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One of my other half's favourite films this - a cult classic from the early days of sci-fi film making. This 2 disc 50th anniversary special edition has extra features including:
Deleted scenes and lost footage,
2 follow-up vehicles for Robby the Robot: A feature film 'The invisible Boy' and an episode of 'The Thin Man' TV series called 'Robot Client.'
3 Documentaries: 'Watch the skies! Science Fiction, the 1950's and us'; 'Amazing! Exploring the Far Reaches of the Forbidden planet'; 'Robby the Robot: Engineering a Sci-Fi Icon.'
Excerpts from 'The MGM Parade' TV series,'
Science-Fiction movie trailer Gallery.
The film itself which was made in 1956 and directed by Fred M. Wilcox, has been digitally re-mastered and the soundtrack re-mastered in Dolby Digital 5.1. This PG offering warns that it contains mild horror and sex references. The film is 98 minutes long.
Set in the 23rd century, the film stars Walter Pidgeon as Dr Edward Morbius one of the last few survivors on the planet Altair IV which is 16 light years from Earth. Anne Francis is his beloved daughter Altaira and Leslie Nielsen is the dashing Commander John J. Adams who is in charge of the expedition to the planet to investigate what has happened to the human settlers there. When the intrepid crew arrive on the planet things soon start to go wrong and their lives are threatened. What is the terrible invisible monster that attacks the ship and how can they stop its terrible rampage?
To divulge more would be to spoil the plot - but suffice it to say there is a lot of interesting backstory to come and some perilous moments for the crew. This post-war film also provides an examination of the theme of good versus evil. Such a matter is not a black and white affair. We are reminded that we all have a little darkness inside of us.
Everything about this film says '50s sci-fi. The script is clichéd by todays standards. The special effects clumsy. But that is to judge it using a modern yardstick. The point of this film is that it was ground-breaking at the time. It was the first sci-fi film to be set in its entirety on a faraway planet and it had an electronic musical score instead of the usual instrumental background music.
Feminists might find the character of Altaira a challenge - she is to a large extent the typical 'damsel in distress,' and heavily objectified. This dynamic is enough to make my teens leave the room. Personally, I look upon this film as a example of how gender roles have changed in the last sixty years.
The film provides us with a nostalgic look back at the early days of sci-fi. Without such early efforts we would not have had Star Trek or Aliens. Take it for what it is and enjoy. Would recommend.