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How as the 1950's Science Fiction Film 'The Forbidden Planet' been influenced by Shakespeare's 'The Tempest'?

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How as the 1950's Science Fiction Film 'The Forbidden Planet' been influenced by Shakespeare's 'The Tempest'? In 1956, film company MGM set aside a 1 million dollar budget to create a sci-fi film like no other in its time. At the time, this was an unprecedented amount of money spent on a movie project, and to ensure that 'Forbidden Planet' did not end up like many dire 1950's films of its genre, the producers of 'Forbidden Planet' decided to base their film on the highly successful Shakespearian play 'The Tempest' In this essay I will be attempting to show the similarities between both productions in addition to illustrating the ways in which 'Forbidden Planet' has implemented many of its ideas based on the storyline of 'The Tempest' For instance, all of whom who were involved in the photography of 'Forbidden Planet' would have studied Shakespeare's play very meticulously, to be able to generate the atmosphere which Shakespeare masterfully created in 'The Tempest'. In addition to this, the interpretation made by the director of photography to Shakespeare's play would be paramount in assessing the similarities and differences of both productions. ...read more.


For example the role of Prospero in 'Forbidden Planet' was undertaken by Dr Morbious, who unlike Prospero is a scientist who is the only human inhabitant of the planet Alteir 4 with his daughter fittingly named Altaira, who like Miranda has "never known any human being except her father". There is then Robby the Robot "The housewives dream" who has divine attributes and is totally obedient to his master. Therefore it could possibly be said that he undertakes the role of Ariel. However because of the fact that there is no malice or evil in Robby, then it seems as if there is no Caliban figure in 'Forbidden Planet'. Next there is the captain Jay-Jay Adams, the unflappable figure who like Ferdinand, falls for the daughter of the father figure, in this case Altaira, and who also like Ferdinand, stays in favour with the magical, or now scientific Dr. Morbious. Despite this however, the makers of 'Forbidden Planet' however, despite their successes were human after all. This is shown in their pathetic attempt to emulate the humour which Stephano and Trinculo produced in 'The Tempest'. The cook of the ship tries and fails in an attempt to combine two roles into one, therefore despite his best efforts, he was unable to humour the audience like Shakespeare's Stephano and Trinculo. ...read more.


They were trying to say that although science can be used for many good purposes (building a 187 language speaking electronic Jeeves for instance), too much of this can lead to greed and selfishness. Fifteen years before 'Forbidden Planet' was made it was proven by Adolph Hitler that greed with knowledge blinded by morality can lead to destruction. In this case the destruction occurred when Dr. Morbious sub conscience murdered many innocent people who threatened his position on Alteir 4. Eventually this wealth of knowledge given to him due to taking the 'brain booster' combined with the fact that he could not handle his new found wealth of knowledge, lead to the complete destruction of Alteir 4. In conclusion, after thoroughly analysing 'Forbidden Planet' and 'The Tempest' I can deduce that 'Forbidden Planet' was heavily influenced by 'The Tempest. From the inarticulate sonar soundtrack, to the definitive characters, who unfortunately for the millions of people who flocked to the cinema, and indeed for Shakespeare, did not act as well as the material given to them. MGM clearly took a risk in spending one million dollars on one film in the 50's, however with the genius of Shakespeare's ideas in the film, eventually it turned out to be a very wise investment. Folasayo Ogundele English Coursework ...read more.

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