In 1956, MGM, the studio that once had more stars than there were in the heavens, sent a number of minor luminaries skyward on a trek to the planet Altair Five. Loosely based on Shakespeares THE TEMPEST, FORBIDDEN PLANET has much to recommend it, but also a lot that gets in the way of the film achieving true greatness. Walter Pidgeon plays mad scientist Morbius (the Prospero figure) without distinction; he might just as well be playing Florenz Ziegfeld in FUNNY GIRL (196 . Anne Francis is saddled with the incredibly sexist role of the ultra-educated Altaira (the Miranda substitute), who uses her remarkable intellect towell, to design dresses. Robby the Robot (Ariel) is one of filmdoms most fabulous automatons, but most of his screen time is spent in humorless comic-relief encounters with Earl Holliman. The big climax takes place offscreen; MGM ran out of time and money and never filmed the final confrontation between Morbius and his Caliban, the Monster from the Id.