The Absent Minded Professor (1961)

The Absent Minded Professor
Directed by Robert Steveson
Written by Bill Walsh; story by Samuel W. Taylor
Walt Disney Productions
Repeat viewing?/Netflix rental


If you are looking for pleasant, amusing family viewing, this could be it.

Science-professor Ned Brainard’s brain  (Fred MacMurray) has room for only one thing — his work on anti-gravity energy.  As the story begins he is so engrossed in his experiment that he forgets his wedding for the third time.  Despite his groundbreaking discovery, things aren’t looking so good for the professor. His fiancee Betsy is furious and may be succumbing to the attentions of another man.  Brainard flunked the star player (Tommy Corchran) on the basketball team on the eve of the big game with their main rival.  And the star player’s father Alonzo P. Hawk (Keenan Wynne) is an alumni with a long outstanding loan with the school.  The ruthless father would like nothing better than to raze the college and put up a housing development.

Brainard is determined to win his fiancee back by proving the many wonderful properties of his discovery, which he calls Flubber.  The primary feature is that if dropped the substance keeps bouncing higher and higher without slowing down.  This enables Brainard to save the day at the basketball game and fly around the country in his old model T.  After some comic struggles the military becomes interested in the subject.  With Ed Wynn in a cameo as a fire chief.

I don’t remember much about this movie but it certainly would have the kind of thing the family would see in the theater when I was a child.  It’s amazing how down-right nice MacMurray could be when he wasn’t playing total rats for Billy Wilder.  There’s no moral in this, just pure fun.  I expect the laughs in reverse relation to the age of the viewer.

The film had a sequel The Son of Flubber in 1963 and was remade with the same title in 1997, starring Robin Williams

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