INVISIBLE BOY, THE
(director: Herman Hoffman; screenwriters: Cyril Hume/from the story by Edmund Cooper; cinematographer: Harold E. Wellman; editor: John D. Faure; music: Les Baxter; cast: Richard Eger (Timmie Merrinoe), Philip Abbott (Dr. Merrinoe), Diane Brewster (Mary Merrinoe), Dennis McCarthy (Colonel Machlin), Harold J. Stone (General Swayne), Robert H. Harris (Professor Allerton), Robbie the Robot (Robbie); Runtime: 89; MPAA Rating: G; producer: Nicholas Nayfack; MGM; 1957)
“Adults as well as children should be entertained by this sci-fier that succeeds without much technological gadgetry, instead relying on its charm.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
It’s based on a short story by Edmund Cooper, which differed from the movie in that it contained no robots. The real star in this sleeper sci-film is Robbie the Robot, borrowed from the 1956 Forbidden Planet. The Invisible Boy is perceptive of the ’50s scene, its cold war paranoia, suburban concerns and parental responsibilities. Herman Hoffman directs with tongue-in-cheek and with much wit and humor.
A scientist (Philip Abbott) allows his 10-year-old son Timmie Merrinroe (Richard Eger) to repair a disused robot, Robbie, brought back from the future during a time travel experiment, which becomes his playmate. But when the robot blocks his childishly naughty fun activities, the kid uses his father’s super-computer Univac to remove it. But Univac has been invaded by an alien intelligence that wants to take over the world and places Robbie under the control of the hostile alien force. The main action revolves around a rocket launch to destroy the world, with the robot at the controls, that will enable it to control the earth’s orbit. But Timmie stows away on board the rocket and heroically brings the robot under control to save the day.
This enjoyable little film had lines that were both uproariously silly and right on message; such as Timmie’s mother (Brewster) saying in her best 1950s inflection, “Timmie, if you don’t bring that rocketship back this instant, you’ll get the spanking of your life!” And the more serious one said by Timmie, “You have to learn all you can.”
Adults as well as children should be entertained by this sci-fier that succeeds without much technological gadgetry, instead relying on its charm.
REVIEWED ON 5/9/2004 GRADE: B