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Tobor the Great (1954)

Approved | | Sci-Fi | 1 September 1954 (USA)
A young boy-genius befriends his grandfather's robot, designed as a test pilot for space travel and coveted by foreign spies.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Dr. Ralph Harrison
...
Janice Roberts
...
Brian 'Gadge' Roberts
...
Prof. Arnold Nordstrom
...
The Foreign Spy-Chief
Henry Kulky ...
Paul - Spy-Henchman
Franz Roehn ...
Karl
Hal Baylor ...
Max - Spy-Henchman
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Storyline

As projected here, a thinly-disguised NASA, working with nuclear rockets, is ready for manned flights in the mid-fifties...but Dr. Ralph Harrison doesn't think so, and resigns in protest. Colleague Prof. Nordstrom promptly enlists his aid in developing an alternative robot Spaceman! Naturally, foreign spies are keenly interested... Uses documentary footage of early space research. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Man-Made monster with every human emotion

Genres:

Sci-Fi

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

1 September 1954 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Vingança do Monstro  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Goofs

A thug rips open the back of Gadge's shirt, which is back in one piece soon after. See more »

Quotes

Brian 'Gadge' Robertson: Gee, Tobor, you're wonderful!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl 3-D (2005) See more »

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User Reviews

The Ultimate Kid's-Fantasy-Come-True!
1 December 2001 | by (Fayetteville, GA) – See all my reviews

Watch this one with child-like eyes and you'll have a great time. Tobor ('robot' spelled backwards) is the invention of an elderly scientific genius who develops a robot to serve as the pilot for dangerous space flights in place of human astronauts. The inventor's grandson (Billy Chapin) befriends the robot during the development of its complex brain and artificial personality. Commie spies kidnap the inventor and the boy, attempting to get their hands on the valuable robot.

Tobor is incapable of speech, which gives the robot an interesting quality of mystery and strangeness. But he does have the ability to sense human thoughts and emotions. In other words, he can tell when someone is up to no good!

In the climax, Tobor has to break out of his own lab to rescue the boy from the evil commies who kidnapped the youth to gain control of the robot. Although Tobor is less agile that a human being, he moves around much better than Robby or Gort -- which comes in handy when Tobor has to lift the back end of the bad guy's car and prevent them from escaping!

Tobor's physical design is pretty impressive. Although it doesn't have the aesthetic appeal of Robby or Gort, he is solidly constructed and a pleasure to watch in action. The movie includes a scene in which the inventor opens up Tobor's chest to show his interior to a group of reporters at a press conferences when Tobor is presented to the public. Obviously the reason for the scene is show the audience that this is no mere suit with a man inside. It's a real robot!

It's a nice little touch in a movie designed to inspire younger viewers . . . and to entertain older ones.

'Tobor the Great' is a terrific kid's-fantasy-come-true story. Admitttedly, the direction by Lee Sholem is decidedly unskilled, and young Chapin is a mediocre actor at best (he's no Michel Ray of 'The Space Children', I'm sorry to say), but Charles Drake ('It Came from Outer Space') holds his own as the boy's father. William Shallert ('The Monolith Monsters' and several other 1950s classics) plays one of the reporters in the scene mentioned earlier.

A prerecorded tape was available a few years ago, but you'll have trouble finding it now. If a DVD comes out, it's worth the money if you have a soft spot in your heart for the sincere and unique efforts the 1950s sci-fi films.


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