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forbidden-planet

FORBIDDEN PLANET (1956)

Long before he locked up the Frank Drebin franchise, Leslie Nielsen made his mark in rather more heroic form as starship Commander John J. Adams in this Fred M. Wilcox-directed sci-fi pic. When Adams and his crew, flying the United Planets Cruiser C-57D, visit the planet Altair-IV in the Altair star system, he meets the mysterious Dr. Morbius (Walter Pidgeon) and his beautiful daughter Altaira, lone survivors of an earlier expedition. Morbius is the holder of certain dark secrets surrounding a massive "plastic educator" and a long-lost civilization.

The cast includes: Walter Pidgeon, Anne Francis, Leslie Nielsen, Warren Stevens, James Drury, Jack Kelly, Richard Anderson, and Earl Holliman.

Director Fred Wilcox's "Forbidden Planet" is a classic hunk of space opera, 1950's style.

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Promotional Line: "Amazing"

Quote: "It will remind us...after all...that we are not God..." --Leslie Nielsen as Commander J.J. Adams


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forbidden-planet

 



Director Fred M. Wilcox 's Forbidden Planet is a combination of science, romance, comedy, and horror. The basic story involves a space rescue to a distant alien world, in search of a long-missing, previous expedition. They discover an eccentric scientist, his beautiful daughter, a powerful robot, and a horrible secret.

When communication from a space colony, formed by an expedition of scientists, and located 17 light years away on the fourth planet of the constellation of Aquilae, suddenly stops, a starship crew, led by Commander John J. Adams (Leslie Nielson) travel through space to this colony to investigate. They find only one scientist, Dr. Morbius (Walter Pidgeon) and his daughter Altaira (Ann Francis), who are the only ones able to escape a hideous, invisible monster that lurks around the planet. Dr. Moribus is a gifted scientist who has invented things from Robby the Robot to a mysterious project in his Krell lab.
It seems that the Krell civilization had settled the planet 200,000 years ago. While the people had died out, their system was still working underneath the surface of the ground.

Much like Captain Kirk of the Star Trek series and movies, Commander Adams continues with his investigation, learning more about the monster as it attacks his men, and menaces the group. After several incidents that give them clues, he and his crew puts two and two together to come up with several plans to combat with the hostile influences that are disrupting human plans to colonize the planet, which leads to an exciting conclusion.

This suspenseful screenplay, that is way ahead of its time, by Cyril Hume, (story by Irving Black and Allen Adler), was a VERY LOOSE adaptation of Shakespeare's "The Tempest," mixed with elements from Freudian psychology. These facts alone catapult this film into a different category than most 50's Sci-Fi flicks. Its underlying theme is that no matter how technically advanced we become, we must still guard against our darker nature that has been with us since the beginning.

One of the film's great delights is Robby the Robot, Pidgeon's amazing mechanical helper. For many years Robby was audience's favorite robot, challenged somewhat by the "Lost in Space" robot, in the 60's. When "Star Wars" debuted in 1977, R2D2 and C-3P0 became the public's favorite robots, at least for contemporary audiences.

My favorite scene is an encounter between Nielsen, Francis and a tiger. As the tiger suddenly leaps toward the two, Nielsen disintegrates it, in mid-air, with his ray gun. The sequence involves good FX/animation for the time. The scene really knocked me out as a five year old, one of my first encounters with movie magic.

As the space mission commander, Leslie Nielsen gives the kind of solid, serious, manly man performance he gave reliably for years, until the "Airplane" and "Naked Gun" movies gave him a chance to release his inner goofball.

Walter Pidgeon was convincing as Dr. Morbias, a brilliant, eccentric scientist who is annoyed with all these outside people interfering with his work, and the fact that his lovely daughter and Commander Adams are becoming romantically involved.

The beautiful Anne Francis is convicing as the lovely, blonde, love interest Altaira, a type of role that she became an expert at, as she was cast in a lot of films playing a similar character. She is well known for her television career in the 1960's, and for her many TV movies as being "a bright, colorful, decorative, wise-cracking presence."

The young space crew was made up of up and coming young actors, such as Jack Kelly (Maverick), James Drury (the Virginian), Richard 'Oscar Goldman' Anderson from television's Bionic Man.

If you enjoyed FORBIDDEN PLANET, you may like STAR WARS, ALIENS, 2001, THE NAKED GUN, STAR TREK: FIRST CONTACT, LOST IN SPACE, and/or INDEPENDENCE DAY.