CineSavant Column

Tuesday August 14, 2018


Gary Teetzel has unearthed a pair of informative American Cinematographer articles on the making of MGM’s Forbidden Planet, from 1955. According to Teetzel,

“…the weird thing is cameraman George Folsey’s descriptions of the scenes with the Id Monster, where he talks about visualizing the monster’s presences with strange lighting effects. But no strange lighting effects are apparent in the scene where ‘the blasted thing’ sneaks aboard the spaceship. There is, of course, red lighting when we see the Id Monster outlined by the force field and laserfire, but not as the monster approaches as Folsey remembers. He makes no mention of animation being added to the scene, either. Did they perhaps experiment with different lighting effects, and ultimately rejected them? Or is it possible that they made an attempt to never show the monster at all?”

The article is of course interesting, but Folsey should have checked his dictionary. I’m not sure he knew the definition of the word ‘pretentious.’ Part two of the Forbidden Planet article is here. Folsey also says that in 1922 he filmed a movie for Biograph called The Man from Mars, that had Martians with ‘huge heads and gleaming talons.’ Somebody tell Bob Furmanek: it was in 3-D.

The ever-vigilant Gary also tipped CineSavant off to an announced Sony Blu-ray MOD disc release of Ishiro Honda’s Toho Sci-Fi attraction Battle in Outer Space on September 25. All the info I have is that a commentary will be included, perhaps the same one from the DVD release. That leaves us asking, will both the Japanese and American cuts be included? If we’re given the longer Japanese version, will accurate subtitles be provided this time around? It’s mostly rumors we hear so far — someone online has claimed that it will be a pressed disc, not a burned MOD. The link is to the older DVD Savant DVD review.

Blu-rays of colorful Toho science fiction fantasies sound like a good idea to me — expensive Japanese releases normally omit English subtitles. But will we ever see a quality release of their third early outer space film, Gorath? We want the giant walrus, for crying out loud.

I almost missed an occurrence over at Paramount Studios last weekend — apparently Quentin Tarantino turned the outside of what was originally the old RKO building at the corner of Gower and Melrose into a filmic exterior of Columbia Studios, circa 1969, for his new movie about the Manson Killings. My tip came late and I got there just in time before the two posters came down — crews had already removed several others. When the show comes out, I’ll have to see how they cover up other Paramount signage visible in these photos. Those poster panels are BIG — it was pretty impressive.

Various photos have been showing up online from a couple of weeks earlier showing how Tarantino’s art directors redressed of parts of Hollywood Blvd. as well. It’s likely that the Paramount corporate lizards preferred that the ads for a rival studio be removed without delay.

Just arrived in-house are the new Warner Archive discs of The Last Hunt with Robert Taylor, Stewart Granger, Russ Tamblyn and Debra Paget, and Raoul Walsh’s The Naked and the Dead with Cliff Robertson, Aldo Ray and Raymond Massey. Plus I have a review lined up for Severin’s The Changeling.

Thanks for reading! — Glenn Erickson