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“Forbidden Planet”: National Film Registry #25

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We are only days away from the latest announcement about the newest 25 films being  added to the National Film Registry.  That big reveal will occur on December 12, 2018.  In the meantime, take a new look at “Forbidden Planet,” the classic MGM science fiction film that was named to the Registry in 2013.

Based loosely on “The Tempest,” and the film debut of Robby the Robot–soon to have a long career on both film and television–author Ian Olney recaps the film and gives some of the reasons it earned its spot on the Registry by saying:

“Visually stunning and thematically rich, Fred M.Wilcox’s ‘Forbidden Planet’ is a landmark film in science-fiction cinema. Set in the twenty-third century, it tells the story of a United Planets space cruiser sent to the distant world of Altair IV to investigate the fate of a group of colonists with whom Earth has lost contact. Upon landing, the ship’s commander, J.J. Adams (Leslie Nielsen), and his crew learn that most of the colonists are dead, the victims of a mysterious planetary force. The sole survivors are a scientist, Dr. Edward Morbius (Walter Pidgeon), and his teenage daughter Altaira (Anne Francis), who live comfortably in a fortified home, their needs tended to by a mechanical servant, Robby the Robot. Morbius insists that he and Altaira are perfectly safe and demands that their would-be rescuers leave them in peace.”

Read the rest of the Olney “Forbidden Planet” (PDF) essay.


Title:  “Forbidden Planet”

Year of Release:  1956

Year Added to the National Film Registry:  2013  (See all films added to the Registry in 2013.)

Trivia:  This film was the debut feature film of Leslie Nielsen.

This blog post is #25 out of 30 in our “30 Years of the National Film Registry” series which was launched to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Registry.  The National Film Registry selects 25 films each year showcasing the range and diversity of American film heritage to increase awareness for its preservation.  The 30th National Film Registry selections will be announced on December 12, 2018.

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