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Forbidden Planet
Thriller, Action, Adventure, Mystery, Sci-Fi, Romance, Family
IMDB rating:
Fred M. Wilcox
Walter Pidgeon as Dr. Edward Morbius
Anne Francis as Altaira 'Alta' Morbius
Leslie Nielsen as Commander J. J. Adams
Warren Stevens as Lt. 'Doc' Ostrow M.D.
Jack Kelly as Lt. Jerry Farman
Richard Anderson as Chief Quinn
Robert Dix as Crewman Grey (as Bob Dix)
Jimmy Thompson as Crewman Youngerford
James Drury as Crewman Strong
Harry Harvey Jr. as Crewman Randall
Roger McGee as Crewman Lindstrom
Storyline: When Adams and his crew are sent to investigate the silence from a planet inhabited by scientists, he finds all but two have died. Dr. Morbius and his daughter Altaira have somehow survived a hideous monster which roams the planet. Unknown to Adams, Morbius has made a discovery, and has no intention of sharing it (or his daughter!) with anyone.
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"Monsters from the subconscious."
FORBIDDEN PLANET is a film that can be described as a beautiful space experience. The crew of a spaceship coming to a distant planet to discover the tragic fate of the former human colonies. The script is in certain segments, which are mainly related to the protagonists, inspired by Shakespeare's "The Tempest"

Robby, a phenomenal mechanical man who can do various things in his small body was particularly impressive. He is probably one of the most important phenomena in the sci-fi ever.

Scenery is not revolutionary, but it is quite realistic.A man can feel the beauty and cruelty of one planet at the same time. The atmosphere is impressive, through which tension gradually increase, which is accompanied by an excellent soundtrack

Walter Pidgeon as Dr. Edward Morbius is an old and mad scientist. Leslie Nielsen as Commander John J. Adams is the captain of the spaceship, the voice of reason and thief of heart of young and attractive Altaire (Anne Francis).

It is interesting that one alien monster cannot be compared with the demons of the human subconscious. Perhaps that is the message in this film. The biggest monster may be the man himself. This movie is definitely a milestone in the genre.

One film, in which certain segments are away from the imaginary perfection, but each of them is made with a lot of exquisite taste and feeling.
Ahead of its time classic sci-fi
This is a must see landmark film for any fan of classic sci-fi. A with an ingenious and intelligent plot line, and effects that were ahead of its time. This 1956 adaptation of Shakespeare's "The Tempest" paved the way for the future of the science fiction film genre. Sometimes monsters hide where you least expect them.
Classic 1950s Sci-Fi, The Best
This is a film that has it all, the dashing hero, the beautiful damsel in distress, the noble figure with the tragic flaw, and a truly wonderful robot. Forbidden Planet has maintained that special magic over the years and doesn't lose its flavor with repeated viewings (although the sex appeal of the youthful Anne Francis helps considerably on that score).

Movie fans will recognize the youngish Leslie Nielsen portraying the handsome and heroic Commander Adams, although those of us who have grown fond of him in comedic roles will perhaps be a bit taken aback by his appearance in a serious role. The distinguished and noble-looking Walter Pidgeon is also a featured player as the scientist with a secret (Id). Other supporting cast deserve a nod, especially Warren Stevens as the brainy and resourceful "Doc", and of course the charms of Miss Francis, as noted above.

This film was an early pioneer in the use of electronic music, in the 1950s, no less. The credits call them "tonalities", but those of us who tried to tinker together early versions of the "Theremin" device will recognize the eerie and spooky whines and screeches sometimes used in the sound track. Still, it lends to the image of the exotic and alien landscape of the mysterious and forbidding world of the Krell.

The special effects are also quite arresting. I recall my fear as a youngster waiting for the next manifestation of the invisible "Id" monster, and when it is finally visualized in the one battle scene it literally shook me to my toes in wonder and awe. The magic of matte art is fully exploited in the dizzying scenes of the Krell scientific complex as the characters make their way through the various labyrinths and passageways, guided by the enigmatic Dr. Morbius.

