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DVD SAVANT

A Missing Scene from FORBIDDEN PLANET?

Here's a question that'll make you think that I just beamed in from an alternate reality. I recently bought the deluxe laserdisc of MGM's Forbidden Planet. I was enjoying the picture when the film reached its conclusion - abruptly. The Id monster is melting through the door into Morbius' lab. Morbius runs to the unseen creature, and the next shot we see is the machine shutting down and Morbius, on the ground dying. Something's missing! In 1980, I was fortunate enough to see a reissue print of Forbidden Planet in Tallahassee, Fl., in which Morbius confronts the monster, which is visible. Morbius denies the creature and is grabbed by it. The Id monster raises Morbius up and throws him down. The creature was rather poorly animated, especially by today's standards and I can see why it might not be included for aesthetic reasons, but I can't believe this scene has been cut from every single print of the film since it was released on laser and home video ..... The real rub is this; nobody else remembers this scene. I've talked to fans, film historians and fellow film buffs, but nobody remembers the scene except my best friend, the guy who saw it with me. If you think about it, the scene doesn't make sense as it is now. You don't see what happens to Morbius and the Krell machine goes from full power to inactivity, suddenly, for no apparent reason. It's obvious that something is missing and it confounds me that no one else remembers this scene. I hope I can get a straight answer about this from you. --- Linwood Sasser

The scene you describe makes some sense, but I don't believe it was ever part of Forbidden Planet. I think the filmmakers cut away from Morbius' death because they felt it unnecessary / unpleasant to show it.

I saw this wonderful movie on its original television run in L.A. (1963?) and all of us bloodthirsty eleven-year-olds were a bit disappointed to see Morbius' demise handled through cutaways to Leslie Nielsen and Anne Francis. I since have seen a continuity script dated 1956. Officially, the scene was cut as it now appears. The 1988 Criterion laserdisc (which has at least five minutes of fascinating cut scenes in workprint form) is incredibly detailled, but does not mention it. I screened the MGM studio print in 1975 at UCLA. Same scene.

As far as story sense goes, to me, the Krell Machine wants the monster to be invisible - it was only the spacemen's blasters that made its outline visible before. As for the machine going from full power to inactivity, that happens because with Morbius' death, his unconscious mind is no longer directing the machine, which reverts to its low-wattage caretaker responsibilities. But, hey, we both have a right to our personal interpretations of Forbidden Planet.

I humbly propose three possibilities. One - The scene was filmed, and some temp animation done, that was cut out before final animation occurred. By some wild chain of events, this was cut into a print you saw in the 1980's (I worked on tv spots for RoboCop 2, which ended up using a couple of finished effects shots that were dropped from the film at the last minute, so these things do happen).

Second explanation - your Tallahassee print was monkeyed with by local fans. This happens more often than you might think. It is conceivable that some enterprising joker could take the animation of the spaceman being similarly 'raised up and thrown down' during the ray gun battle, and adapt it to the interior of the Krell laboratory.

Third possibility - false memory. I swear to you, when I close my eyes I can see a scene from the original King Kong, with Kong on a raft being taken to New York. The cuts and the angles are there, as real a memory as any. No scene ever existed, but from whatever source (childhood dreams, MAD magazine parodies, King Kong vs Godzilla?) I invented the scene and half-expect it to show up whenever I see the film.

...on the other hand, you find that print, and I'll eat this letter. Straight enough? I'll post this and maybe we'll find that print.


Text © Copyright 1997 Glenn Erickson





DVD Savant Text © Copyright 2007 Glenn Erickson

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