The reason this film, above most of the others in the Summer film series at Tampa Theatre, should be seen in a darkened movie house can be answered in one word-CinemaScope. The process of CinemaScope was unique to the fifties, and this film was a prime example of a process that made the colors and the visuals blend into the storyline and in doing so created one of the first science-fiction Cinematic Universes for audiences and lovers of the genre.
The plot of Forbidden Planet involves a spacecraft traveling to the planet Altair IV to discover what happened to a group of scientists sent to explore the planet decades ago. Commander Adams (Leslie Nielsen-playing it straight!) & his crew find only two people living there; Dr Morbius, played by Walter Pidgeon, and his daughter Altaira, played by Anne Francis.
Made in 1956, the movie is loosely based on Shakespeare’s The Tempest and was most notable for the introduction of Robby the Robot. Robby was more than just an inanimate object, and the film made it a cut above the usual hokey sci-fi stereotypes in that the character of Robby actually became an integral supporting role in the movie.
Full of lush colors and classic fifties sci-fi visuals, Forbidden Planet was, as mentioned above, shot in the groundbreaking Cinema Scope process and was nominated for Best Visual Effects at the Academy Awards. The picture is a genuine science fiction classic, and to cement its importance in the genre, it was entered into the National Film Registry in 2013.
There are only a few films in this series that are worth sitting in a dark theatre and viewing during the long hot summer months. This is one of them. ForbiddenPlanet is playing at Tampa Theatre this Sunday at 3:00 pm.
Tampa Theatre has released their Summer Film Series. I was a bit disappointed with the selections this year, but there are a few notables coming… These are the ones I would recommend as “must see” theatre viewing for those who’ve never seen them on the big screen. Forbidden Planet is coming in June. A campy science fiction classic, this one was made in the heyday of fifties Golden Age studio films. The plot loosely follows the story of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, with Walter Pidgeon playing the Prospero part (Dr. Morbius) and his daughter, played by the ingénue Anne Francis. Leslie Nielson is in a perfectly straight role pre-Airplane, starring as the astronaut-hero who is out to stop the madness and woo the girl. Robby the Robot is the memorable sci-fi staple, and the movie is filmed in gorgeous fifties Cinemascope color. Notorious is one of Hitchcock’s best films. Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman give memorable performances in this classic thriller. One of the greatest lines in film history is delivered by Madame Sebastian, the cold and calculating mother of villainous Claude Rains. “You are protected by the enormity of your stupidity” is the classic line. Never has a put-down been delivered with such precision and flair. The Wizard of Oz is a film that everyone should see on the big screen. There has never been anything to match it in art and simplistic style. It still easily makes the top ten lists of most of the film critics worth their salt. Casablanca is another film that stays with you. It’s a classic B-movie, with another memorable performance from Ingrid Bergman. But this film belongs to Bogart. It’s his signature role and he achieves iconic film status in the part of the loner Rick, who hides his secrets and his sentiments from the world in his café in Casablanca.
These films were made for big-screen viewing, and if you have the time, should be seen in the theatre. It’s definitely my opinion, (which is shared by many veteran critics), that most of the films made in the modern era can’t touch these cinema classics.
Here’s the schedule for these classics at Tampa Theatre. I have to note that this is not the complete line up, but rather the line up from 6 Degrees of the films worth seeing at the movies! Drop me a line to give me your line up of films that should be seen in the theatre. I’ve got a list & definitely have opinions as to which films make the cut.
Sunday June 26: Forbidden Planet review Sunday July 10: Notorious review Sunday Sep 4: Wizard of Oz Casablanca Sep 18th: Casablanca