They find the only survivors, the scientist Morbius (Walter Pidgeon) and his daughter Altaira (Anne Francis in some really short sci-fi skirts). In an eden-like setting, the scientist has been uncovering the remains and the secrets of a once-great society, the Krell, who flourished on the planet eons in the past.
He explains that the Bellerophon settlers were hideously murdered by a unseen monster. Only he and his family remained unaffected, and the ship itself was vaporized as the last settlers attempted to escape. Morbius has spent two decades exploring the vast spaces of the Krell's mysterious underground power plant, and boosting his lowly human IQ with the Krell equivalent of Baby Einstein tapes.
Wouldn't you just know it, as soon as the handsome young men of the ship start hitting on Morbius' luscious daughter, the invisible monster comes back with a vengeance. The boys need to figure it out quickly, or everybody's cooked.
The whole thing is embellished with a bizarre electronic score and sound effects that were ground-breaking at the time - lots of theremin and oscillator-wave noises - that are still kind of cool today.
The Cast of 'Forbidden Planet'
The crew could be any regulation bunch from any Navy movie, including a stereotyped cook for comic relief. But there's something oddly Third Reich about their tight gray uniforms. You find yourself flashing back to the desert Nazis in the Indiana Jones movies.
Anne Francis does her best as the object - and I do mean object - of the commander's affections. A movie that is otherwise inventive and thoughtful betrays its 1950s origins in its view of women. There are no females on the United Planets crew; Francis spends a lot of time posing in uncomfortable, provocative outfits and worrying about what to wear; and Robby - who cooks, cleans, sews, manufactures booze and drives the rover -- is described as a "housewife's dream." Guys, it's the year 2207. Let my people go.
Morbius's house is space-age meets Hollywood modern, decorated with some trippy sculptures that suggest fossilized fish. And I would dearly love to see on the big screen the moment when the invisible monster, howling and snarling, is outlined in blaster beams as it tries to attack the ship. So cool.
The DirectorWhile a sci-fi classic, Forbidden Planet may not be the most famous film Fred Wilcox made. The journeyman director also helmed three Lassie films during his days at MGM, along with the first film version of the children's classic The Secret Garden.
'Forbidden Planet' - The Bottom Line
Recommended For YouIf you liked Forbidden Planet, you may like The Day the Earth Stood Still, When Worlds Collide, The War of the Worlds or The Incredible Shrinking Man.
Just the Facts:Year: 1956, Color
Director: Fred Wilcox
Running Time: 98 minutes