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COLOSSUS: THE FORBIN PROJECT


STARRING: Eric Braeden, Susan Clark, Gordon Pinsent, William Schallert, Alex Rodine, Leonid Rostoff

1970, 100 Minutes, Directed by: Joseph Sargent


It is the height of the Cold War and the United States has built an enormous computer aptly named “Colossus” to control all its nuclear weapons. This effectively removes any decision-making and / or control from humans including even the youngish Kennedy look-alike President.

Even if you haven’t read any science fiction at all, you will know that this is a Bad Idea, and it is obvious that no-one in his administration has seen what HAL was up to in 2001: A Space Odyssey, least of all the computer’s creator Charles Forbin. (Ah, it was probably a hippie thing anyway . . .)

Soon it becomes apparent that there has been a major security leak and that the Russians have also built themselves a similar supercomputer to handle their defense. Now the world’s two major nuclear stockpiles are completely in the hands of computers. Definitely not a good thing, and it is only a question of time until the two computers start going haywire, but not in quite the way you would expect.

This 1970 computer-gone-amok thriller has a few plot twists up its sleeves and by the end you’ll remember just how much movies from the 1970s differ from the ones making their way to the megaplexes nowadays. Hint: it won’t end the way you suspect and it will actually have something to say in the process . . .

Sure, Colossus: The Forbin Project has dated rather badly not just with the Cold War being long over, but as regards technology (dig those computers with the spool tapes, etc.), fashions, etc. However, it still has something to say about the nature of political power and control as well as human nature that is sadly still relevant to this day.

Slow and talky at first, Colossus will reward the patient viewer who isn’t looking for any flashy special effects.

Recommended for serious SF fans.

(Colossus: The Forbin Project is based upon a novel of the same name by D.F. Jones.)
 


 

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