Alarm in space

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German title Alarm in space
Original title Forbidden Planet
Country of production United States
original language English
Publishing year 1956
length 99 minutes
Age rating FSK 12
Director Fred M. Wilcox
script Cyril Hume
production Nicholas Nayfack
music Bebe Barron and
Louis Barron
camera George J. Folsey
cut Ferris Webster
Warren Stevens, Richard Anderson and Earl Holliman at San Diego Comic Con (2006)

Alarm im Weltall (Original title: Forbidden Planet , English for "Forbidden Planet") is an American science fiction film from 1956 , based on the play The Tempest by William Shakespeare .


The space cruiser C-57D is on a search and rescue mission to the 4th planet of the Altair system. Twenty years earlier, the spaceship Bellerophon (named after the eponymous hero of Greek mythology) had disappeared there with a group of colonists on board. However, the crew of the cruiser under Captain Adams only met a scientist named Dr. Morbius on. He and his daughter Altaira, who was born on the planet, are the only survivors.

Morbius explains to Adams that the presence of the rescue team is not necessary because he and his daughter are provided with everything they need by the robot "Robby", which Morbius designed himself . The colonists were all killed by some inexplicable force. Only Morbius and his wife, who died of natural causes a few months after the birth of their daughter Altaira, were immune to this force. While Morbius presses for the soldiers to leave the planet again, Adams suspects a secret behind the doctor's strange demeanor and the inexplicable technical achievements that Morbius shows them. Adams soon sees himself confirmed when important parts of the spaceship are destroyed and the ship's propulsion system is sabotaged. Adams wants to confront Morbius and discovers his secret research documents and a secret passage that is in Morbius' laboratory.

Reluctantly, Dr. Morbius an explanation: The planet was once the home of the Krell, who were technically and ethically superior to humans, but whose civilization was inexplicably destroyed in one fell swoop. No signs of their civilization have been left on the surface - but beneath the surface of the planet there are huge functioning machinery, laboratories and huge libraries in which the knowledge of the Krell is stored. Morbius managed to acquire some knowledge of the Krell and to operate the machines.

While Adams urges Morbius to share his findings with the earth, the crew of the space cruiser is attacked by an invisible creature. The team can only resist the attack with difficulty; several crew members die. Adams decides to leave Altair 4 and take Morbius and his daughter, who has fallen in love with him, with them for their safety. When Morbius refuses and Altaira decides to leave her father, the invisible monster attacks Morbius' house. Adams finds out that the monster is the professor's angry subconscious that was unknowingly released when using a machine that can materialize thoughts, which also explains the destruction of the Krell culture. Only now does Morbius recognize the repressed truth, admits his guilt and thus defeats his own monster, who first injures him fatally out of anger about his actions.

Morbius then activates the self-destruction of Altair 4 with the last of his strength, which is to take place 24 hours later, and then asks Captain Adams to save his daughter, which he does. 24 hours later, the spaceship with the remaining crew, Altaira and Robby on board, observed the explosion from a safe distance. Adams wants to ensure that Morbius and what is happening on the planet are not forgotten in the interest of the future existence of humanity.


Alarm in Space was not a huge commercial success, but it was extremely popular with science fiction fans. The special effects were sensational for the 1950s.

  • “Partly fantastic and interesting, partly too naive.” - 6000 films, 1963
  • "[...] old-fashioned SF adventure with a strange robot." (Rating: 2 stars = average) - Adolf Heinzlmeier and Berndt Schulz in Lexicon Films on TV. 1990
  • "Imaginative utopian adventure that borrows the plot from Shakespeare's" Tempest "; undemanding, sometimes naive entertainment. ”- Lexicon of international film



Irving Block wrote the original story for Alarms in Space . As he himself confessed, he used Shakespeare's The Tempest . The island became Altair 4, Prospero became Morbius, Miranda became Altaira, and Ariel mutated into the robot "Robby". According to the original story, the film was set to take place in 1972 (then still a long way off). However, since the creators considered it unrealistic that such technology should be available in the 1970s, the plot was moved to the 23rd century.


The film was the first ever film to depict a human-controlled spaceship as a flying saucer . A model of the cruiser C-57D, about 51 meters tall, was built for the film. This was surrounded by a large, studio-built surface from Altair IV that blended seamlessly into a painted representation of the planet's horizon. For long shots in which the spaceship could be seen, there were three models of different sizes, for example for shots in space or approach for landing on Altair IV. The models were 50, 110 and 220 cm tall. All the scenes that take place on the surface of the planet have been put together from several special effects. The robot Robby was the most expensive effect of all time at the time: at 4,900,000 US dollars for the film, the portrayal of Robby alone devoured 125,000 US dollars.

Originally MGM had been lured into thinking that the film would be cheaper because the monster was invisible. When the decision was made to indicate the outlines of the creature using trick technology, the help of draftsmen from the Walt Disney Company had to be resorted to, since the MGM no longer had its own animation studio at the time. As a result, production became considerably more expensive, which contributed to the commercial failure and discredited the science fiction genre among financiers for years. However, the film should inspire many subsequent films and thus represents a milestone in the science fiction genre.

Influence on the science fiction genre

The film was released in German cinemas in 1957, the year the first Sputnik 1 satellite was launched. At that time there was neither space travel nor was there any useful knowledge about space. Alert in space had a big impact on science fiction, especially Star Trek . Its creator Gene Roddenberry said to have been inspired by the film. One example of this is the synthetic production of food and everyday objects. While Robby the robot was responsible for it in Alarm in Space , Star Trek has so-called replicators . In addition, there are the communicators, the "simple radiation weapons" and the "United Planets". There is also a pre-form of " beaming " (dematerializing the team) when changing to sub-light speed, which is similar to beaming later. It is also similar that here, as there, the captain, the ship's doctor and the first officer take part in foreign missions. The story of the lost extraterrestrial civilization, with threatening energy beings and the captain's obligatory love affair, is similar to some of the later Star Trek episodes. Like Star Trek later , the film predicted the end of the Cold War ; the on-board doctor, Doctor Ostrow, comes from Russia.

