53 of 55 people found the following review helpful
on October 10, 2004
When this film was made in 1961, a material almost identical to Flubber was being developed by NASA for the Gemini Space Program. To avoid a threat to our national security, the release of "The Absent-Minded Professor" was delayed for six months until Walt Disney agreed to delete two scenes showing Fred MacMurray discussing its applications and uses. The missing scenes have been restored in magnificent color, and the movie seems to have a better flow than the theatrical version.
37 of 40 people found the following review helpful
on November 2, 2003
Somehow, the people in amazon mixed reviews from the B&W version and the colorized version of this film... this is causing some confusion between some consumers, so, this is a review from the B&W version.
Some time ago, Disney Company releases this movie in Full Screen and colorized... a lot of people complained because nobody (except, perhaps my mom)wants colorized version of movies in B&W; recently, they re-released it in its original form (B&W and Widescreen)
Video: Amazing!! I can't believe that this movie is almost 50th years old!, you can't notice any age related issues (stripes, grain, etc), just look perfect.
Sound: Very good, and with Dolby Surround.
Extras: D'uh!, nothing, nada, zip, zippola! :(
Foreign language support: Not very good... in the audio section, it contains English and Spanish Track... subtitles just in english.
Conclusion: If you like this movie, you'll love the transfer (and at least, there is a Spanish track for those that speak in this language)... if you are looking for this movie because the extras, better wait, because you'll get frustrated by this disc.
25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
If ever there were a film that took a silly idea and milked every possible gag out of it, this is it. Four stars as a film, but five stars for being a classic.
The "science-fiction comedy" is a movie genre with few entries. (I'm thinking of films in which an SF premise and its development is the film's focal point. "Back to the Future," for example, doesn't count.) I can think of only two significant others -- "It Happens Every Spring," in which Ray Milland synthesizes a chemical that repels wood (don't ask), and "The Man in the White Suit," the classic-but-not-really-very-good Alec Guinness vehicle in which his invention of an indestructible, never-needs-cleaning fabric threatens to ruin the clothing industry.
Disney continued the genre with "The Misadventures of Merlin Jones" and "The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes," but none of them is remotely as good as "The Absent Minded Professor." It's a classic of visual humor. Not only is there the famous flying Model T, but the professor's attempts to woo his ex-fiance by dancing in flubber-heeled shoes, and a flubber-enhanced basketball game that's an encylopaedia of "What can you do with flying basketball players?" gags. Style-wise, this classic sequence looks as if it were lifted directly from MAD.
Bill Walsh's smart script has some good satirical jabs ("I hear Medfield's athletes make as much as their teachers") and they hold up. One of the best anticipates Congress's destruction in "Mars Attacks!" And the professor's attempt to prove he's a loyal, patriotic American (by showing his credit cards) cuts even more sharply today than it did 50+ years ago.
One of the few good things about Disney comedies is that almost all the secondary roles are populated with talented character actors -- Keenan Wynn (who'd repeat his Alonzo Hawk villain in other Disney flicks), Ed Wynn (his father), Elliott Reid (at his greasy, pompous best). Special kudos go to Belle Montrose (Steve Allen's mother! -- note the resemblance) as the professor's housekeeper.
Nancy Olson -- an Oscar-winner for "Sunset Blvd." -- delivers a smart, heads-up performance that falls apart only when she stops being mad at Fred MacMurry and becomes a bit of a bubble-head.
Robert Stevenson (grandson of Robert Louis Stevenson) had a directorial career ("Jane Eyre") before he became a Disney house director, but I've never thought much of his talent ("Mary Poppins" is slack and sluggish). "The Absent Minded Professor" shows him at his best -- brisk and light, almost as weightless as flubber renders the Model T.
"The Absent Minded Professor" was shot in B&W, because the special effects were too difficult (and too expensive) to do well in color. Had Disney known what a major hit TAMP would be (it played first-run for months), he might have sprung for color. The previous attempt to colorize it was a disaster.
We finally have this little gem in its original form -- an exquisite B&W enhanced-widescreen transfer. (Amazon editor -- please have the negative reviews for the awful colorized version moved or removed. These are fundamentally different releases.) The rich blacks and sharp detail are outstanding -- far superior to even the old LV release. This is close-to-demo-quality B&W.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on July 27, 2006
All of the negative reviews listed here are complaining about the movie being colorized and not widescreen as the original. Well, this version IS black and white and widescreen!! They are writing about the other release of this. So the general cumulative review for this version is definitely 5 stars. Just make sure you order this version and not the modernized and colorized version.
