Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Forbidden Planet (1956)

No scene like this in movie...
Forbidden Planet (1956): very loosely adapted from Shakespeare's The Tempest by Cyril Hume, Irving Block, and Allen Adler; directed by Fred Wilcox; starring Leslie Nielsen (Commander Adams), Walter Pidgeon (Dr. Morbius), Anne Francis (Alataira Morbius), Warren Stevens (Doc), Jack Kelly (Lt. Farman), Richard Anderson (The Chief), Earl Holliman (Cook), and Marvin Miller (Voice of Robby the Robot):

Forbidden Planet is a great, flawed movie. But the flaws mostly relate to the sexist culture that created it, and are somewhat curbed by the mostly ahead-of-her-time female character of Altaira, who's clearly smarter than all the men but her artificially brain-boosted father, a magnificent Walter Pidgeon.

Jarring the viewer most is a young, brown-haired Leslie Nielsen in the straightest of straight leading-man roles. But he's good, along with Jack Kelly as his second-in-command, Richard 'Oscar Goldman' Anderson as the Chief of Engineering, Anne Baxter as the somewhat liberated for the time daughter of Morbius, and Warren Stevens as the ship's Doctor.

The character dynamics wil remind one of the original Star Trek. The visual effects, a combination of traditional animation, models, and matte paintings, are still extremely impressive today. Robby the Robot is a hoot. His interactions with the dopey ship's cook seem like a prehistoric ancestor of similar interactions (and robot belches) in the Transformers series. Everything old is new again. Also, the Transformers never made 60 gallons of bourbon for anyone free of charge. That we know of. Recommended.

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