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Forbidden Planet 50th Anniversary

The seminal 1950s SF film Forbidden Planet, an obvious influence on the original Star Trek, has never had a really good home video release. There were a couple of laserdisc editions of varying quality, and two DVD releases - one from original rights holder MGM, the other from Warner Bros. after it acquired much of the MGM library - but both are sourced from the same faded print and the soundtracks were inferior to the laserdiscs. (I assume the VHS releases were even worse – panned and scanned and sourced from a 50th generation TV master like as not. I never saw any of them.)

Now there's some great news:

Warner Bros. has just announced a 2-disc 50th anniversary DVD release that includes a restored film, several documentaries and a feature on other TV shows and films that Robby the Robot appeared in. The MSRP is $27 - but of course everyone reading this thread will be buying the $60 version with the Robby action figure. :cool:

USA Today Entertainment News (scroll down)

First peak artwork and package contents



UPDATE: The 2nd disc will actually include the complete feature film The Inivisible Boy which "starred" Robby.
Leslie Neilson in a dramatic role! How novel. Don't call him Shirley.

Heh, I just picked up Naked Gun 1, 2, and 3, Spy Hard and Wrongfully Accused. I'm a Leslie Nielsen junkie. :D However, I'll be getting the $27 version of Forbidden Planet. Kosh Naranek is my only action figure.

Considering these trying times in the Middle East, go watch the first scene of the first Naked Gun movie, and have a good laugh. :LOL:
Leslie Neilson in a dramatic role! How novel. Don't call him Shirley.

Up until Airplane!, of course, dramatic roles were practically all Leslie Nielsen did. He and Lloyd Bridges both developed whole new careers and were introduced to a new generation of fans by doing comedies when they were older.


IIRC, Leslie Nielsen was one of the people in serious consideration for the role of Captain Kirk. That would have been .. odd ..
I've seen some of Leslie Neilsen's early dramatic stuff and, on the basis of what I have seen, FP is among his best performances. He was a pretty good, dramatic actor but certainly not in the Jimmy Stewart or Cary Grant class.

He is, of course, much better playing deadpan characters doing drama while chaos ensues around him, though. Airplane and the Naked Gun moves are among my faves of all time.

I haven't seen The Invisible Boy in at least 30 years, and my memories of it are sketchy, but I'm being told that it may be a better film than I remember, and also that it was a surprising influence on Lucas and [ii]Star Wars[/i]. So I'll be interested in seeing it again.

Following is the official Warner Bros. press release with more details on the planned extras - which I can see is going to cost me even more money since I won't be able to resist the poster mail-in offer from the collector's set, and of course I'll simply *have* to have it professionally framed to go with the rest of my poster collection. <g>

The Quintessential 1950s Sci-Fi Movie …



From Warner Home Video November 14

Newly Restored and Remastered Film, in Widescreen and Dolby Digital® 5.1

Has Six Hours of Bonus Features Including:
Two Follow-Up Robby the Robot Films
Lost Footage
Additional Scenes
Three New Documentaries
and More

Ultimate Collectors Edition in Unique Metal Alloy Collector’s Case
Contains Collectible Robby The Robot Action Figure, Reproduction Lobby Cards Portfolio and Mail-In Movie Poster Offer

Burbank, CA (July 21, 2006) - Forbidden Planet, considered by many the most influential science fiction film ever made until the Star Wars era, goes into DVD orbit November 14 when Warner Home Video releases Forbidden Planet 50th Anniversary 2-Disc Special Edition and Forbidden Planet Ultimate Collectors Edition. The film, in a new widescreen version, has been digitally transferred from fully restored new film and audio elements. The remarkable electronic soundtrack has been remastered in Dolby Digital 5.1.® The 2 Disc Special Edition will be available at $26.99 SRP; the Ultimate Collector’s Edition for $59.92 SRP.

A pioneering work whose ideas and style influenced countless cinematic space voyages that followed -- Star Wars, Star Trek, Lost in Space, 2001: A Space Odyssey, among others -- Forbidden Planet is based on Shakespeare’s The Tempest and stars Walter Pidgeon, Anne Francis, Leslie Nielsen, Warren Stevens, Earl Holliman and Richard Anderson. It also marks the motion picture debut of Robby the Robot. Fred McLeod Wilcox directed the Cyril Hume screenplay.

More than four hours of special features in the 2-Disc Special Edition include commentary, additional scenes, two follow-up vehicles starring Robby the Robot plus three documentaries. Also of special note is the lost footage, which features preliminary takes of various special effects including the space ship and interior and exteriors. Very few people knew of the existence of footage, which, since the ‘50s, had bounced around to various stock houses and vaults, simply marked as “The Saucer Footage.” Star Wars special effects artist Dennis Muran, who had learned of the footage in the ‘70s, brought it to the attention of WHV which finally tracked it down in New York City.

