TUESDAY, MARCH 28 AT 7:30PM | REGULAR ADMISISON PRICES
The Loft Cinema presents a special screening of the 1956 science fiction classic, Forbidden Planet, featuring an introduction by world-renowned astronomer, author and educator Chris Impey, who will discuss space travel, the reality of establishing human colonies on other planets and our future among the stars. Copies of Dr. Impey’s latest book, Beyond: Our Future in Space will be available for sale and signing at this event.
This presentation is part of the fourth annual National Evening of Science on Screen, which takes place on Tuesday, March 28 at independent cinemas across the country. Science on Screen is an initiative of the Coolidge Corner Theatre, with major support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
“A smart script and-ahead-of their-time effects elevate Forbidden Planet from a cult classic to a landmark of the sci-fi genre.” – Film 4
A major landmark in the evolution of cinematic science fiction, Forbidden Planet is credited with a number of pioneering achievements: the first depiction of “light speed,” the first “personable” robot, the first entirely electronic score, and yes, the first miniskirt on film. The film’s story echoes that of Shakespeare’s The Tempest: a spaceship crew led by square-jawed, all-American commander John Adams (a pre-comedic Leslie Nielsen) is sent to a distant planet to determine the fate of a 20-year-old expedition that has gone silent. To the crew’s surprise, the only people remaining on the planet are Dr. Morbius (Walter Pidgeon) and his adult daughter Altaira (Anne Francis), along with their helpful robot companion, Robby. Though Morbius warns Adams of danger, the ship lands and the crew are soon threatened by the mysterious and deadly forces at work on the planet. With its glossy ’50s rendering of future technologies, ultra-cool mid-century modern production design, and somewhat dated approach to gender politics, Forbidden Planet could easily have been just a charmingly campy caper. However, thanks to its prescient take on the complex themes, philosophical questions, and sci-fi conventions that would be further explored in such seminal genre works as Star Trek, Aliens, and the films of Andrei Tarkovsky, this lavish, big-budget extravaganza (shot in blazing color and glorious CinemaScope, with Oscar-nominated special effects) has rightfully become an enduring classic. (Dir. by Fred M. Wilcox, 1956, USA, 98 mins., Not Rated)
Chris Impey is a University Distinguished Professor of Astronomy and Associate Dean in the College of Science at the University of Arizona. His research interests are observational cosmology, gravitational lensing, and the evolution and structure of galaxies. He has 180 refereed publications and 70 conference proceedings, and his work has been supported by $20 million in grants from NASA and the NSF. As a professor, he has won eleven teaching awards, and he has been heavily involved in curriculum and instructional technology development. Impey is a past Vice President of the American Astronomical Society. He has also been an NSF Distinguished Teaching Scholar, a Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar, and the Carnegie Council on Teaching’s Arizona Professor of the Year. He was a co-chair of the Education and Public Outreach Study Group for the Astronomy Decadal Survey of the National Academy of Sciences. In 2009 he was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Impey has written over forty popular articles on cosmology and astrobiology and co-authored two introductory textbooks. His first popular book The Living Cosmos, was published in 2007 by Random House. His second and third, called How It Ends and How it Began, both on the subject of cosmology, were published in 2010 and 2012 by Norton. In 2013, his book covering iconic NASA missions called Dreams of Other Worlds was published by Princeton University Press, and the following year it won the Eugene Emme Award for Astronautical Literature. Also in 2013, his book on the teaching of cosmology to Buddhist monks in India was published, called Humble Before the Void. His most recent popular book is Beyond: Our Future Among the Stars, examining the future of space travel, published by Norton in 2016.
Science on Screen is designed to pair thought-provoking films, old and new, with insightful contextual discussions with local experts and academics to create illuminating and entertaining programming that will bring the exciting world of science alive on the big screen.