landmark in science fiction cinema is given a breezy two-disc
special edition to mark its half-century. For a fifty-year old
film it looks gob smacking thanks to the impressive and visionary
(yet somehow still anchored in the 50s) design and a spick and
span transfer that gives the film an opulent technicolour glow.
This was the first science fiction given a big studio budget
and based in part on the Shakespeare play The Tempest.
The film is screaming out for an audio commentary, but sadly
there is none despite cast members Leslie Neilsen, Anne Francis
and Earl Holliman still being with us. They do appear in the
glossy retrospective featurette Exploring The Far Reaches of
Forbidden Planet. This oversight is made up for by the scope
of the other extras including a compact featurette called Robby
The Robot: Engineering a Sci-Fi Icon that details the enduring
appeal of the robot icon and Keep Watching The Skies!: Science
Fiction, The 1950s and Us a feature length retrospective look
at the science fiction films of the 1950s.
There are some fascinating deleted or alternate scenes sourced
from a scratchy work print, a clutch of previously thought lost
test shots of various special effects, excerpts from two episodes
of MGM Parade hosted by Walter Pidgeon that publicised the film's
release, a complete 1958 episode of the TV series The Thin Man
that featured Robbie The Robot, that's entertaining for it curiosity
value alone and a batch of trailers for other MGM 50s sci-fi
Best of all is the inclusion of the little-seen quickie The
Invisible Boy made as a cash in on the popularity of Robbie
The Robot who stars. It's juvenile, but fun tosh in many ways
that pales into insignificance alongside Forbidden Planet, but
including it again helps make this a value for money release.
release of a genre masterpiece with slightly disappointing,
but varied, extras still worth buying for the shining transfer
and number and quality of supporting materials.