Film Watching Forbidden Planet for the first time during a tea time sci-fi season on Channel 4 in the 1990s, two things struck me. Firstly how much is resembled Star Trek, which it would given Gene Roddenberry has listed it as a key influence on his franchise with the film eventually somewhat being weaved into the franchise's spin-off fiction.
But also the doors. Or more specifically the giant, weirdly shaped doors on Altair IV in the Krell city. If you've ever had the pleasure of film studies, you'll know it teaches you to look for details, the mis-en-scene and also how details in even the set and costume design can demonstrate a lot about character both overtly and subliminally. Once you know to look for it, of course, it's always overt.
The Krell doors are subliminal and yet, if you'll pardon the expression, I'd taken my first step into a much larger world when my teenage self realised that even though the alien race was all but missing from the screen, those doors and everything else about that city provided a range of evidence as to what the race was like.
As an aside that's because the production team had their own very clear idea of what they'd look like. Cinematographer George Folsey has said, "The Krell were originally frog-like in nature with two long legs and a big tail. They were never shown, but it was indicated in the original screenplay that the ramps between the steps were designed to accommodate their dragging tail."
That's not what I imagined. I imagined giants, true, but something akin to the people Gulliver discovered or indeed what would eventually inhabit the spaceship in Prometheus although that made the mistake of actually showing us the aliens and so made them rather less interesting (although it's not like an Alien prequel had much of a choice).
Nevertheless it was my first inclination of how what I'd later discover was called exposition was communicated in a number of ways and not just verbally and that these were creative choices and that film was an incredibly complex business even in, what I seem to recall being described by the television announcer as, a b-movie.