Shakespeare in Space: FORBIDDEN PLANET (MGM 1956)

One of my inspirations as well and would be a valued addition to my personal movie collection.

cracked rear viewer


Well, not quite. FORBIDDEN PLANET is very loosely based on The Bard’s THE TEMPEST, drawing on some of its themes and characters, and putting them in an outer space setting. But the film is much more than that. It’s full of screen firsts, and one of the most influential science fiction movies ever. While watching I was more than reminded of STAR TREK, and wasn’t surprised while doing research that Gene Roddenberry cited it as “one of his inspirations”.


Today no one thinks twice about movies being set completely in outer space, but FORBIDDEN PLANET did it first. The art and set direction by MGM vets Cedric Gibbons and Arthur Lonergan are wonders to behold, shot in beautiful CinemaScope and Eastmancolor by George J. Folsey. The cinematographer began in silent pictures, and carved a niche with big, splashy musicals like MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS, THE ZIEGFELD FOLLIES, TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALL…

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Writing Dilemma: The In-Between Scenes

I’m almost religious about my use of storyboarding. I find that when I have a basic blueprint of what my stories are about, they are easier to organize and write.


Preplanning a story takes a lot of the guesswork out of writing it. However, I find that unless I plot it down to the nitty-gritty (which I don’t), I tend to address the major story events, but not the little things that tend to take place between Point A and Point B.

Every story is made up of big scenes and little scenes that act as transitions. After all, you really can’t have your Hero/Heroine careening from fight to fight without an opportunity to rest, recover, eat, sleep, screw, whatever. Even robots need to plug into a charger from time to time. It’s just common sense.

The In-Between Scenes allow the audience to get to know the main character(s), to get inside their heads and learn their personalities. Everything else is them doing their jobs using what works for them.

I’ve always believed that a good story should flow like a Sine Wave with high and low curves that reflect the action being told. That means that for every point of rising action, there should be at least one corresponding moment of resolution and recovery. At least, that’s what works for me.

Are they a pain in the butt? Yes. Can they be boring to write? Yeppers. Are they essential to writing a good story? Absolutely or at least, I think so.

Your mileage may vary.