Film (1961). Walt Disney. Directed by Robert Stevenson. Written by Bill Walsh. Cast includes Fred MacMurray, Nancy Olson and Keenan Wynn. 97 minutes. Black and white.
Historically important as the financially successful template for a great many lightweight, comparatively low-budget sf comedies from the Disney studio, though it was not their first live-action fantasy comedy – that had been The Shaggy Dog (1959). Subsequent movies in a similar vein include The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes (1969), The Love Bug (1969) and The Cat from Outer Space (1978); because these are largely assembly-belt products aimed at children, they do not receive entries in this volume. The Absent Minded Professor, perhaps the best, features MacMurray as a high-school science teacher who accidentally invents "flubber" (flying rubber), an Antigravity substance he fits in a Model-T Ford. The flying scenes (matte work by Peter Ellenshaw) are astonishingly proficient for the period, but the science is puerile, the humour broad and the characters stereotyped. MacMurray gives one of his most charmingly deft performances.
The sequel was Son of Flubber (1963). [PN]
see also: Elements.
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