There are many reasons why “Forbidden Planet” has become such a loved classic.   It has the famous, Robby The Robot; it has the young, beautiful, Anne Francis, prancing around half-naked; it has great, special effects (for its time); it has Leslie Nielsen in a serious role; and it has a solid, interesting, intelligent story when so many 1950s, sci-fi flicks of its era were about giant creatures created from radioactive material.

“Forbidden Planet” is about a Father and his young, sexually naive daughter living alone on a planet once inhabited by extremely intelligent beings.  They are visited by a spaceship from Earth, and the soldiers in it are quickly drawn to the beauty and innocence of the daughter, played by Francis.  The father takes notice and makes an effort to send the soldiers on their way as quickly as possible.  But the visitors stay longer than the father wants, and soon an invisible, powerful, nearly indestructible monster starts killing off the soldiers.

There are many, creepy moments (creepy now, but probably terrifying to the 1950s audience) of the invisible monster coming closer and closer to its victims.  And one of those creepy moments is my most memorable, movie moment: the scene where the monster is coming toward the spaceship, and the soldiers are prepared for the attack.  A force field fence has been erected, and heavy, laser guns are manned by the soldiers.  Sensors indicate there is a large creature coming, but they cannot see it.  And then we see the shape of the creature as it hits the force field — it is huge, looking like a cross between a lion and a gorilla, only five times bigger!  It roars and screams as it strains to get through the force field.  Dozens of laser guns hit it, not seeming to injure it in any way.  It is one of the best scenes ever created in movie history.

And I watched all this in an apartment with a sick, home theater system owned by my friend, Tony.  Now, when most people say they have a home theater system, that usually means a 40″ LCD TV, a simple surround sound system, and a DVD or BD player attached to the receiver.  It’s nice, but far from feeling as if you’re in a theater, especially if it’s set up in a small room that smells of wet dog.  Tony’s set up is a true, home theater system.  He has a rear projector that outputs the video against a wall to produce a 150 plus inch screen; and he has seating that is better than in a movie theater; and he has a premium surround sound system calibrated to produce lifelike sound; and his wiring was cleverly hidden, making for a clean but complicated set up.  I was very, very impressed.   All this made “Forbidden Planet” more enjoyable to see; and for those who haven’t seen this classic, you need to watch the movie and experience great filmmaking of the 1950s.

M

Advertisements