5.2/10
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28 user 28 critic

Tobor the Great (1954)

Approved | | Sci-Fi | 1 September 1954 (USA)
A young boy-genius befriends his grandfather's robot, designed as a test pilot for space travel and coveted by foreign spies.

Director:

Lee Sholem

Writers:

Philip MacDonald (screenplay), Carl Dudley (story)
Reviews
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Charles Drake ... Dr. Ralph Harrison
Karin Booth ... Janice Roberts
Billy Chapin ... Brian Roberts
Taylor Holmes ... Prof. Arnold Nordstrom
Steven Geray ... Man with Rimless Glasses
Henry Kulky ... Paul
Franz Roehn Franz Roehn ... Karl
Hal Baylor ... Max
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Storyline

As projected here, a thinly-disguised NASA, working with nuclear rockets, is ready for manned flights in the mid-fifties...but Dr. Ralph Harrison doesn't think so, and resigns in protest. Colleague Prof. Nordstrom promptly enlists his aid in developing an alternative robot Spaceman! Naturally, foreign spies are keenly interested... Uses documentary footage of early space research. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Man-Made monster with every human emotion

Genres:

Sci-Fi

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 September 1954 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Vingança do Monstro See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The original Tobor prop and remote control device is still in existence, having been stored away safely in a private collection for more than 50 years. See more »

Goofs

A thug rips open the back of Gadge's shirt, which is back in one piece soon after. See more »

Quotes

Brian 'Gadge' Robertson: Gee, Tobor, you're wonderful!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Programmed for Pleasure (1981) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Undeveloped, formulaic 'boy and his robot' movie
19 October 2019 | by jamesrupert2014See all my reviews

Young Brian 'Gage' Roberts (Billy Chapin) finds a robot in his grandfather's secret lab and soon becomes embroiled in a sinister attempt to steal the metal man. The film is meant for children and has many of the usual elements: a precocious kid figures out things that stymie adults, ends up with some talisman that grants them 'power and autonomy' beyond their years (usually with some initial comic side effects), and ultimately saves the day. There were not a lot of early American sci-fi films of this ilk ('The Invisible Boy' (1957) is another example), but the sub-genre was very popular in Japanese kaiju and mecha fantasies (i.a. the 'Gamera' films, the 'Johnny Sokko and his Flying Robot' series). Unfortunately, even as kid's movie, Tobor is, at best, mediocre. Plodding and methodical, the film wastes too much time in setting things up (the lengthy prologue featuring V2 launches could have been dispensed with) and not enough time on establishing a rapport between Gage and Tobor, so the scene where the Robot displays 'love' for the boy (according to the grandfather) seems to come out of nowhere. The script is generally dull and the acting bland and, IMO, the titular robot somewhat awkward and clunky (but I'm not a 10-year old in the mid-50s). Oddly, due to the costume's design relative to the actor within, the towering metal man has the proportions of a dwarf. While the film is as expositional as an Ivan Tor's OSI adventure, it is far from 'hard science fiction' but it does illustrate how far back the on-going debate about manned vs. unmanned space exploration goes. Overall, 'Tobor' is a watchable, if unmemorable film for aficionados but I imagine the current crop of kids would only watch the lumbering tin man and the inept Russian-by-any-other-name spies with distain. In 1956, a pilot episode for a TV show called "Here Comes Tobor', featuring the robot and a new cast, was filmed but the series not put into production. The pilot episode ('Tobor and the Atomic Submarine') can be found on-line.


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