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Warner Revisits 'Forbidden Planet' For 50th Anniversary

20 Jul, 2006 By: Thomas K. Arnold

SAN DIEGO — What better way to kick off this year's 37th annual San Diego Comic-Con International than with an announcement that Forbidden Planet, the granddaddy of all the extravagant science-fiction movies being plugged at the show, is being prepped for a special 50th anniversary DVD release.

Warner Home Video is expected to announce July 20 that what many film historians consider the most influential science-fiction film ever made will arrive on DVD Nov. 14 in two DVD editions: a two-disc special edition ($26.99) and an ultimate collector's edition ($59.92). Orders are due Oct. 10.

For both editions, the movie, in a new widescreen version, has been digitally transferred from restored film and audio elements, while the soundtrack has been remastered in Dolby Digital 5.1.

Extras include commentaries, additional scenes, three documentaries and two subsequent programs featuring the movie's celebrated Robby the Robot: the 1958 MGM feature film The Invisible Boy and an episode from “The Thin Man” TV series, “Robot Client.”

The ultimate collector's edition, packaged in a metal case, also comes with a Robby the Robot action figure, a portfolio of lobby card reproductions and a mail-in offer for a theatrical poster.

The film, an adaptation of William Shakespeare's The Tempest, stars Walter Pidgeon, Anne Francis, Leslie Nielsen, Warren Stevens and Earl Holliman. The story follows a group of astronauts dispatched to a mysterious planet to investigate the disappearance of a colony of scientists. They find only two survivors, attended to by Robby the Robot and hiding a deadly secret.

George Feltenstein, Warner's SVP of theatrical catalog marketing, said Forbidden Planet is one of the most ambitious science-fiction films ever made.

“It was the first time a huge studio like MGM devoted its massive resources to creating an ‘A'-level sci-fi film in both color and the then-new process of CinemaScope,” he said. “Forbidden Planet also had a huge impact on youngsters who would become the master sci-fi filmmakers of the future. Its views of psyschology and technology still resonate to this day.

“Sadly, for many years prior, people have had to settle for faded, washed-out versions of Forbidden Planet that didn't do full justice to the majesty of its production design.”

Forbidden Planet was initially released by Warner on DVD in April 2000 in a bare-bones edition.

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