Still, almost 50 years after I first saw the 1956 film, Forbidden Planet still has the power to excite my fervid adolescent imagination. I drag out my Video and my wife rolls her eyes, but I always seem to be able to convince some unwitting house guest that they "Just have to see this film!"
And I'd like to pay a small tribute to Anne Francis, who died on Monday, one of the greatest sci-fi hotties of the 20th century. Anne Francis starred with Leslie Nielsen, who also died last year, in Forbidden Planet, the vastly influential 1956 flick. Her skinny dip scene probably made your dad or grandpa (and maybe mom or grandma) a little tingly .It triggered Neilsens Character, Captain Adams, memorable line, "Hey, don't you believe in swim suits on this planet?" Francis' turn as Alta Morbius, the hot yet innocent daughter of Dr. Morbius, was followed up by many other memorable roles, including the mod classic Honey West and two memorable Twilight Zone eps, "Jess-Belle" and "The After Hours." All are worth checking out.
Forbidden Planet was a ground breaking film. A complex dark plot that could have been a sci fi version of The Tempest that revolved around a vanished race of super intelligent beings who destroyed themselves unwittingly by harnessing powers of the id.
It also included the first robot, Robbie, who had a personality and incorporated Isaac Azimov's classic 3 Rules of Robotics.
For me, one of the most lasting influences of the film, was the soundtrack. It was the first film that was totally electronically scored. The composers, Louis and Bebe Barron were pioneers in the use of pure electronically generated sound to create music. They weren't even sure what to call what they did and it was John Cage, who they collaborated with in the 1950's, who insisted that it was music.
The Barrons created their music by building circuits that generated sounds. Much of the sound was of a electronic circuit self destructing. They recorded the sounds on tape and filed them. The taped sound loops were then recorded to create compositions and the soundtrack of this film is like nothing ever heard before.
I think I will convince my wife that we absolutely have to see this film, one more time, tonight and I will spend an evening back on Altair IV with Dr. Morbius and the Krells...and of course, Alta....
"Hey! Don't you believe in swim suits on this planet?"