The Ultimate Collectors Edition keepsake case includes the 2-Disc Special Edition as well as a collectible Robby the Robot replica with moveable limbs, Forbidden Planet and The Invisible Boy reproduction lobby cards portfolio, as well as a Forbidden Planet original theatrical poster mail-in offer.


Commander Adams (Leslie Nielsen) and his crew set out to investigate the
disappearance of a colony of scientists on the planet Altair-4. After landing, they discover only two survivors, Dr. Edward Morbius (Walter Pidgeon) and his exquisite daughter Altaira (Anne Francis).

The Morbiuses live a surprisingly prosperous lifestyle, attended to by Robby the Robot, a super-butler who performs many amazing feats. But lurking in the background is an invisible force -- which may or may not have been responsible for the disappearances of those scientists – and about which only Morbius knows the truth. But Morbius is not about to share his secret (or his daughter!) with anyone else.

DVD Special Features:

· Additional scenes

· Lost footage

· Excerpts from The MGM Parade TV Series

· Two follow-up vehicles starring Robby the Robot:
o 1958 MGM feature film The Invisible Boy
o The Thin Man MGM TV series episode Robot Client
· Three documentaries:
o TCM original Watch the Skies!: Science Fiction, the 1950s and Us
o All-new Amazing! Exploring the Far Reaches of Forbidden Planet (featuring new appearances by Leslie Neilsen, Anne Francis, Earl Holliman, Warren Stevens and more)
o Robby the Robot: Engineering a Sci-Fi Icon
· New digital transfer from restored picture and audio elements

· Soundtrack remastered in Dolby Digital 5.1

· Science-fiction movie trailer gallery

· Languages: English & Français

· Subtitles: English, Français & Español (feature film only)

Note: All enhanced content listed above is subject to change.

Forbidden Planet 50th Anniversary Two-Disc Special Edition
Street Date: November 14, 2006
$26.99 SRP
Running Time: 98 minutes
Rated G

Forbidden Planet Ultimate Collector’s Edition
$59.92 SRP
IIRC, Leslie Nielsen was one of the people in serious consideration for the role of Captain Kirk. That would have been .. odd ..

Actually, it was Lloyd Bridges. Jack Lord was another favorite. Much like Commander Sinclair, Shatner was "pretty far down the list."
Joe, that edition contains everything I could possibly imagine, and more, except for one thing... a close up of Anne Francis' twin talents, in motion. :D ;)
Joe, that edition contains everything I could possibly imagine, and more, except for one thing... a close up of Anne Francis' twin talents, in motion. :D ;)

In her hysterically funny (and sadly out-of-print) volume Men: An Owner's Manual, Stephanie Brush has a chapter called "The Sleeping with a Man Film Festival" listing the many films women will be forced to sit through any time they come on TV. (The book was written around 1980, so DVD didn't exist and movies on VHS were still more of a novelty and a rental than something you owned.) One of them, of course, was Forbidden Planet. To paraphrase her summary of the film: "It has everything: Spaceships, blasters, Robby the Robot, Walter Pigeon in a really cool futuristic pair of black pajama and Anne Francis's breasts. (The latter will become increasingly important to your man as he gets older.)"


One extra I'd dearly like to have seen is a "costume test" with Anne of the briefly considered "spray on clothes" or the silver lame jumpsuit - neither of which ever got the to testing stage, I'm sorry to say. But one can always dream:

Anne Francis wears a goofy series of "futuristic" dresses supposedly tailored by the resourceful Robby, but actually designed by Helen Rose. Rose decided that "with excercise, dieting, health and beauty consciousness, the human body, especially the female body was getting more and more beautiful...I had been nurturing a costume idea for over twenty years, ever since I did the special show for (ballroom dancers) Fanchon and Marco when I painted the performers with gold paint. I thought this would be a good idea for the film Forbidden Planet, as I could easily imagine 'sprayed -on-clothes' in the year 2000, but no one wanted to go along with me. We settled for a very short, styish dress that was to become the first 'mini-skirt.' My most favorite outfit was never seen."

Anne Francis describes it: "The most exotic outfit Helen designed for me was for Forbidden Planet, and it was never seen in the film. Mr. Dore Schary (head of MGM) nixed it as being too revealing! It was an all-in-one form fitting jump suit of silver lame. It was long sleeved and covered me from neck to toe, with silver cuffed gloves to match. It also had a skull fitting lame hood, similar to the hoods worn by the Knights of Old. Over this was to be worn a see-through coat that was knee length and belted in at the waist. Specially made see-through shoes were to adorn my silver feet. It was sexy for sure..."A fond wish for the future has always been that women would all choose to wear skimpy clothes.

