The connections between the cinema and science fiction should be many and constant.
This is a science fiction era we live in and the cinema is a science fictional device, that is, a machine which, only a few short years ago, would have been looked upon as impossible, miraculous, beyond the ken of the ordinary person or even the extraordinary person.
But now – suddenly - this one “empathy” machine has been given into the hands of mankind, whereby, if used well, we can:
Find ourselves in the body of a white man if we are black...
…the body of a black man if we are white
We can be Baptist while remaining Catholic
We can be woman and remain man
We can be the dwarf while we are 6’ tall
Ugly if handsome and handsome if ugly.
So with this one “machine” alone much in the world changed, in good, and in bad directions.
the projection machine and the power
Hitler used this invention to empathize attention to a false image of Germany. It follows that any invention is a means to power and therefore, since we live among robots, one would imagine we would be curious about the ideas embodied in our machines, how they came about, and how they were fixed immutably in steel and plastic.
But, surprisingly, there has been little contact between the idea-in-the-machine and one of the machines - cinema - itself.
This is a great loss to us all.
our robot children
- Unless we continually examine our dilemma, man teemed about by robots, we cannot hope to remember that these devices out of Wells & Verne are our own children and must be called to order and summoned to better directions.
This, It seems to me, would make for exciting filmaking.
The field is almost untouched.
There have been a number of s.f. movies which are valid and Important.
Things to Come in its day, was far ahead of its time and, if memory serves me, quite remarkable.
The Day the Earth Stood Still strikes me as a fine attempt to speak to mankind today about its problems on Earth.
My own outline and freatment (I was not allowed to work on the screenplay) became a moderately good movie It Came from Outer Space, tho it must be admitted the theme of the fflm - ”a thing may look hostile but not necessarily be hostile” - was more important than the film itself, due to the studio feeling it had to inject close-ups of the monsters, which frightened no one and thus watered down the impact.
Breaking the Sound Barrier would have been an s.f. film 30 years ago… as it is it takes the materials of s.f. right up to the edge of Space for a moving experience all around; a fine job by David Lean.
Forbidden Planet’s main idea is of a Herman Melville and much of the latter part of the film is most exciting both as to concept and technical execution. Unfortunately the film is marred by mediocre performances, direction and writing, which include the usual “female mush” and assorted vulgarities having to do with Robby the Robot. I have rarely envied a concept as much as this one, however, and would have loved to have had a chance to write about the “Id that all unknowingly rears itself up in monster form to destroy man.” Truly, this is an idea worthy of attention, and it is regrettable it was shunted off into the hands of incompetents.
There may be a dozen other s.f. films I cannot recall now, this morning, of good quality. If I have forgotten them for the time being, I hope to be forgiven by those who remember.
bradbury’s film ambitions
I would like to see my The Martian Chronicles done, in Todd-AO or Cinerama. I have a great enthusiasm for Cinerama and feel it has yet to be tested in the right directions with proper materials.
I would also like to do a trio or quartet of my s.f. stories, especially stories like “The Veldt”, “The Pedestrian”, “Zero Hour”; etc. etc.
Before I die, God willing many years from now, I would like to work for the following directors: David Lean, Kurosawa, Fellini, Bergman and Zinneman.
I have already had the great pleasure of working one entire summer with Sir Carol Reed, on the s.f. short novel “And the Rock Cried Out”. Sir Carol and I have tried to get financing on this for many years, since 1957, but because of its political nature we have never been able to move the project. He is an admirable man and I would like to work with him again.
I would also like to work with Jack Clayton, whom I met while working on Moby Dick.
I am looking forward, now, to Truffaut’s production of Fahrenheit 451 with great excitement. I am sure he will do an absolutely fantstic job.
the mind molders
My literary forefathers are Wells, Verne, Edgar Rice Burroughs, H. Rider Haggard, Sax Rohmer, Aldous Huxley, Victor Appleton who wrote the s.f. Tom Swift series in my childhood, L. Frank Baum who wrote the Oz books, Robert Louis Stevenson, Mark Twain, John Steinbeck, Win. Faulkner, Thos. Wolfe, John Collier, Ernest Hemingway & Jessamyn West
sci-fi a la Ray
I have a very personal definition of s.f. which means man lost in the maze of his machineries and how to find a way out to light again.
I am not interested in how to build an atom bomb but only in how to use the power of the atom to build man into a better shape.
To guess possible futures based on possible machines which sum up mankind’s philosophies in portable concretized shapes is the business of s.f. writers.
But, again, I would prefer not to guess machines so much as man’s reactions to said machines.