The Forbin Project (1970)

100 mins | Science fiction | 4 May 1970

Director:

Joseph Sargent

Writer:

James Bridges

Producer:

Stanley Chase

Cinematographer:

Gene Polito

Production Designers:

Alexander Golitzen, John J. Lloyd

Production Company:

Universal Pictures
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HISTORY

The film was originally titled Colossus, after D. F. Jones’s 1966 novel upon which it was based. Universal Pictures’ acquisition of screen rights to Jones’s work was announced in a 12 Apr 1967 Var brief. The following day, DV reported that producer Stanley Chase had hired James Bridges to adapt the screenplay. More than a year later, Joseph Sargent was brought on to direct, the 30 Sep 1968 DV reported. Sargent lobbied the studio to cast unknowns, including Canadian actor Gordon Pinsent in the role of the U.S. president, as he believed more recognizable actors would take away from the science-fiction plot’s believability.
       As stated in the 25 Oct 1968 DV, German actor Hans Gudegast was contractually obligated to change his name to “Eric Braeden,” based on his recently signed multiple-picture deal with Universal that was set to launch with the filming of Colossus. According to DV items published between 22 Nov 1968 and 16 Dec 1968, Leonidas Ossetynski, Robert Quarry, William Traylor, Fred Holliday and Beki Baktu were also cast.
       Principal photography began 28 Oct 1968, according to a 1 Nov 1968 DV production chart. An item in the 6 Dec 1968 DV cited a $4 million budget; however, the 22 Jul 1970 LAT later claimed the picture cost less than $2 million (with an additional $1 million possibly spent during the protracted post-production period). The first week of shooting occurred overseas in Rome, Italy, with the remainder taking place on Universal Pictures soundstages in Universal City, CA, and on location at the Lawrence Hall of Science ... More Less

