There are some movies that stick in your head your whole life and for me (and George Lucas, Gene Roddenberry and so many, many more), one of them has to be Forbidden Planet.
One of the most American SF movies ever, directed by Fred M. Wilcox and starring Walter Pidgeon, Anne Francis and Leslie Nielsen, I must have first seen this in the late 1960s or mid 70s, when the BBC was in one of its classic SF film season mood, because I’m sure I saw it around the same time as films such as George Pal’s War of the Worlds and The Day the Earth Stood Still.
Anyway, it’s a film of space exploration, alien encounter and a lost civilisation that’s stuck with me for its iconic imagery, concepts and story, inspired, of course, by The Tempest. Made over 40 years ago, with various attempts at a remake perhaps thankfully unrealised for all the talented souls who have thrown their hat in the ring, it’s got a hard edge to it with little of that pervading grimness that pervades so much SF film and TV today.
I do appreciate that times change, but personally I do hope for a little more of that sense of optimism about the future so many of us once had and still cling to, for all of what Isaac Asimov once described as humanity’s “silly asses” -ness.
This morning, I had a browse through a smashing Forbidden Planet the Movie Facebook group, which often strays to the celebration of other bonkers films of gentler days.
It includes some amazing imagery, including great art by the likes of Tom Cooley and many others. If you’re on that social media platform, check it out.
• See also: Forbidden Planet on Wikipedia