CastWalter Pidgeon .... Dr. Edward Morbius
Anne Francis .... Altaira Morbius
Leslie Nielsen .... Commander John J. Adams
Warren Stevens .... Lt. 'Doc' Ostrow
Jack Kelly .... Lt. Jerry Farman
Richard Anderson .... Chief Engineer Quinn
Earl Holliman .... James Dirocco, the cook
Robby the Robot .... Robbie the Robot
George Wallace .... Bosun
Robert Dix .... Grey (as Bob Dix)
Jimmy Thompson .... Youngerford
James Drury .... Joe Strong
Harry Harvey Jr. .... Randall
Roger McGee .... Lindstrom
Peter Miller .... Moran
For twenty years, Morbius tells the commander, he has been reconstructing the history and some of the minor technologies (such as Robby) of the Krell, the extinct natives. They had had a technology far in advance of that of the humans, but had all died two hundred thousand years before in one mysterious night of destruction. Morbius shows the crew a Krell nursery, which includes an "educator" machine that instantly killed one person who tried it. He explains that it put him into a coma for almost two days, though he recovered with a doubled IQ.
Things get interesting for the captain when he meets Morbius' beautiful but extremely na´ve daughter, Altaira (Anne Francis). Nineteen years old, she is very curious about human relations. The commander and his executive officer compete for the privilege of enlightening her on this topic, establishing the tradition so avidly followed by James T. Kirk.
That night, while Morbius sleeps in the Krell nursery, power meters all round the walls start lighting up and the ship is attacked by an invisible monster made of pure energy. This creature is a spectacular special effect: a roaring, gigantic armless biped revealed only in outline by the energy from the ship's defensive neutron-particle-beam guns that flicker over its surface. Morbius is awakened by his daughter, screaming from a nightmare. The attacker vanishes and the power meters revert back to near zero.
Later, the ship's doctor sneaks in to use the educator machine. Before he dies from its effects, he gasps out his revelation: the huge machine was designed to let the Krell materialize anything they wanted at a mere thought. But: "They forgot one thing, John. Monsters! Monsters from the Id!" Though the Krell considered themselves civilized, their subconscious minds were unleashed by the almost limitless power of the Machine. The race was wiped out in one night of frenzied destruction, as it acted out their darkest subconscious urges.
With this clue, the commander realises that Morbius' sessions with the Educator had attuned his mind to the machinery. Although Morbius' conscious mind was not strong enough to control the Machine, his subconscious could and did, directing the attacks first against the Bellerophon party when they voted to return to Earth, and now the rescue ship. His deepest desire is simply to be left alone to study the Krell, and his subconscious is using the Machine to fulfill that wish. Ultimately, Altaira declares her love for the commander and chooses to leave the planet with him, despite the risks posed by this defiance of her father.
In the climactic attack, the monster breaks into the inner sanctum to which the principals have fled - the Krell nursery with its power monitors. Morbius, finally accepting the awful truth that the enemy is his own subconscious, throws himself between the monster and his daughter. He is mortally injured, causing the monster to disappear. As he lies dying, he directs the commander to initiate the self-destruction of the Machine. He has realized that it is far too dangerous to be used by any race that can not fully control its subconscious desires
[Source of plot summary: Wikipedia. Text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License]
Related entry science fiction involving extraterrestrials on television and film
Related category SCIENCE FICTION
Home • About • Copyright © The Worlds of David Darling • Encyclopedia of Alternative Energy • Contact