14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on January 14, 2003
Walt Disney's 1961 live-action comedy "The Absent-Minded Professor" gets the DVD treatment and although the film itself is a gem, the DVD producers were a little "absent-minded" in their execution. To be true to its original theatrical presentation the film needs to be presented in widescreen format and in its original hues of glorious black and white.
Disney Home Video needs to discover a happy balance between targeting the general "kid" audience and the mature film fans. The recent "Back to the Future" DVD accomplishes this task beautifully - - without insulting either audience. It seems to me that Disney doesn't have a great deal of respect for many of its classic live-action films when it comes to DVD. Although "Pollyanna," Swiss Family Robinson" and "The Parent Trap" received very nice treatments, "Babes in Toyland" and "Blackbeard's Ghost" were just downright slapped-together and thrown on the shelf (why wasn't "Babes in Toyland" presented in widescreen and stereo?)
So, par for the course, there are no extras whatsoever on the DVD version of "The Absent-Minded Professor," which is a shame. Disney has plenty of material in the vaults to give this film at least a moderate special treatment. Granted, it's not a masterpiece like "Mary Poppins," but it's at least deserving of equal DVD treatment to modern films like "The Santa Clause" and "The Rookie."
Aside from that, stick any fun-loving child or nostalgic baby-boomer in front of this film and they will be thoroughly entertained. The casting is perfect, the effects still hold-up and the script is charming. For any faults this film might have, it is still far superior to ill-fated and very un-funny "Flubber," starring Robin Williams.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A well-paced comic fantasy starring frequent Disney stalwart Fred MacMurray, this is the original from which Robin Williams, 36 years later, made "Flubber." MacMurray plays Ned Brainerd, a chemistry professor at little Medfield College, who has his head so far up in the clouds that he's managed to twice miss his wedding to Betsy Carlisle (Nancy Olson), secretary to college president Rufus Daggett (Leon Ames). On the very night when the third attempt is scheduled, an explosion in Ned's improvised garage lab results in the discovery of a gooey dark substance he names "flubber"--a "metastable compound" that "creates its own energy" when bounced off a hard surface or bombarded with gamma rays. Thrilled by his breakthrough, Ned scarcely realizes he's missed the ceremony again, but once he does, he sets out to get back into Betsy's good graces, defeat his rival for her hand (Prof. Shelby Ashton of long-time rival school Rutland, played by Elliott Reed, who took a similar role as Ralph Hastings in MacMurray's "Follow Me, Boys" five years later), and ultimately save the college from small-time tycoon Alonzo Hawk (Keenan Wynn), a blustering local loan king and descendant of the town's founders who has loaned half a million dollars to the college and is pressing for repayment. Along the way he arranges the spectacular basketball victory of Medfield over Rutland, terrorizes Ashton by bouncing his modified (flying) Model T Ford off the roof of his rival's car (the "Shelby Stomp," as he christens it), and has to rescue his Lizzie from Hawk's warehouse after it's switched for a nonmodified version.
The special effects in this movie, while inevitably nowhere near the caliber of what became possible even 15 years later, are among its high points, and certainly very well done for the time. MacMurray is up to his usual standard as the quiet hero with principles who stands up for what he believes and is ready to fight for his rights. There's also an abundance of laugh-worthy moments, from the quick shots of Ned's bemused little dog Charlie reacting to the first usages of flubber, through the wonderfully comic maneuvers of the basketball game and Ned's handling of Hawk's two goons in the warehouse, to the skillfully intercut scenes in and high above Washington, D.C., when Ned and Betsy fly the car there to offer it to the government and find themselves the target of the capital's defenses. (I can't help wondering why, if the picture drawn in the movie is accurate, Al Qaeda was able to fly a jet into the Pentagon 40 years later without having it shot down before it got within five miles of the place.) In the end, of course, the right triumphs, and Ned and Betsy even manage to have their long-delayed wedding. Comic without being overwhelmingly slapsticky (a bow to nostalgia is provided by the appearance of Wynn's father Ed in a video adaptation of his famous Fire Chief role), the film can also serve as a good jumping-off point for family discussions, like what we owe to our country and how to handle unscrupulous people like Hawk.
25 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on December 9, 2002
This DVD, along with the other Disney releases this month, (Moon Spinners, Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again, Computer Wore Tennis Shoes, etc.) is only being released in fullscreen, *not* anamorphic widescreen...
