Retro Review: Colossus: The Forbin Project, A Sci-Fi Black Comedy?

1970’s Colossus: The Forbin Project is something of a hidden gem. Joseph Sargent’s sci-fi movie posits a Twilight Zone style scenario where the scientist of the picture’s title invents a super-computer to handle the decision making and strategy of the USA military.


All to avoid human error…


Colossus: The Forbin Project (1970) - Official Trailer (HD)


But almost as soon as it goes online, Colossus (the computer) has other ideas about the gig. I’ll say this for the movie, it doesn’t hang about. Moments into the picture, things go spectacularly (in the vernacular) ‘tits up’. Colossus decides that humanity would be much better served if he (by virtue of a having a male voice) controls everything.


And, going by the state of the world today, maybe he’s right.


World peace, plenty and the cultivation of knowledge are his big thing – but woe betide anyone who wants to prevent his complete domination. Colossus still feels the need for his creator Forbin, so the hapless scientist is kept under his thumb virtually 24/7, with his computer creation becoming a bit of a voyeur. Forbin has to rope in a female scientist to pose as his lover to gain short windows of privacy in order to scheme a way of overthrowing Colossus.


Some scenes of black comedy jolly the proceedings along nicely:


Colossus: The Forbin Project (1970) - Clip 2: Charles And Colossus Make A Martini (HD)


The picture doesn’t have a huge budget, but generally looks good, with matte work that looks similar to the following year’s Andromeda Strain.



Forbin is played by German actor Eric Braeden, who is mostly known for his work in the soap The Young & The Restless.


A shame, since he’s very good in the movie, playing the role with just the right amount of irony.


Braeden was also in Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971), where he played a much nastier scientist, Dr. Otto Hasslein, who, frankly speaking, is a total shit:







Dr Otto Hasslein: The Man & His Many Moods:



The granddaddy of all “computer run amok” films, Colossus: The Forbin Project. The film’s climax is unsettling, but no more so than the actual state of world affairs in 1970. 

Avatar photo

Stephen Arnell

Culture Comment Content Provider. Portrait courtesy of artist Darren Coffield. 'Non satis me tempo'