#85: FORBIDDEN PLANET
Directed by Fred M. Wilcox, written by Irwin Block, Allan Alder and Cyril Hume. Starring Leslie Nelson, Anne Frances, Walter Pigeon and Robbie, The Robot. 98 minutes long.
It's turned out to be the month I watch some of my favourite movies, first 2001, then Forbidden Planet and later on month, I'm going to see Bladerunner.
Released in 1956, Forbidden Planet was the Interstellar of its day. A film that pushed the bounderies of technology and revolutionised the genre of science fiction. It was, along with War of the Worlds, When Worlds Collide, This Island Earth and Day the Earth Stood Still an early attempt to make a big budget 'A' style science fiction film, as opposed the the usual cheap, second feature or 'B-movie' more associated with sci-fi films of the 1950's. It was also unusual because it wasn't a thinly veiled attack upon communism, featured a totally synthesized, or tonal, sound track and was based on William Shakespeare's The Tempest. Culturally, Forbidden Planet would go on to greatly inspire Gene Roddenberry's Star Trek and be entered into the Library of Congress' National Film
Registry for being - "culturally, historically, or aesthetically
significant." in 2013.
Set in the 23rd Century, the movie follows the crew of the interstellar spaceship, C-57D as it arrives at the distant planet Altair V on a relief mission to determine the fate of the Earth settlers who landed 20 years earlier. Instead of a bustling metropolis the crew find the goatie-wearing, all-in-black garbed scientist, Morbius, his virginal daughter Altaria and Robbie, The Robot all living in splendid isolation in an idyllic John Lautner inspired desert palace. They are only survivors of the original settlers who were all horribly murdered by an unknown invisible planetary force two decades earlier. What the crew, led by Leslie Nelson's Commander John Adams discover is that deep below the surface of Altair V is the last remaining city of a super-advanced alien race called the Krell who all, over the course of a single night, mysteriously died out 200,000 years earlier. As the ship begins to suffer a series of increasingly more damaging attacks, the crew begins a desperate race of survival against the same unseen monster of the Id as the Krell and discovers their horrific and tragic fate.
Featuring award winning special effects and some inspired production design, particularly with the design of the Krell's utterly alien world, Forbidden Planet is never less than utterly engrossing and thrilling and the opportunity of watching it on the big screen was a sheer delight, how sad then that the print the BFI managed to obtain was so dark, scratched and poor.
Despite it's wonderfully sweet naivety and simple story-line this was still a note-perfect sheer delight.