Assignment four: Visualising the ‘other’

Assignment Four of the Understanding Visual Culture course requires the student to choose one or more topics covered in Part four: Looking and Subjectivity and to write a formal academic essay critiquing a chosen text in terms of these topics. My essay focuses on Richard Dyer’s ideas on ‘whiteness’ and Laura Mulvey’s thoughts on ‘gendering the gaze’. My chosen text is the 1956 film Forbidden Planet directed by Fred M Wilcox. The stars of the film are Walter Pidgeon, Anne Francis and Leslie Nielsen.  The characters and plot of the film are thought by many to be based on Shakespeare’s Tempest.  It was the first science fiction film to be based entirely on another planet away from Earth. On its release it failed to capture the imagination of audiences but now it is a cult classic, and is seen as a precursor to many subsequent science fiction films.

Francis and robot Robbie - key characters from the film Forbidden Planet

Francis and robot Robbie – key characters from the film Forbidden Planet

My text can be found here:

Forbidden Planet Text

And my tutor’s feedback is here:

Tutor Feedback Assignment Four

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1 Comment

  1. I always viewed this film as rather ‘innocent’ – rather like a grown up version of “Flash Gordon” series I used to watch at the Saturday children’s matinee. However, you’ve certainly brought out the hidden depths here which are maybe why it’s now seen as a cult classic.


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