Forbidden Planet at The Redford Theatre

I lived in the Detroit metro area for 13 years, so I wasn’t surprised when I heard about a widescreen showing of MGM’s brilliant sci-fi classic Forbidden Planet (1956). The Redford Theatre is a film buff’s dream —a 1920’s restored auditorium theatre decorated with a Japanese motif, showing vintage films of day’s past. The theater is managed by the Motor City Theatre Organ Society and these folks do a terrific job presenting classic films as they were meant to be seen. Where else can you see a Bug’s Bunny cartoon and John Ford’s The Searchers?

I packed the Tacoma, tucked in my charming and patient, albeit skeptical girlfriend and we made the 2 hour trek to the Motor City. We grabbed a balcony seat, hunkered down and listened to a talented 15-year old virtuoso squeeze harmony out of a “3 Manual / 10 Rank Golden-Voiced Barton Theatre Pipe Organ” (I looked it up). Before the show began the curtains parted and get this —

Old Glory was displayed and patrons sang the National Anthem. When was the last time you did this in a movie house?

The opening cartoon was a lesser Chuck Jones’ gem Mad as a Mars Hare (1963), pitting bugs vs. Marvin Martian. We laughed. And then the main feature.

I’ve seen Forbidden Planet perhaps 30 or more times on TV, videotape, laserdisc (I own the rare Criterion CAV LD), DVD and Blu-ray, but like so many other films the impact was greater on the big screen. I also picked up on some detail I had never noticed before. There’s a scene where Robby is going about his chores in the Morbius house and a spider monkey attempts to poach some fruit from a bowl. On the big screen I noticed the bowl is actually filled with chile peppers, bell peppers, yellow squash, as well as some fruit. Even in Blu-ray that detail doesn’t come through.

Also, later when Lt. Ostrow “Doc” attempts to have his brain amplified by the Krell device (“…Monsters from the Id…”) I noticed for the very first time he has three burn marks on his forehead and temples. Well, these are just observations of a film buff. What a great time! Plus, I picked up a sweet Robby the Robot Tee and later stopped off at One World Market in Novi and stocked up on some yummy Japanese chow.

Ha – Winter I mock you.

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