Forbidden Planet

Forbidden Planet

4.5 19
Director: Fred Wilcox

Cast: Fred Wilcox, Walter Pidgeon, Anne Francis, Leslie Nielsen


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MGM's first big-budget science fiction film, Forbidden Planet, combined state-of-the-art special effects with a storyline based on Shakespeare's The Tempest. In the 23rd century, Cmdr. J.J. Adams (Leslie Nielsen) guides United Planets cruiser C-57-D on a rescue mission to faraway planet Altair-4. Twenty years earlier, Earth ship BellerophonSee more details below


MGM's first big-budget science fiction film, Forbidden Planet, combined state-of-the-art special effects with a storyline based on Shakespeare's The Tempest. In the 23rd century, Cmdr. J.J. Adams (Leslie Nielsen) guides United Planets cruiser C-57-D on a rescue mission to faraway planet Altair-4. Twenty years earlier, Earth ship Bellerophon disappeared while en route to Altair-4. Only the ship's philologist, Dr. Morbius (Walter Pidgeon), survived; in the intervening decades, Morbius has created an Edenlike world of his own, for the benefit of himself and his nubile young daughter, Altaira (Anne Francis). His private paradise is zealously guarded by Robby the Robot, a piece of technology far in advance of anything on Earth. When Adams and his crew land on Altair-4, Morbius announces that he has no intention of being rescued and returned to Earth. When Adams attempts to contact home base, he finds that his radio equipment has been smashed by some unseen force. Holding Morbius responsible, Adams confronts the scientist, who decides to tell all. At one time, according to Morbius, Altair-4 was populated by the Krel, a wise, intellectually superior race. Using leftover Krel technology, Morbius has doubled his intellect and gained the ability to shape a new world to his own specifications. Forbidden Planet was a big influence on future sci-fi outer-space efforts, especially Star Trek.

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
You remember this one: Intrepid astronauts led by Commander John J. Adams (Leslie Nielsen) visit the far-off planet known as Altair-4, where the seemingly idyllic lifestyle enjoyed by reclusive scientist Dr. Edward Morbius (Walter Pidgeon) and his futuristic glam-girl daughter, Altaira Morbius (Anne Francis), is suddenly threatened by the inexplicable rampages of an invisible monster. Few science-fiction films from the '50s remain as popular as this space-opera adaptation of Shakespeare's The Tempest, although we're not sure we agree with the assertion made in one of this deluxe edition’s new documentaries, claiming that Forbidden Planet was the genre's most important pre-Star Wars movie. That appraisal comes from one of the many influential filmmakers who sing Planet's praises in "Exploring the Far Reaches of Forbidden Planet." They include directors Joe Dante, John Landis, and John Carpenter, who are joined by special-effects wizards John Dykstra and Dennis Muren, several film historians, and surviving cast members Leslie Nielsen, Anne Francis, Earl Holliman, and Warren Stevens. Warner excels in the production of special features, and the studio has pulled out all the stops once again, coming up with material that was either believed lost or was just plain forgotten, including test footage from special-effects sequences and lighting comparisons of the various sets. Other featurettes include "Watch the Skies," a Turner Classic Movies documentary on sci-fi films of the '50s, and "Robby the Robot: Engineering a Sci-Fi Icon." Robby stars as well in two 1958 extras: "The Invisible Boy," a feature; and "Robot Client," an episode from the Thin Man TV series.
All Movie Guide - Bruce Eder
At the time Forbidden Planet came along, science fiction hadn't existed for all that long as a movie genre, having really only established itself after World War II as distinct from horror films and movie serials. And there had been some serious science fiction films made up to that time -- most notably, Robert Wise's The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951). But science fiction was still considered primarily a genre that appealed to children, centered on action and adventure, without undue plot complexities or character relationships. Forbidden Planet changed all that, without sacrificing a genuine sense of wonder and other elements that juvenile audiences could enjoy. At the time, people mostly noticed the special effects, perhaps the best ever done up to that time and for many years beyond; it was the first movie that could convince viewers, moment to moment, that they were out in space or on some alien planet. Forbidden Planet's real importance, however, lay in respecting its audience, including the kids, enough to steep its plot in psychology and to make some statements about human nature that were pretty strong stuff in the midst of the Cold War, with both sides detonating H-bomb tests on a regular basis. The movie walks an even more precarious tightrope with its subplot about nubile Anne Francis' relationship with her father and the officers of the starship that has just landed in their two-person paradise. The plot was adapted from William Shakespeare's The Tempest, which flabbergasted (and distressed) some critics but helped draw a new, more serious viewer to this kind of movie. Forbidden Planet was so good, in fact, that it proved an impossible act to follow, and no one tried for almost a decade. But its influence trails out for a half-century beyond: Gene Roddenberry drew most of his ideas about the crew, officers (and their personal relationships), and setting of Star Trek from Forbidden Planet's script and set designs, and George Lucas' funny androids (not to mention Lost in Space's helpful robot servant) have their origins in Forbidden Planet's Robby the Robot. And one can only guess at what luck Stanley Kubrick might've had getting financing for 2001: A Space Odyssey, especially out of MGM, had it not been for the precedent of Forbidden Planet.

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Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Warner Home Video
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Special Features

Deleted Scenes and Lost Footage; 2 Follow-Up Vehicles Starring Robby the Robot: Feature Film The Invisible Boy; The Thin Man TV Series Episode Robot Client; ; TCM Original Documentary Watch the Skies!: Science Fiction, the 1950s and Us; ; 2 Featurettes: Amazing! Exploring the Far Reaches of Forbidden Planet ; Robby the Robot: Engineering a Sci-Fi Icon; ; Excerpts from The MGM Parade TV Series; Theatrical Trailers of Forbidden Planet and The Invisible Boy

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Walter Pidgeon Dr. Edward Morbius
Anne Francis Alta Morbius
Leslie Nielsen Commander John J. Adams
Warren Stevens Lt. "Doc" Ostrow
Jack Kelly Lt. Farman
Richard Anderson Chief Quinn
Earl Holliman Cook
George Wallace Bosun
Bob Dix Grey
Jimmy Thompson Youngerford
James Drury Joe Strong
Harry Harvey Randall
Roger McGee Lindstrom
Peter Miller Moran
Morgan Jones Nichols
Richard Grant Silvers
Robby the Robot Actor
Frankie Darro Robby the Robot
Marvin Miller Robby
James Best Crewman
William Boyett Crewman
Les Tremayne Narrator

Technical Credits
Fred Wilcox Director
Allen Adler Original Story
Louis Barron Score Composer
Bebe Barron Score Composer
Irving A. Block Original Story
George Folsey Cinematographer
Cedric Gibbons Art Director
Arnold A. Gillespie Special Effects
Cyril Hume Screenwriter
Hugh Hunt Set Decoration/Design
Arthur Lonergan Art Director
Joshua Meador Special Effects
Nicholas Nayfack Producer
Warren Newcombe Special Effects
Walter Plunkett Costumes/Costume Designer
George Rhein Asst. Director
Irving G. Ries Special Effects
Helen Rose Costumes/Costume Designer
William J. Tuttle Makeup
Ferris Webster Editor
Edwin B. Willis Set Decoration/Design

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