DVD REVIEW: LITTLE LOST ROBOT / CERT: PG / DIRECTOR: GUY VERNEY / SCREENPLAY: ISAAC ASIMOV / STARRING: BORIS KARLOFF, MAXINE AUDLEY, CLIFFORD EVANS, MURRAY HAYNE, GERALD FLOOD, HAYDN JONES, ROGER SNOWDON / RELEASE DATE: NOVEMBER 24TH
Out of This World: Little Lost Robot is a single DVD release of the only remaining episode of the visionary ABC series for ITV, Out of This World. Broadcast in 1962, and introduced by Boris Karloff, this is a dramatization of the Isaac Asimov story of the same name.
The story is set on a space station where a modified robot (Snowdon) has mingled with 20 other robots and must be discovered else all 21 will be destroyed. Enter intellectual, arrogant and aloof Dr Susan Calvin (Audley), who has to find the lost robot but alienates many of the crew of the space station, including Black (Flood). The story is pure Asimov and consists of a series of tests Calvin puts the robots through, all of which explore the Three Laws of Robotics.
The story is well acted and with minimal budget (and dubious robot outfits), and still conveys the essence of the tale – a lesson in how science fiction used to be told in the 1950s and early 1960s.
The DVD holds this only surviving episode, available with or without a commentary, and also in a VidFIRE version that more precisely mimics the original transmission. We suggest it is well worth viewing the first few minutes of both versions on your particular setup and picking the one that looks best to you.
There are two audios of other episodes, both of which are superb additions to any collection and make you wish (again) that more of the past were available. These are Cold Equations, a short story by Tom Godwin whose cast includes Peter Wyngarde and a young Jane Asher; the second is a Terry Nation adaption of Philip K. Dick’s Impostor. The DVD also includes a PDF of the script of Dumb Martian, a John Wyndham story intended for Out of This World but transmitted as part of Sydney Newman’s Armchair Theatre show.
Allowing for the age of the production, this is a souvenir of a golden age of television science fiction in the UK and there is nothing equivalent anywhere except on the radio, at least in the UK. If you are a connoisseur of classic British TV science fiction this is a must buy.
Special Features: Audio commentary / Tom Godwin’s Cold Equations / Terry Nation’s Imposter / Downloadable PDF of Dumb Martian / Illustrated booklet
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