Author Topic: The Absent Minded Professor (1961)  (Read 1801 times)

Offline Antares

  • Super Heavy Poster
  • ******
  • Posts: 4100
    • View Profile
The Absent Minded Professor (1961)
« on: May 24, 2010, 12:26:39 AM »
The Absent-Minded Professor





Year: 1961
Film Studio: Walt Disney Pictures, Walt Disney Productions
Genre: Comedy, Family
Length: 96 Min.

Director
Robert Stevenson (1905)

Writing
Bill Walsh (1913)...Screenplay
Samuel W. Taylor (1907)...Story

Producer
Bill Walsh (1913)

Cinematographer
Edward Colman (1905)

Music
George Bruns (1914)...Composer

Stars
Fred MacMurray (1908) as Prof. Ned Brainard
Nancy Olson (1928) as Betsy Carlisle
Keenan Wynn (1916) as Alonzo P. Hawk
Tommy Kirk (1941) as Biff Hawk
Leon Ames (1902) as President Rufus Daggett
Elliott Reid (1920) as Prof. Shelby Ashton
Edward Andrews (1914) as Defense Secretary
David Lewis (1916) as Gen. Singer

Review
       Has there ever been a more woeful institute of higher learning than Medfield College? With the antics and shenanigans of both the faculty and students wreaking havoc on the campus, it is a wonder that Disney’s underdog University never loss its accreditation. But putting that aside, Medfield was home to some of the fondest and funniest of Disney’s human characters over the next decade. The film that started it all was The Absent Minded Professor, starring Fred MacMurray in the title role. MacMurray had been a leading man in Hollywood for close to two decades, but with age advancing, his star status had started to dim. Fortunately for him, Walt Disney would resurrect his career much in the same way that Leslie Nielsen’s career would be rejuvenated in the 90’s, in comedy. Having played in predominantly drama films for most of his screen life, a lead role starring alongside Claudette Colbert in The Egg and I proved that he was equipped with the necessary sharpness needed for comedic timing, and his career was reborn.

       Professor Ned Brainard (MacMurray) can expound upon the principles of quantum physics or subatomic molecular materialization at the drop of a hat. But when it comes to remembering to be on time for his own wedding ceremony, he flunks out repeatedly. Twice he has left his fiancée Betsy Carlisle (Nancy Olson) alone at the altar awaiting his arrival. Though he loves her very much and looks forward to sharing eternal marital bliss with Betsy, the pursuits of science pre-dominate his thoughts and sadly, she is forsaken to suffer in solitary humiliation. Betsy truly loves Ned and agrees to give him one more chance, hoping that the third time will be a charm. On the night of his nuptials, on the verge of a scientific breakthrough, he creates a chemical reaction that causes a horrific explosion and knocks him out. When he comes to, amidst the rubble, he realizes that the chemical reaction has forged itself into an anti-gravity compound that the professor christens ‘flubber’, an acronym for flying rubber.

       Jubilant with his new discovery, he rushes over to tell Betsy the good news, still unaware that he has once again stood her up at the altar. Betsy will have nothing to do with him and after many failed attempts to get her to listen, decides to show her the power of his new discovery in an unorthodox manner. Medfield’s basketball team is pitiful; they are dwarfed by their rival and seem to lack the agility to be competitive. After a humiliating display in the first half, the professor affixes a small amount of the substance to the heels of all the players at halftime, which transforms the team to all-star caliber. They bounce and fly through the air with an ease and dexterity that puts the visiting team at odds as to what is happening before their eyes. When Medfield ends the game in victory, the professor tries to explain to Betsy that it was his invention that helped the team perform so amazingly, but Betsy is flabbergasted that Ned would take credit for the boy’s hard work.

       Enter Alonzo P. Hawk (Keenan Wynn), a Medfield alumnus with a big bankroll who witnesses the professor flying over the campus in a Model T in which he has supplanted the engine with his new invention. When Hawk tries to convince Ned that they can make a lot of money with his new invention, the professor balks at the idea. Unable to take no for an answer, Hawk tries to steal the professor’s invention by substituting another Model T with the original. Unfortunately for Ned, this happens just before representatives of the three major branches of the armed services arrive to witness the new discovery. Unaware of Hawks’ switch, the professor is humiliated before the nation’s top brass and Betsy too. Realizing that Hawk is behind the double dealing, he persuades Betsy to help him retrieve the original ‘Tin Lizzie’, which Hawk is holding in one of his warehouses.

       A few zany scenes later they have re-acquired the car and are flying their way to Washington D.C. to prove to the military that Ned is not a crank. Over the capitol they are mistaken for a U.F.O. and are subsequently chased through the heavens by jet aircraft. The hilarity of a cat and mouse game being played between an antique car and modern jet fighters’ leads to the finish of the film, as Ned is vindicated by the success of his flight to Washington. Ned and Betsy finally exchange vows and in Disney fashion, live happily ever after.  


Review Criterion
- The pinnacle of film perfection and excellence.
- Not quite an immortal film, yet a masterpiece in its own right.
- Historically important film, considered a classic.
- An entertaining film that’s fun or engaging to watch.
– A good film that’s worth a Netflix venture.
- Borderline viewable.
– A bad film that may have a moment of interest.
– Insipid, trite and sophomoric, and that's its good points.
– A film so vacuous, it will suck 2 hours from the remainder of your life.
- A gangrenous and festering pustule in the chronicles of celluloid.
« Last Edit: January 01, 2014, 03:00:43 PM by Antares »