Wednesday, November 30, 2011

BLOOD OF THE VINES: FORBIDDEN PLANET


Blood Of The Vines

Wine Goes To The Movies 
With Now And Zin and Trailers From Hell

If you want to see where everybody got the ideas for their science fiction films of the past half century, watch "Forbidden Planet."  This movie is out of this world.  In fact, it was the first film to be set entirely on a planet other than Earth.  It's not unusual in Tinseltown to find folks operating on a plane of their own, but a planet of their own was simply unheard of in 1956.

The special effects - groundbreaking stuff that became an industry standard - were nominated for an Academy Award.  The Oscar was won by The Ten Commandments that year.  Another 1956 space flick was nominated for the short subject Oscar - "Gerald McBoing-Boing On Planet Moo" - but it didn't win either.  It was beaten out by "Mister Magoo's Puddle Jumper."  Aah, the scales of justice can tilt harshly.

The eerie electronic score was so far ahead of its time, it wasn't even recognized as music by the Academy, so a nomination wasn't even considered.  I'm sure the committee members saying, "That's not music" sounded much like parents in 1956 commenting on Little Richard.

"Forbidden Planet" had a robot as a supporting character - the first non-living supporting actor?  There might not have been another one until Kevin Costner played the corpse in "The Big Chill," one of his most wooden performances. 

Robert Kinoshita designed Robby the Robot, as well as the robot used in the television series "Lost In Space."  That TV robot was a precursor to a Clint Eastwood character, in that it was a Robot With No Name.

The monster in "Forbidden Planet" turns out to be an invisible trick of the mind, but it is brought into view through the use of some new-fangled 1950s technology like energy beams and force fields.  The monster appears as a big, red, flaming vision of evil, just the sort of thing you'd expect to find while vacationing in deep space.

What would a trip to another planet be without a hot blonde who likes to skinny dip?  Anne Francis does the honors while Leslie Nielsen tries not to look.

Let's try two wines for this sci-fi.  You won't need force fields to see the Big Red Monster.  This other-worldly California blend of Syrah, Zinfandel and Petite Sirah shows the kind of flavor this planet is famous for.

In honor of Anne Francis, let's look to the same company for the Blonde Bombshell, a Riesling which should help temper things after the flaming red evil appears.  It may not cool things down after the swimming pool scene, though.

Other forbidden wines:

Forbidden Fruit Winery - A Canadian winery using all sorts of fruit for their organic wines.

Robot Wine Rack - In case you're worried that watching old movies and sniffing wine isn't nerdy enough, the Robot Wine Rack is for you.  It's no Robbie, but it does come with an optional moustache. - $45

Wine Tasting Robot - This is a real creation, from NEC System Technologies.  The cyber-sommelier can actually tell the difference between different types of wine and make a recommendation.  It probably can't write very eloquently about it, though.  I hope.