Colossus: The Forbin Project (1970)

Article 1796 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 2-13-2006
Posting Date: 7-13-2006
Directed by Joseph Sargent
Featuring Eric Braeden, Susan Clark, Gordon Pinsent

A giant super-computer built for the defense of the United States hooks up to a similar computer in the Soviet Union. They combine forces to place mankind under their control.

This is perhaps the best of the evil supercomputer movies I’ve seen so far. It’s certainly one of the most intelligent, but I think that its best quality may be that it is so sneaky. In some ways, Colossus doesn’t seem quite as big a threat as he is; certainly, he is underestimated by everyone, including his creator, and it is this failure to take proper measure of its foe that spells disaster for mankind. There are a number of interesting points to the movie. I think it is significant that the computers in this movie were designed for defense, because one of the ironies is that a machine designed to release us from fear ends up being a thing to be feared itself. I like some of the other touches, such as the fact that in dealing with the Russians, the movie decides to have interpreters present rather than having everyone speak English. For me, the movie’s most chilling moment when the computer announces the execution of two programmers followed immediately by the next move in a chess game he is playing with his creator. I don’t recognize most of the cast members, but William Schallert is instantly recognizable, and it is interesting to note that both Robert Cornthwaite and Paul Frees (as the voice of Colossus) appeared together in that earlier science fiction classic, THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD .

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