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DVD SAVANT

Jump Cut 1 - Forbidden Planet

I recently purchased FORBIDDEN PLANET as a deluxe remastered version. I was disappointed to see many frames missing from the original. Are they going to try again or is the original master in worse shape than I thought?

-- T. Whitley

Savant honestly dismissed this question when first received it in December of '96, because I couldn't figure out what Mr. Whitley was referring to with these 'missing frames'. Now I think I understand.

There is a curious moment at the end of FORBIDDEN PLANET, where Leslie Nielsen is holding Anne Francis in his arms right after they watch the planet Altair-4 vaporize on their video monitor. The picture 'pops' right in the middle of a shot, between two lines of dialog, for no reason at all. Mr. Whitley has logically concluded that there are frames missing here because of damage to the original film elements. Yes, there are frames missing, but the reason is that the editors put an intentional Jump-Cut right in the middle of the scene, to shorten it. Editors nowadays routinely make mincemeat of original scene dialog by chopping scenes up and changing the order of the lines. But they use the coverage, extra shots of other characters reacting or other parts of the scene, to disguise their work. Back in 1956, it was thought individual viewers would never be so focused as to notice the jump in PLANET; now, with Home Video, older movies are obviously being analysed by the public as never before.

As published in Cinefantastiquemagazine*, the producer of PLANET and his editors cut out a number of scenes thought to be irrelevant, and tightened up what they could. One change they apparently did make was to pick up the pace of the final scene by jump-cutting, eliminating a pause and Nielsen's dialog line, "Nothing is ever really lost". This saved the film a whopping six seconds. As proof that this is not a simple case of missing frames due to damage or censorship, note that there is no corresponding jump on the music track, and that dialog before and after the jump stays in sync. Therefore, the cut must have been made at least before the final soundtrack was mixed.

So if you like the relaxed pace of FORBIDDEN PLANET, or think it needs to be cut more tightly, this is why.

*Frederick S. Clarke and Steve Rubin, "Making Forbidden Planet",Cinefantastique, Vol 8 No. 2&3, 1979.


You can read more about Forbidden Planet in another SAVANT article, A Scene Missing From FORBIDDEN PLANET?

Like SCIENCE FICTION? Try the following SAVANT entries!
Review: IT HAPPENED HERE, Those ASTRAL COLLISION Movies, The Ultimate INVADERS FROM MARS, METROPOLIS and STAR WARS, DUNE and David Lynch, DANGER: DIABOLIK, The Uncut THINGS TO COME, THE ANGRY RED PLANET and CineMagic, An Exotic Treat - THE MYSTERIANS, QUATERMASS who?, The Strange Case of UNTIL THE END OF THE WORLD,


Text © Copyright 1997 Glenn Erickson





DVD Savant Text © Copyright 2007 Glenn Erickson

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