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on February 2, 2008
I wish all of you would stop bellyaching about the color...some people prefer it and I am one of them. If you want this in the original black and white that is available at a much cheaper price...at this time the colorized edition is very expensive probably because it was moved into the disney vault because of complainers like you....just do your research and get what you want...thats all
17 of 23 people found the following review helpful
DVD QUALITY: The site here will not let you change your stars, so to clarify - I feel the movie itself deserves 5 stars, and the DVD available at the time of this review deserved 2 stars because it artificially colorized the film and reduced it to full screen. A new and improved version of the DVD has been released that is in original black and white and is in widescreen (this is the one I recommend), but Amazon posted the reviews of the first DVD onto the new one as well. Are you confused yet? The black & white version has been re-mastered and has a cleaner image, but unfortunately is still without extras. Not even some outtakes, gallery stuff, theatrical trailers, or cartoons? It is still a terrific movie...
THE STORY: live action comedy/fantasy. Professor Brainard (played to perfection by Fred MacMurray) is a forgetful scientist who is so absorbed in his work that he ignores his personal life, much to the chagrin of his girlfriend Betsy (Nancy Olson). So involved in fact that he cannot even remember to show up for his own wedding, and he loses his girl to a rival suitor. But that day he causes a mishap in the lab that accidentally creates a new anti-gravity substance that is basically floating rubber. He tries to convince his girl he has this new miracle, but she thinks he is a crackpot at this point. He tries to impress her by using his invention to help the feeble college basketball team finally win a big game, but she gets madder at his attempt to get credit for it. He then tries to convince the Defense Department that the substance works, but something seems to go wrong with the tests. For example he rigs his "Model T" car to fly, but someone switches cars unbeknown to him and he looks like a lunatic claiming his car can fly. The scenes of the various armed forces commanders trying to outmaneuver each other are rich. The professor is then pursued by criminal boss Alonzo Hawk and his thugs, seemingly the only one who believes he has the substance and wants it for himself. Great satire on college administration, the military, and other institutions, this movie has hilarious antics, crazy stunts, and it is good clean fun for kids and adults.
BEHIND THE SCENES AND TRIVIA: The role of Alonzo Hawk is played by Keenan Wynn, who reprises the role of Hawk for the sequel "Son of Flubber" and again in "Herbie Rides Again." Also stars Tommy Kirk as Hawks college son, Ed Wynn as the fire chief. You may not recognize the TV newsman, but millions of visitors to Disneyland did, as he was played by Wally Boag who performed daily at Disneyland's Golden Horseshoe Review. The films special effects were nominated for an Academy Award®. Disney brought in a science professor to help them design the flubber substance and make the science in the movie more authentic. Produced by Bill Walsh, who also worked on "The Shaggy Dog". Walsh also wrote the screenplay and pushed the studio and the director to do the aerial basketball game, that really make the film. The story originated from three short stories by Samuel Taylor that Walt Disney had purchased from Liberty Magazine during the war. Directed by Robert Stevenson, the movie was originally released to theaters in March 16, 1961, one of the biggest box office years for the Disney Studio. The same year saw release of "The Parent Trap", and "Swiss Family Robinson". All three films were in the top ten grossing films of the industry for the year. The movie returned to theaters in '67 and '74, something unheard of today. The movie was televised as a special on November 11, 1975 and it later aired in two parts on NBC's "The Wonderful World of Disney" on September 9 and 16, 1979. The story was adapted to a made for television series in 1988, but only two episodes were ever aired. The sequel to the movie was equally popular in the box office, and utilized most of the same actors and production team. The original movie was released on video for the first time in 1981. It was colorized after an airing on the Disney Channel in 1986. A theatrical version of the original story was remade starring Robin Williams in "Flubber" was released on November 26, 1997. The song in the opening credits is known as the "Medfield Fight Song" and was written by the Sherman Brothers in their first feature film screen credit. The background music score was written by Disney Studio composer George Bruns. Running time is 96 minutes.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on October 17, 2001
This film was a touchstone of my childhood, as I'm sure it was for many of my generation. Harmless fun for the whole family and vastly superior to the Robin Williams version. Having said that, I MUST say that colorizing movies is a real travesty. I'm sure most have heard the arguments against it so I won't bore you by getting on my soapbox. Suffice to say, "Leave them alone!" My four stars are for the film, NOT this version. Of course, the colorizing doesn't make it a BAD film; it's just unnecessary.