''Forbidden Planet'' on disc -- What we think of one of Leslie Nielsen's earliest films

By Steve Daly
Updated December 20, 1991 at 05:00 AM EST
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Forbidden Planet

type
  • Movie

Before he hit parody pay dirt as Lieut. Frank Drebin, Leslie Nielsen labored as the earnest dunderhead in dozens of ”serious” movies — all of which, post-Police Squad!, seem irresistibly funny. Take his 1956 starring debut, Forbidden Planet, newly reissued on laserdisc. As a spaceship commander determined to rescue a scientist from his telekinetic subconscious, whatever that is, Nielsen is utterly Drebinaire. He’s forever whipping out his utility-belt mike to bark commands like ”Artificial gravity off! Cut primary ! coils!” while lusting after the scientist’s sexpot daughter (Anne Francis).

On the old cassette version, Planet‘s wide-screen picture is cropped, lopping Nielsen off many shots. But MGM/UA’s new disc is letterboxed, salvaging every second of Nielsen proto-shtick. The $24.98 disc looks as sharp and almost as colorful as the $100 Criterion version issued two years ago. The new release is part of a laudable MGM/UA line of affordable discs (which includes the somewhat more serious 2001: A Space Odyssey).

Episode Recaps

Forbidden Planet

type
  • Movie
mpaa
  • UNRATED
director
  • Fred M. Wilcox

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