- Quoted material from Movie Diva

Helen Rose has a point. Anne's costumes do arguably represent the first mini-skirts. :)



And, she's so much better looking than Robbie the Robot (who has his own actor listing on the IMDb.) I think I'd heard about the spray on costumes, but thanks for all the interesting, detailed info. I think Anne's best film was probably Bad Day At Black Rock, but my favorite Anne Francis stuff is her Honey West TV series.

I wish they had some surviving pictures of the outfit Shary nixed as being too sexy. They would make a nice extra! Helen Rose is right, that certainly is a mini skirt, long before the name was coined.
I also developed my crush on Anne during all-too-brief Honey West days. Amusingly I learned that the reason ABC cancelled the show after one season had nothing to do with ratings - which were good. But they had just acquired the U.S. rights to the British spy series The Avengers . Apparently in those early 60s days they thought that two martial arts superbabes kicking ass in black leather catsuits would be too much for viewers to handle. As if. The only affect having both Diana Rigg and Anne Francis to watch might have had on me would have been to tip me over into full-blown puberty a couple of years early. :D


Just think of the possibility... they could have had a Honey West Meets Mrs. Peel episode... that would have been amazing!
Yet again showing that, despite having everything going for them, TV executives routinely get it dead wrong.
Re: Forbidden Planet 50th Anniversary DVD

There's a thread on this upcoming release over at The Home Theater Forum that now includes some frame grabs from the current DVD release and a recent hi-def cable showing. The pics are on the large size, so I'll just link to the thread and let those who want check them out from their.

My favorite post was from the guy who looked at one captured frame and talked about how good Anne Francis's neckalce looked. As I said in my reply, "Right. That's what I was looking at, too. Her necklace." And people wonder why film fans are sometimes thought of as geeks. ;)

By the way, I've since found my dog=eared copy of Men: An Owner's Manual and as I suspected, I didn't do Stephanie Brush's description of the film justice:

The Sleeping-with-a-Man Film Festival

"There are cetain movies that men never want to miss when they're on, no matter how many times they've seen them. Your man will feel very 'close' to you if you share them with him, and also keep your mouth shut at the right times. Any Charles Bronson movie falls into this category. Only a guylike Bronson could have carried off something like the famous "Family Jewels" scene in The Valachi Papers. (Where Bronson mercifully kills his best friend, who's just been castrated by the Mafia. Compared with castration, most men feel that death is merely Hightly Unpleasant.)

Here's a sampling of men's favorite movies:

Forbidden Planet

One of the greatest science-fiction movies ever made, it has at leat four major virtues:

(1) electronic music (in 1956),

(2) a really splendid robot and

(3) and (4) the breasts of Anne Francis.

(These last two will become progressively more interesting as he grows older.)

From Men: An Owner's Manual Copyright (c) 1984 Stephanie Brush All Rights Reserved

There's more, of course, plus her coments on The Magnificent Seven, Angels with Dirty Faces, The Adventures of Robin Hood, plus Any Unusually Gross Horror Film and Any Badly-Dubbed Martial Arts Film (hey, it was the 80s), but I think I've gone as far as the "fair use" doctrine reasonably allows. :) I still heartily recommend the book if you want to track it down via a used bookshop, but it vexes me that the author won't see a dime from any resale. Better to pester Simon & Schuster about bringing the book out in a new edition. Publishers are oddly more amenable to this sort of thing than many other parts of the entertainment biz. The even more hysterically funny 1066 and All That ("History isn't what happened, it's what you remember") was brought back out in a very nice hard cover edition years after the paperback had vanished from store shelves. (I have both around here somewhere, the paperback much worse for wear.)


Re: Forbidden Planet New DVD Update

New pics of the packaging for the standard and Ultimate Collector's editions:




Apparently the C57-D suffered a laundry malfunction akin to that aboard the Excalibur. :) I can only hope that someone in the WB packaging division actually looks at the film at some point at least goes back to the blue-grey of the ship's uniforms, even if they don't also fix Altaira's outfit.


Re: Forbidden Planet New DVD Update

OK, maybe the guys at WB aren't complete morons, although I think they are still wrong and badly confused. Apparently whoever did the regular edition DVD cover drew inspriation from the original poster art for the Italian release. It is even possible (given how things often work in the graphics departments at studios and publishing houses) that the artist never saw the film itself and just went through the archives of earlier posters and lobby cards and just assumed that uniforms were of different colors.



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