I recall feeling some measure of jealously that Dr. Morbius would have such a cool toy in the form of Robby the Robot. The persona of Robby is quite charming and in some ways he seems more human than some of the other characters. Viewers of follow-on shows like Twilight Zone and Lost In Space will recognize the recycled Robby prop in some of those episodes, although I recall he never had the "personality" of the original Robby.

I must admit to not fully understanding the complexities of the plot until I was old enough to understand the various references to Freudian psychology and the danger of unleashing the hidden and normally contained fears and rage we carry within but have trained ourselves, through force of will, to submerge and control through adherence to societal codes. Although the key to the story seems obvious once revealed, it remains unknown (or perhaps deliberately overlooked) by Dr. Morbius until pointed out by the clear-thinking Commander Adams, who forces Dr. Morbius to confront the evil within himself. It still gives me goose bumps when Commander Adams pushes Dr. Morbius down before the Krell machine that endowed him with superior intellect, which opened the flood gates of his subconscious to the power of the Krell machine: "Here. Here is where your mind was artificially enlarged. Consciously it still lacked the power to operate the Great Machine. But your subconscious had been made strong enough." Zowee!

Forbidden Planet remains probably my favorite sci-fi film ever, and remains timeless and classic for its carefully crafted story and wonderful visualization and realization on the screen.
Brilliant: Undiluted Pulp Science Fiction on the big screen
This is the Roman Empire of Science Fiction films. All films before lead into it, and all films since flow out of it. It captures the romance, the spirit, and the nifty look of 1950's pulp science fiction. This is one science fiction movie with a theme, not just eye candy. No matter how high humanity climbs on the evolutionary scale, no matter how advanced our technology becomes, we must never forget the primal instincts of our darker nature.

This film is a masterpiece.
Your mind refuses to face the conclusion.
Forbidden Planet is directed by Fred M. Wilcox and stars Walter Pidgeon, Anne Francis, and Leslie Nielsen. Screenplay is written by Cyril Hume from an original story by Irving Block & Allen Adler (original title being Fatal Planet). It is a CinemaScope production out of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and is shot in Eastman Color (not Metrocolor as suggested on some sources) by cinematographer George J. Folsey. The piece features a novel musical score (credited as "electronic tonalities") by Louis & Bebe Barron.

Loosely based around William Shakespeare's play The Tempest, the story sees Nielsen and the crew of the C-57D spaceship sent to the remote planet of Altair IV. Where once was a colony of Earthlings, now the only inhabitants are Dr Morbius (Pidgeon), his daughter Altaira (Francis) and Robby, a highly sophisticated Robot that Morbius had built. It transpires from Morbius that all civilisations on Altair IV was wiped out by an unseen force, but not before he himself was able to use some of the knowledge gained from the Krell race to build Robby and the Plastic Educator. However, it's not before long something starts stalking and killing the men of the C-57D. They must get to the bottom of the mystery or they too will be wiped out.

The 50s was of course the decade of the B movie. A decade where sci-fi schlockers and creaky creature features ruled the drive in theatres. As paranoia of potential nuclear war and technology spiralling out of control gripped America, film studios grasped the opportunity to make a cash killing whilst providing an entertainment stress release courtesy of science fiction based movies. Be it giant insects, creatures or alien invaders, there were some fun-some bad-and some rather smart, movies, to hit the silver screen. Falling into the latter category is Forbidden Planet, an intelligent and excellently produced movie that is one of the few that genuinely holds up well over 50 years after its release. To delve further would be unfair to potential newcomers to the film, but in short the piece carries interesting motifs such as sexual awakening, the power of the sub-conscious, or more appropriately the perils of a repressed conscious. It's a Freudian twister, and then some.

Also lifting Forbidden Planet a long way above those men in rubber suit movies of the decade, is the production value of the piece. True, the budget was considerably larger than what was normally afforded the genre (almost $5 million), but every penny is up there on the screen. The CinemaScope really brings to the front the sets and visual effects, while the Eastman Color fully enhances the animations and matte paintings on offer. The whole look and feel of the movie points to it being later than 1956, so it's no surprise to see musing on the DVD extras such luminaries like Spielberg, Lucas, Cameron & Scott, since Forbidden Planet has influenced as much as it has enthralled.

