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?
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
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
Review: IT HAPPENED HERE,
Those ASTRAL COLLISION Movies,
The Ultimate INVADERS FROM MARS,
METROPOLIS and STAR WARS,
DUNE and David Lynch,
The Uncut THINGS TO COME,
THE ANGRY RED PLANET and CineMagic,
An Exotic Treat - THE MYSTERIANS,
The Strange Case of UNTIL THE END OF THE WORLD,
Text © Copyright 1997 Glenn Erickson
DVD Savant Text © Copyright 2007 Glenn Erickson