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Mysteries of the Krell: Making "Forbidden Planet"

Mysteries of the Krell: Making "Forbidden Planet"
Making "Forbidden Planet" Primary Image

Smith Rafael Film Center 
1001 Lootens Pl. 
San Rafael, CA 

Presented by the Academy’s Science and Technology Council

Hosted by Craig Barron and Ben Burtt, with a special guest Robby the Robot

In the 1950s, when science fiction films were usually cheaply produced B-movies, one production was light-years ahead: "Forbidden Planet." The 1956 release, MGM’s first major venture into science fiction, was a big-budget production directed by Fred M. Wilcox that conjured another world, with crowd-pleasing flourishes that included the now-iconic Robby the Robot. Set in the 23rd century, the film tells the story of a United Planets mission to the mysterious planet Altair-4. The crew soon discovers that the planet’s only inhabitants, Dr. Morbius and his daughter Altaira, are the lone survivors of an earlier expedition, and they have uncovered the secrets of the planet’s vanished race, the godlike Krells.

Prior to the screening, Oscar-winning visual effects supervisor Craig Barron and Oscar-winning sound designer Ben Burtt investigated some of the secrets behind the making of the film. Barron examined the breakthrough effects sequences that used miniatures and matte paintings, and explore how Joshua Meador created his animated "id monster" effect and combined it with live-action photography. Burtt explained how the electronic score was created, using newly discovered source tapes from the film’s composers, Louis and Bebe Barron (no relation to Craig). Digital version courtesy of Warner Bros. 98 minutes.

Academy Award nominee: Special Effects (A. Arnold Gillespie, Irving Ries, Wesley C. Miller)