With one of the cleverest stories in the genre, one of its best ever robots (Robby would become a star all on his own) and certainly the best spaceship landing ever, Forbidden Planet is a genre high point and essential viewing for those interested in said genre pieces. 9/10
A must-see
The term "classic" is so worn out that it hardly holds any meaning anymore, but I can't seem to find a better way to summarize this movie. Sure, there are some missed opportunities, some sloppy writing and some bad acting, but thematically and visually this is as good as they come.

The influence this movie has had on the evolution of science fiction films cannot be overestimated. The legacy can for example easily be spotted throughout the Star Trek franchise as well as in the works of other well known sci-fi writers and directors. The story of the investigation of a colony gone silent is a recurring sci-fi tale that has its origin here (or at least it was popularized here), and along with the ethical questions it raises Forbidden Planet really is a milestone. It even touches upon gender issues, although I'm unsure of how much of it that is intentional.

Story, themes and special effects are great! If you're a sci-fi fan this is an absolute must-see, and if you're not at least you can giggle away at Leslie Nielsen in a 50's space uniform.
A hugely entertaining classic Sci-Fi film with deeper layers...
This is a really engaging and brilliantly smart classic sci-fi film that inventively exposes what could possibly be human's greatest ultimate intrinsic tragedy:

Our animalistic, irrational subconscious side. "Id".

The film's Freudian theme is very cleverly metaphorized through thoughtful, seemingly unimportant details (the cook's lust for drinking, the men's lust for the daughter, etc.) and more obvious representations (the tiger jumping at the commander and the daughter, the robot being the most likable and flawless character in the whole movie, the invisible monster, etc.) during the whole film. It's really amazing how well thought out this film is. Every single aspect of it can be given meaning in the context of the film's main theme.

Even though the story very much (almost exclusively) focuses on the specific observation that's being made about human nature, the film still feels very rich, because of the high ambition that was obviously at the basis of the film's sci-fi context. - First of all, the technical aspect of the film perfectly works, the locations look really good (especially by the standards of that time) and it's just a joy to watch it. - Secondly, the ideas in this story are BIG and the film cleverly takes its time to explicate the film's story and environment. We really get to know and explore this film's sci-fi universe. I love that!

The film kind of made me think of Tarkovsky's Stalker in a certain (far-fetched) way. Stylistically, the films couldn't be further apart, but both movies touch on very similar topical issues, in my opinion. So, don't expect this picture to be a high level philosophical film or anything like that. It just tells an exciting sci-fi adventure that happens to have very interesting substantial aspects to it when studied more intensively. It's said to be loosely inspired by Shakespeare's 'The Tempest'.

Back to the small comparison I wanted to make between both films. In Forbidden Planet, we witness why extremely developed technology in the hands of mankind can be dangerous (it's told in a very symbolic manner, but the argument the film's making is very clear) and in Stalker, we basically get a meditation on why the existence of the "supernatural" (a sort of "wishing room" in this case) could be more dangerous than positive, when it can be manipulated by men. In other words, two of mankind's biggest wishes are fulfilled, but ultimately seem to have unforeseen negative side effects, because there seems to be something wrong with us!

Both films basically talk about the tragic unreliability of humanity. We can't trust other people and we can't even trust ourselves, because we never fully have control over neither of the two. There's a potential monster in all of us, even if there aren't any bad intentions... The point is not to be scared, but to be aware of the 'Id'-aspect of your nature. Don't deny its existence and don't be blind for its possible consequences.

