic aspirations. Despite these limitations Lucio Fulci still manages to create some visually satisfying moments that are undeniably all his own.