Even George Lucas was inspired by the film and its visual effects. For example, the Krell machine halls formed the model for interior shots of the Death Star in Star Wars and for the generator hall in The Phantom Menace . The melting armored doors at the end of the film can also be found here. Furthermore, the robot Robby, who speaks a variety of foreign languages, is reminiscent of the droid C-3PO with similar abilities. Like the Star Wars series later, the trailer for Alarm in Space began with a yellow scrolling text.

Robot Robby (above) in the pinball machine Twilight Zone

The robot Robby, who appeared for the first time in the film, became his own cult figure and even years later had guest appearances in films and series, among others. a. Twilight Zone , Lost in Space , Love Boat , Columbo , Gremlins and, as a drawn version, the Simpsons . In 2004 he was inducted into the Robot Hall of Fame . The Id-Monster was created based on the model of the well-known Looney Tunes figure Gossamer.

The underground facilities of the aliens were the model for the "Big Machine" in the TV series Babylon 5 , which appears from the episode Attack of the Aliens . The two systems are almost exactly the same.

Image of women in film

Altaira occupies a special position in the context of the plot. Growing up alone with her father and the robot Robby, her socialization is characterized by any lack of role perception in the field of tension between woman and man. This manifests itself in the scene, where, as “untouched”, it is able to act in direct contact even with dangerous wild animals. The appearance of the crew of the spaceship, who are exclusively male, creates a field of tension. Initially, the naivety of Altaira is unrestrainedly exploited by some crew members by suggesting that the exchange of kisses does not represent an implicit sexual act, but corresponds to the everyday interaction of people. This loss of “untouchedness”, which she did not recognize, becomes clear in a scene in which the captain of the spaceship has to shoot a wild animal because it wants to attack Altaira. In the further course, however, a stable relationship with the captain develops, which is ultimately stronger than that with her father. In summary, an image of women corresponding to the time is presented here, which is characterized by the trick of growing up in Altaira in isolation, characterized by the absence of a female role model, as a natural behavior of women, which has to develop purely from the physique.



  • Alarm in Space premiered on April 1, 1956 at Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood. The robot Robby appeared among other things at the inauguration of the film in the lobby of the cinema.
  • The film is celebrated in the opening song Science Fiction / Double Feature of the Rocky Horror Picture Show . Also of note was the electronic soundtrack by Bebe Barron and Louis Barron , one of the first of its kind.
  • Much of the film's parts and costumes are now in a Hollywood film museum. Robby's robotic prop sold for $ 5.375 million at an auction in New York in November 2017.
  • Alarm im Weltall is the very first film in which a computer is mentioned by name (in the German version, however, computer was translated with an optical disc): When Dr. Morbius shows the crew the Krell laboratory, he says: "This is a computer screen from which I can project all of the Krell's knowledge."
  • The star Altair is by no means fictional: it is the brightest star in the constellation Eagle . (Whether a planet like Altair 4 exists is doubtful, but not impossible.)
  • The film uses the robot laws formulated by Isaac Asimov for a key scene: When the monster attacks Morbius' villa, Robby is instructed to defend the residents against the creature. The robot remains incapable of acting, however, since it recognizes the monster as a manifestation of Morbius and therefore does not attack, instead it suffers a "short circuit".


The German synchronized editing was created in 1957 in the MGM synchronization studio in Berlin-Tempelhof . The Austrian premiere took place on January 18, 1957, the German on February 5, 1957.

role actor Voice actor
Dr. Morbius Walter Pidgeon Siegfried Schürenberg
Altaira Morbius Anne Francis Marianne Mosa
Captain Adams Leslie Nielsen Wolfgang Kieling
Lieutenant Dr. Ostrow Warren Stevens Herbert Stass
Lieutenant Farman Jack Kelly Harald Juhnke
cook Earl Holliman Wolfgang Gruner
Robot Robby (voice) Marvin Miller Hans Hessling
Engineer Quinn Richard Anderson Ottokar Runze
Joe Strong James Drury Peter Schiff
Boatswain (Bosun) George D. Wallace Kurt Waitzmann


DVD release

  • Alarm in space. Special edition. 2 disc set. Warner Home Video, 2006


  • Forbidden Planet. Original MGM soundtrack. Electronic Music by Louis and Bebe Barron . Small Planet, GNP Crescendo Records , ZYX Music; Beverly Hills, Hollywood and Merenberg n.d., PRD-001

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. 6000 films. Critical notes from the cinema years 1945 to 1958. Handbook V of the Catholic film criticism, 3rd edition. Verlag Haus Altenberg, Düsseldorf 1963, pp. 15-16
  2. ^ Adolf Heinzlmeier, Berndt Schulz: Lexicon Films on TV. Extended new edition. Rasch and Röhring, Hamburg 1990, ISBN 3-89136-392-3 , p. 26
  3. Film review on TV feature film
  4. Alarm in space. In: Lexicon of International Films . Film service , accessed March 2, 2017 .Template: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used 
  5. Robot prop from "Alarm in Space": Five million dollars for "Robby" . In: Spiegel Online . November 22, 2017 ( [accessed December 8, 2018]).
  6. Alarm im Weltall (1955) in Arne Kaul's synchronous database ( Memento of the original from June 11, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. ; Retrieved November 1, 2008 @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  7. World premieres according to IMDb