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Friday, November 18, 2011

THE INVISIBLE BOY (1957)

M-G-M scraped the bowl to find a second-helping of Robbie the Robot, the breakout ‘personality’ from FORBIDDEN PLANET/’56, in this cheaply made (and very weird) Kiddie Matinee pic. (Originally shown in sepia-tinted prints!) No longer set far in the future, this present day Cold War story has Robbie in storage, sitting in pieces till an under-achieving boy screws him back together. The son of a brilliant scientist, the kid’s been turned into an instant genius after being left alone with his dad’s Top-Secret ‘electronic brain.’ This rebel computer has started to think on its own, and it plans to use Robbie & this newly invisible boy to take over the world! Will the nerdy father hand over the coded control numbers; or stoically watch as Robbie the Robot dismembers his disobedient boy? Er, once the kid returns to his normal ‘visible’ state. As a study in parental indifference, lax military security, God-like sacrifices a la Abraham & Isaac, and eavesdropping computers who only pretend to be asleep, there’s a lot of odd ideas bubbling just below the surface of this shoddy little pic. Too bad it’s in such a lousy production. Even the kid, Richard Eyer, a standout brat in William Wyler’s FRIENDLY PERSUASION/’54, stinks up the joint.

DOUBLE-BILL: Rent a set of LOST IN SPACE tv episodes and have a Robbie the Robot fest.

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