Saturday, April 2, 2016

Dark secrets, Forbidden Planets


Forbidden Planet holds a special place in Hollywood’s history as the first science fiction film in which humans are shown travelling faster-than-light starship of their own creation. This 1956 sci-fi classic enjoys a cult status following that hasn’t diminished over the years, recently making an entry into the Library of Congress National Film Registry in 2013, as “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” A starship crew goes to investigate the silence of a planet’s colony (Altair IV) only to find two survivors from a group of scientists sent there decades earlier and a deadly secret waiting to be discovered. The crew headed by Commander John J. Adams subsequently navigates a compelling mysterious narrative centered around a terrible secret Dr. Morbius and his daughter Altaira who was born on this remote forbidden planet.

The costumes and props of this cult classic might look primitive today, but if we see them as the original inspiration of the much loved Star Trek series we get things in perspective. Forbidden Planet is an admitted influence on Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, who eventually styled many of Caption Kirk’s away-mission romances on the awkward simplicity of Francis’ sheltered character. The miniskirt worn by Anne Francis (Dr. Morbius’s daughter Altaira) was seen to be the first worn in a Hollywood movie, and resulted in the film being banned in Spain (it was not shown there until 1967). This historic short skirt that she greets the visiting astronauts with was actually frowned upon by Leslie Nielson (Commander) and Robby The Robot runs to get her something more appropriate and modest!

In late September 2015 several screen-used items from Forbidden Planet were offered in Profiles in History's Hollywood Auction 74, including Walter Pidgeon's "Morbius" costume, an illuminating blaster rifle, blaster pistol, a force field generator post, and an original Sascha Brastoff steel prehistoric fish sculpture seen outside Morbius' home; also offered were several lobby cards and publicity photos.
This movie was filmed on the same stage on which The Wizard of Oz(1939) had been filmed 17 years earlier; the set of Altaira's garden is a reuse of the Munchkin Village set from "The Wizard of Oz". The model of the "flying saucer"-style Earth space cruiser was retained by the MGM prop department and eventually used in MGM productions, including The Twilight Zone: To Serve Man (1962). Robby the Robot, his ground transporter, and crew uniforms in The Twilight Zone (1959) as well.

Museum Replicas is happy to offer its own line of Forbidden Planet replica clothing and weapons for fans looking to relive the memorable movie, its historic sets and its unforgettable characters.  

No comments: