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Forbin is the designer of an incredibly sophisticated computer that will run all of America's nuclear defenses. Shortly after being turned on, it detects the existence of Guardian, the Soviet counterpart, previously unknown to US Planners. Both computers insist that they be linked, and after taking safeguards to preserve confidential material, each side agrees to allow it. As soon as the link is established the two become a new Super computer and threaten the world with the immediate launch of nuclear weapons if they are detached. Colossus begins to give its plans for the management of the world under its guidance. Forbin and the other scientists form a technological resistance to Colossus which must operate underground. Written by
John Vogel <email@example.com>
Producer Stanley Chase said that while it's frightening to suppose a computer could take over the world, it was indeed possible. His technical advisor said that a machine like Colossus actually existed at that time. The model for Colossus was supposedly the NORAD system that controlled the US national defense systems, and that's why the computer programming center in the film was located in the Rocky Mountains (which is also the home of NORAD). The US government wouldn't allow a film crew on the NORAD grounds, so the exteriors were filmed at the Lawrence Hall of Science in Berkeley, California. The missile sites were photographed in the California desert near Palmdale. See more »
At the start The President states Colossus has control of ALL Allied defenses yet later in the movie when it chooses new targets for missiles it targets London, Rome & Denmark which have all been NATO members since 1948. See more »
Attention. By order of the President of the United States of America, and the chairman of the USSR, communications will not be restored at this time. End of message.
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This underrated science fiction/suspense drama, though arguably dated in terms of technology, is still a frightening allegory about humans allowing our technological creations to rule us.
Eric Braeden stars as Dr. Charles Forbin, who has created a supercomputer named Colossus, built solely for the purpose of controlling the nuclear defenses of the Western alliance. It isn't too long after, however, that the Russians announce that they too have built a similar computer for those same purposes on their side--Guardian. And when the two machines begin sharing information at a speed nobody can believe, an attempt is made to disable them.
This unfortunately just raises the machines' ire; and in retaliation, they launch their weapons at each other's home nations. The result is a chilling scenario that is potentially becoming all too real these days.
COLOSSUS: THE FORBIN PROJECT was not a big hit at the box office for various reasons. One is that its cast wasn't exactly well known. Another reason is that its ending isn't exactly a happy one. Still a third reason is that Universal had trouble trying to promote it in the wake of the huge success of Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY. The latter reason is obvious: Colossus and Guardian, like HAL in the Kubrick movie, become central characters here. The difference here is that while HAL malfunctions due to a programming conflict, Colossus and Guardian remain all too stable, convinced beyond a doubt that they know how to protect Mankind better than Man himself. As the computers point out: "One inevitable rule is that Mankind is his own worst enemy."
Joseph Sargent's direction is efficient, and the special effects work of Albert Whitlock still manages to work despite its obvious age. An overlooked gem in the sci-fi genre, this should be given a revival.
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