The film was originally titled Colossus, after D. F. Jones’s 1966 novel upon which it was based. Universal Pictures’ acquisition of screen rights to Jones’s work was announced in a 12 Apr 1967 Var brief. The following day, DV reported that producer Stanley Chase had hired James Bridges to adapt the screenplay. More than a year later, Joseph Sargent was brought on to direct, the 30 Sep 1968 DV reported. Sargent lobbied the studio to cast unknowns, including Canadian actor Gordon Pinsent in the role of the U.S. president, as he believed more recognizable actors would take away from the science-fiction plot’s believability.
       As stated in the 25 Oct 1968 DV, German actor Hans Gudegast was contractually obligated to change his name to “Eric Braeden,” based on his recently signed multiple-picture deal with Universal that was set to launch with the filming of Colossus. According to DV items published between 22 Nov 1968 and 16 Dec 1968, Leonidas Ossetynski, Robert Quarry, William Traylor, Fred Holliday and Beki Baktu were also cast.
       Principal photography began 28 Oct 1968, according to a 1 Nov 1968 DV production chart. An item in the 6 Dec 1968 DV cited a $4 million budget; however, the 22 Jul 1970 LAT later claimed the picture cost less than $2 million (with an additional $1 million possibly spent during the protracted post-production period). The first week of shooting occurred overseas in Rome, Italy, with the remainder taking place on Universal Pictures soundstages in Universal City, CA, and on location at the Lawrence Hall of Science in Berkeley, CA. Production was scheduled to end in Jan 1969. According to the 22 Jul 1970 LAT, principal photography was completed in less than forty-five days.
       The title was changed three times prior to theatrical release, as noted in DV items dated between 20 Feb 1969 and 9 Oct 1969, to Colossus 1980; The Day the World Changed Hands; and finally, The Forbin Project.
       The 22 Jul 1970 LAT stated that producer Stanley Chase was shocked to discover The Forbin Project as his in-flight movie en route to the East Coast for a sneak preview screening. Following rumors that the film “couldn’t be put together,” Chase lobbied the studio to release The Forbin Project in New York City as a “one-city test release.” The picture opened there on 4 May 1970 and garnered good reviews but disappointing box-office returns. In turn, Universal decided to pull the picture from theaters, devise a new advertising campaign, and re-release it as Colossus: The Forbin Project in Oct 1970.
       When the film opened in New York, the 5 May 1970 NYT review noted that it was rated M (suggested for mature audiences) by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). By the time it opened in Los Angeles, CA, on 26 Aug 1970, the MPAA had stopped rating films M and replaced the rating with “GP” (which later became “PG,” for parental guidance suggested). Thus, the 26 Aug 1970 LAT review identified the rating as GP.
       Following its initial opening at Pacific’s Picwood Theatre, the film was set to receive a wider release in Los Angeles on 10 Nov 1970, as part of a double-bill with Anne of the Thousand Days (1969, see entry), the 2 Nov 1970 LAT reported.
       A Var box-office chart published on 25 Nov 1970 listed Colossus: The Forbin Project’s cumulative earnings in select markets as $424,792.
       Nearly thirty-seven years after the film was released, Universal and Imagine Entertainment announced plans to re-make the picture as a potential directing vehicle for Ron Howard, with Brian Grazer set to produce, according to a 19 Apr 2007 DV news item. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
13 Apr 1967
p. 3.
Daily Variety
30 Sep 1968
p. 6.
Daily Variety
25 Oct 1968
p. 2.
Daily Variety
1 Nov 1968
p. 14.
Daily Variety
21 Nov 1968
p. 8.
Daily Variety
22 Nov 1968
p. 4.
Daily Variety
5 Dec 1968
p. 4.
Daily Variety
6 Dec 1968
p. 3.
Daily Variety
10 Dec 1968
p. 6.
Daily Variety
16 Dec 1968
p. 13.
Daily Variety
20 Feb 1969
p. 3.
Daily Variety
23 May 1969
p. 2.
Daily Variety
9 Oct 1969
p. 3.
Daily Variety
30 Mar 1970
p. 3.
Daily Variety
19 Apr 2007
p. 5.
Los Angeles Times
22 Jul 1970
Section H, p. 9.
Los Angeles Times
14 Aug 1970
Section G, p. 1, 11.
Los Angeles Times
26 Aug 1970
Section F, p. 1, 13.
Los Angeles Times
2 Nov 1970
Section F, p. 15.
New York Times
5 May 1970
p. 57.
Variety
12 Apr 1967
p. 3.
Variety
27 Aug 1969
p. 17.
Variety
13 May 1970
p. 9.
Variety
29 Jul 1970
p. 7.
Variety
25 Nov 1970
p. 11.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
MUSIC
Mus supv
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Makeup
Hairstyles
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit prod mgr
Scr supv
Tech adv
Equipment furnished by
Equipment furnished by
Russian tech adv
Dial coach
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Colossus by D. F. Jones (London, 1966).
AUTHOR
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
The Day the World Changed Hands
Colossus 1980
Colossus
Colossus: The Forbin Project
Release Date:
4 May 1970
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 4 May 1970 at the Cinema Rendezvous
Los Angeles opening: 26 August 1970 at Pacific's Picwood Theatre
Production Date:
28 October 1968--January 1969
Copyright Claimant:
Universal Pictures
Copyright Date:
8 April 1970
Copyright Number:
LP39190
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Technicolor
Widescreen/ratio
Panavision
Duration(in mins):
100
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
22037
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Charles Forbin, director of a U. S. defense project, announces to the world that Colossus, a computer programmed to defend the Western world, is finally operational; the self-contained system, located beneath the Rocky Mountains, will provide the ultimate nuclear deterrent to war. The computer is in operation for only a short time before it detects the presence of Guardian, a similar system located in the Soviet Union, and Colossus requests to be put in contact with his counterpart. The unwary scientists comply, and soon the two systems are communicating in computer language. American cold war strategists, fearful that secret information will be disclosed, pressure the President into severing the line of communication. The connection is then terminated by joint United States-Russian consent, but Colossus, now assuming a personality of its own, threatens retaliation unless the line is restored. Colossus and Guardian prepare to launch a missile attack upon each other's countries. At the last minute, the Americans and Russians restore communication, but not before one of the U. S. armed missiles destroys a Russian town. Forbin and his Russian counterpart, Dr. Kuprin, make plans to destroy the computers, but the plot is detected, and the computers, now working together, order Kuprin's execution. Forbin, placed under close surveillance by Colossus, continues to plan the overthrow of the computers; with his attractive chief aide, Cleo Markham, posing as his mistress, Forbin receives permission from Colossus to spend several nights alone with her. Together they attempt to overload the computer, but it learns of their plans and orders the execution of two technicians aiding in the plot. After blowing up missile sites in both the United States and Russia in retaliation for ... +


Charles Forbin, director of a U. S. defense project, announces to the world that Colossus, a computer programmed to defend the Western world, is finally operational; the self-contained system, located beneath the Rocky Mountains, will provide the ultimate nuclear deterrent to war. The computer is in operation for only a short time before it detects the presence of Guardian, a similar system located in the Soviet Union, and Colossus requests to be put in contact with his counterpart. The unwary scientists comply, and soon the two systems are communicating in computer language. American cold war strategists, fearful that secret information will be disclosed, pressure the President into severing the line of communication. The connection is then terminated by joint United States-Russian consent, but Colossus, now assuming a personality of its own, threatens retaliation unless the line is restored. Colossus and Guardian prepare to launch a missile attack upon each other's countries. At the last minute, the Americans and Russians restore communication, but not before one of the U. S. armed missiles destroys a Russian town. Forbin and his Russian counterpart, Dr. Kuprin, make plans to destroy the computers, but the plot is detected, and the computers, now working together, order Kuprin's execution. Forbin, placed under close surveillance by Colossus, continues to plan the overthrow of the computers; with his attractive chief aide, Cleo Markham, posing as his mistress, Forbin receives permission from Colossus to spend several nights alone with her. Together they attempt to overload the computer, but it learns of their plans and orders the execution of two technicians aiding in the plot. After blowing up missile sites in both the United States and Russia in retaliation for the sabotage attempt, Colossus tries to convince Forbin that they can coexist peacefully, as long as the computer is in control. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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