Monday, 29 November 2010

Study of a Single Film: Forbidden Planet (in memory of Leslie Nielsen)

Leslie Nielsen and Anne Francis star in Forbidden Planet (Fred M. Wilcox, 1956)
Film Studies For Free was sad to hear that the king of deadpan movie humour, actor Leslie Nielsen, has died at the age of 84. Of all the films he starred in, the one that has most often been the subject of scholarly studies was the hugely influential science fiction movie Forbidden Planet, a film in which Nielsen played a sincerely serious role.

In (metonymic) memory of Nielsen's wonderful career (the straight part standing for the mostly comic whole), FSFF has assembled a list of links to openly accessible academic studies of this 1956 film. With its groundbreaking electronic music score by Louis and Bebe Barron, its highly personable robot character, its loose adaptation of a high culture text (Shakespeare's The Tempest), and its well elaborated allusions to classical (and post-classical) mythology, as well as to Freud (the Id monster), Forbidden Planet will probably keep film academics in business for quite some time. But, FSFF hopes some will also turn their attention to Nielsen's comic performances, before too long.

Shirley, they merit that, at the very least.

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