The Forbidden Planet (1956 film)

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Still from The Forbidden Planet (1956 film), depicting Morbius' "monster from the Id" as an outline in atomic fire and energy...

Summary

In this sci-fi classic loosely based on William Shakespeare's The Tempest, a military spacecraft travels to the distant planet Altair IV to discover the fate of a group of scientists sent there decades earlier. When the Commander and his crew arrive, they discover only two people: Dr. Morbius and his daughter, Altaira, who was born on the remote planet. Soon, the Commander begins to uncover the mystery of what happened on Altair IV, and why Morbius and Altaira are the sole survivors.


Details

  • Release Date: 1956
  • Country/Language: US, English
  • Genres/Technical: Science Fiction, Horror
  • Runtime: 1 hr 38 min
  • Starring: Walter Pidgeon, Anne Francis, Leslie Nielsen
  • Director: Fred M. Wilcox
  • Writer: Cyril Hume (screen play), Irving Block (story) inspired by William Shakespeare (play)
  • Producer/Production Co: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)
  • View Trailer: (link)


Ratings

MPAA Ratings

  • Rated: PG (for mild off-screen Violence and 1950s Adult Content)

Tentacle Ratings

A rough measure of how "Lovecraftian" the work is:

  • SS___ (Two Tentacles: Barely Lovecraftian; could be a very loose adaptation)

Elements of the film could be compared to "At the Mountains of Madness (fiction)", with an ancient and impossibly vast ruin once peopled by a now long-extinct pre-human alien race who left few clues behind for scientists to interpret to understand who and what they were. We never find out exactly what the "Krell" look like (the "monster from the Id" was just the closest nightmare comparison that Morbius' unconscious mind could dream up), but the strangely-shaped door frames, tunnels, and equipment found throughout the ruins suggest that they must have looked quite bizarre (I like to imagine they might have looked like Lovecraft's so-called "Elder Things" from "At the Mountains....") The interior shots of the eternal alien machinery which powers the "Krell Machine" are "Lovecraftian" in their vast, improbable scale, and are perhaps one of the better representations of Lovecraft's alien, non-Euclidean, "Cyclopean" architecture to have ever been put on film. Though it falls a bit short of "cosmic", the knowledge that Morbius gains by digging too deeply into forbidden Krell knowledge from their "teaching machine" (a sort of futuristic alternative to a Lovecraftian Tome) does end up being almost as disastrous as any similar pursuit of knowledge from Lovecraft's stories.

Note: This rating is not intended as a measure of quality, merely of how closely related to Lovecraftian "Weird" fiction the work is.

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Synopsis

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In this sci-fi classic loosely based on William Shakespeare's The Tempest, a military spacecraft travels to the distant planet Altair IV to discover the fate of a group of scientists sent there decades earlier. When the Commander and his crew arrive, they discover only two people: Dr. Morbius and his daughter, Altaira, who was born on the remote planet. Soon, the Commander begins to uncover the mystery of what happened on Altair IV, and why Morbius and Altaira are the sole survivors.


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