I watched another old science-fiction flick from my youth, Colossus: The Forbin Project (1970), and found it pretty good. And just as I remembered it. As science fiction goes, it is hackneyed, but as a fable in the Frankenstein mode, to which it refers, it is lively and entertaining. The story is simple: Forbin builds a super computer to run the missile defense of the USA with the support of the Kennedyesque president; machine is turned on and notices immediately the existence of another similar machine. Ooops, another CIA intelligence failure – the USSR has its own about to go online.
The machines do a memory-meld, and take over the world, for the good of man, with the threat of nuclear detonation as the stick to beat humanity into doing what is in its best interest. Along the way, the machine orders the execution of people who try to sabotage its plans, most memorably, Forbin’s Russian colleague, with whom he plots in a supposedly secret Roman meeting.
The images that stayed with me through all these years are two: At a nuclear missile silo, the CIA director calmly lights a cigarette as men frantically run around, pointlessly, seconds before the warhead is exploded as punishment for sabotage attempts; Forbin and his pretty assistant in bed, in a ruse that poses them as lovers, secretly passing information on their plots to derail the machine. Even as a kid, I knew that this was just to spice up the flick: the machine wouldn’t have been so dumb.
The film has a lot of nice touches, such as the T-shirts with the Colossus Project logo that kids wear, even as the machine is announcing its enslavement of the world population – Hey! it looks cool! I also enjoyed the scene in which the CIA head tries to explain how they missed the Russian project: Guess it wasn’t a slam-dunk.
I wonder if the executives at Googol know about this film?