THE ABSENT-MINDED PROFESSOR
US, 1960, 97 minutes, Black and white.
Fred Mac Murray, Nancy Olson, Tommy Kirk, Keenan Wynn, Leon Ames, Ed Wynn, Edward Andrews.
Directed by Robert Stevenson.
The Absent- Minded Professor has become a Disney classic. It has good special effects and a pleasant performance by Fred Mac Murray who was a good standby in many Disney films, and direction was by Robert Stevenson who for over 15 years directed many Disney features, including Mary Poppins. The film was so popular that a sequel was made, called Son of Flubber. It was remade with plenty of special effects in 1997 with Robin Williams as Flubber.
1. The status of this film as a Disney classic? Popularity. sequel? The qualities of entertainment and perennial interest?
2. The importance of black and white photography? Tricks? The blend of fantasy and realism,, cinematic techniques for this?
3. Audience response to science, inventions in the future,, admiration for scientists, the jokes about absent-minded scientists? The film's emphasis on audience interest in cars? The patriotic background of the '60s, American defence?
4. How interesting and enjoyable was the plot if taken straightforwardly and fairly lightly seriously? The plot seen as a satire on America, inventions and technology. progress, government use of technology?
5. How engaging was the character of the professor? Seeing him at lectures, the quality of his experiments, forgetting his marriage, even with the reminders and the notes? As a romantic person wanting to marry? The balancing of flubber with his marriage?
6. How much of the enjoyment of the film came from the flubber? The special effects, the main examples of the use of flubber e.g. with the car, sport, dancing?
7. The highlights of the film and the highlights of the comedy with flubber: the basketball match, the way it was filmed, the dramatic need for the college team to win? The dance and the professor's dancing? The car, the police crashes? Alonzo Hawke bouncing outside his house? Driving sidewards along the wall? The flight to Washington and hiding in the cloud?
8. How attractive was the character of Betsy? Her love for the professor, her lack of faith in him? Her change of heart, supporting him? A conventional heroine, satisfying for this film?
9. Shelby and the satire on the self-satisfied academic? His jealousy, relationship with Betsy and his selfishness? His attitude towards the professor?
10. Alonzo Hawke as the villain? A satire on the self-made man and his greed? The pressures on his sons. his betting against his son's team? The books and the henchmen, his wanting to steal the flubber? His comeuppance with his bouncing outside the house?
11. The satire on the Defence Department., the F17ashington meetings. the three executives rushing to get the flubber? The visit to Washington and its satire?
12. The climax of the film with the rescue of the couple? The role of the car, the humour of the fight?
13. The humour of the visit to Washington? The patriotic background of the success? Was this happy ending appropriate?
14. What are the values in this kind of film? The traditional and wholesome values that are explored and reinforced? Is this a good thing? The use of fantasy for an optimistic outlook? Insight into America and satirical laughs?