"It will remind us that we are, after all, not God."
Anyone who enjoys Sci Fi will like this one.
A defining film of the Sci Fi genre, "Forbidden Planet" is an example of how a film with a very respectable budget, should be written and acted. The script makes quite a few references to William Shakespeare's play, "The Tempest" and these references have been blended into the screenplay very well. One of the film's most enduring legacies, is the character of Robby the Robot. In addition, Walter Pidgeon is very good as the brilliant but flawed scientist. It is that character's rather unconventional experiments that pave the way for all the carnage that the space crew - helmed by Leslie Nielsen - suffers. The latter actor proved what a very good, dramatic performer he was before he starred in comedies. Anne Francis could have been dismissed as just another "dumb blonde" character. However, she adds a good deal to the proceedings. The film was shot entirely on soundstages but the sets are terrific - as are the production values in general. I could believe the characters were on an alien planet. There are a few gripping scenes to be sure and "Forbidden Planet" is a fascinating Sci Fi film all round. Even so, the direction could have been a bit stronger.
First Rate 1950s Science Fiction - But not a perfect "The Tempest" clone
Because of some clunky dialog (but not much) I can't give FORBIDDEN PLANET the "10" I want to give it. But aside from that, it demonstrates what science fiction films could have been like in the 1930s to 1950s if the major studios had given them serious productions. With a good cast headed by Walter Pidgeon, Leslie Nielson, Warren Stevens, Anne Francis, Jack Kelly, and Earl Holiman, it is an update (but not a perfect one) of Shakespeare's final great play, THE TEMPEST, set in outer space. More of that point later,

The sets, given earlier examples (compare with say the typical "mad scientist" sets at Universal in the 1930s), are rather good looking. Doorways show to us what the long dead "Krell" race was supposed to look like. When a scientific marvel of these dead geniuses is shown by Dr. Morbius (Pidgeon) to Commander John Adams (Nielsen) and Lt. "Doc" Ostrow (Kelly) it's size (20 miles of machine on either side of the center, harnessing the energy of the planet) is really plausible. The robot "Robbie" is a little dated after R-2D-2 and C3PO in STAR WARS, but that had 1970 style concepts in mind. I assure you, if you see a science fiction film of 2107 they would make STAR WARS seem dated in the style of appearance of things. One also has to congratulate the imaginative way the film shows the real danger the crew faces when they finally see it.

Care was given to this production, which is really not so much Shakespeare as a moral and ethics lesson about pride, arrogance, and Greek hubris. THE TEMPEST did have a similar situation, with Prospero (the original for Morbius) and his daughter Miranda (Altaira - Francis' role here) living on an island that Morbius has turned into his kingdom through magic. But it's a stretch to make Robbie a clone of Shakespeare's Ariel, and there is no character to match Caliban, the actual heir of the island who is now Prospero's slave. Moreover, Prospero wants to return to his rightful place in Europe as Duke of Milan (in the play his position was usurped by his brother, now shipwrecked on the island with others). Morbius likes existing on the planet with his daughter, untouched by other humans, and studying Krell wisdom and science. It's not a perfect match by any means*.

(*Oddly enough, Shakespeare's play was inspired by a situation similar to Nielsen's crew exploring space. A fleet of ships headed for the new colony of Jamestown (in Virginia) was partly wrecked in the Bahamas. The ship, with the new governor, had to be repaired, and finally arrived in Jamestown months later, after everyone thought the crew and passengers were lost.)

FORBIDDEN PLANET is about how a great civilization can have rot at it's center by arrogance and cruelty. It is an ethics lesson we constantly have to watch out for, as Nielsen, Francis, Stevens and Pidgeon (the last two too late) realize, due to the unfortunate baser feelings of human beings. As such it is far more important than just a well made "what wonders the future show us" science fiction film. It becomes a worthy film classic to watch again and again.
Spaceships were much cooler in the 50's!
Yep, they were. Red leather, lovely 30's inspired decor, a minimum of screens & flashing lights. In fact I consider the minimalist layout to be much MORE hi-tech than the cluttered ships we usually see. Much of the dreary stuff is hidden from view. It makes the film seem quite modern (sort of).

The Robinsons from "Lost in Space" shopped at the same Galactic Supa- Centre - they bought a scaled down ship, less expensive gear & a cheaper version of Robby but you can easily see the lineage.

The special effects must have seemed pretty excellent back in the day because they still look good. Nice laser shots, the monster is well done, all in all they did a really good job.

Sure, there are some holes in the plot but it isn't Shakespeare, it's a really good example of Science Fiction. Much, much better than I expected.
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