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Forbidden Planet

Year: 1956
Studio: MGM
Director: Fred McLeod Wilcox
Writer: Cyril Hume
Cast: Leslie Nielsen, Walter Pidgeon
You assume this movie is going to be a didactic, paranoid 50s sci-fi flick, somewhere between Plan 9 From Outer Space and When Worlds Collide.

What you're not prepared for is the cerebral nature of the film, with it's overarching theme of the evil that men do and the catastrophic consequences of trying to excise the evil in all our souls.

The evil's embodied by Dr Morbius (Pidgeon). Ahtough not only do we not know that, he doesn't know it himself. I trying to plumb the secrets of a long lost race of super-beings on Altair 4, he's unwittingly used their machinery to separate the evil and good sides of himself, the ego and the id, the latter of which roam the planet, an insatiable beast intent on killing.

Of course, none of the crew of the starship sent to check on the colony knows this. Led by pragmatic captain Adams (Nielsen), they arrive to find Morbius and his beautiful daughter Altaira the only survivors of the colony, together with their iconic robot, Robby.

The commander and his rough and ready crew just want to get Morbius and Altaira off the planet (particularly after so many of them take a shine to the winsome young woman) when crewmen start turning up dead, victims of brutal murders nobody saw happening. But Morbius is convinced he's cracked the secret of the long-gone aliens' vast underground network of machinery, and he doesn't intend on sharing it with anyone.

There are some unique 1950s fixtures, performances and gender politics on display, and the special effects are what you'd expect from the era, but if you can look past them it's actually starting to lean into Silent Running, 2001 and Solaris territory.

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