Retro Movie Double Feature Adventures: Forbidden Planet (1956) & The Time Machine (1960)

I went to a science fiction double feature- a late night, double feature picture show. No androids fighting Brad and Janet, though.

I saw both of these at The New Beverly Cinema, Quentin Tarantino’s movie theater that only shows movies on 35mm (or in rare cases 16mm) film, and it’s always a double feature. They also show old trailers, and it was wild to see something that actually made The Black Hole look like a serious, scary sci-fi film. The audience was full of neurodivergent socially awkward weirdos who talk too loudly about things they love, so I fit right in.

Forbidden Planet

Forbidden Planet movie bar

Somehow, I’d never seen this. I really enjoyed it. It’s a crazy mix of dated ideas (“we’ve known each other nearly two days, so of course we’re in love!”) and ahead-of-its-time concepts. The special effects hold up incredibly well for a movie that’s almost 70 years old. I bet Gene Roddenberry loved this movie. It was like an early Star Trek episode in all the right ways, all the way up to the “our greatest enemy is ourselves” ending. And dig that crazy score!

The Time Machine

The Time Machine movie bar

After Forbidden Planet ended, someone in the row in front of me told a friend: “Forbidden Planet is great, but The Time Machine is better! It’s a classic!

He was wrong.

The Time Machine has its charms, but it’s a much weaker story (the final message seems to be “our blond-haired master race can save the world with genocide”), and more than once the special effects are either terrible mattes or “here is some stock footage that approximates the description in the voice-over.” Also: coming up with futuristic names is always a challenge, and there’s no way to know how language will shift over time, but Weena is an especially unfortunate choice.


I always make a graphic for the featured image of these posts. If I see two movies in a day I make a single combined graphic. But this one is different! I made two separate graphics, then mashed them together for the front page.


Leslie Nielsen and Anne Francis in Forbidden Planet
Rod Taylor in The Time Machine

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