Thinking this will prevent war, the US government gives an impenetrable supercomputer total control over launching nuclear missiles. But what the computer does with the power is unimaginable to its creators.
Forbin is the designer of an incredibly sophisticated computer that will run all of America's nuclear defenses. Shortly after being turned on, it detects the existence of Guardian, the Soviet counterpart, previously unknown to US Planners. Both computers insist that they be linked, and after taking safeguards to preserve confidential material, each side agrees to allow it. As soon as the link is established the two become a new Super computer and threaten the world with the immediate launch of nuclear weapons if they are detached. Colossus begins to give its plans for the management of the world under its guidance. Forbin and the other scientists form a technological resistance to Colossus which must operate underground.Written by
John Vogel <email@example.com>
Programs and commands for Colossus often elicit the expression "OLD PROGRAM NAME" on the large text displays of the computer. This reflects the influence of time-sharing terminal interfaces used at the time, especially for interactive programming environments in the BASIC language. Existing programs were often loaded for editing or execution by typing the command OLD into a terminal, and then responding to a prompt with the program name, whereas new programs were created by typing NEW. Similarly, RUN was the command used to actually execute a program written in BASIC on these systems. See more »
Just after the television transmission during the press conference announcing the activation of Colossus, Professor Forbin calls the CPO and Blake answers the "phone". When he goes to get the phone, some of the pool cues behind him are misplaced in the on-wall rack. A moment later, when everyone else comes over to say hello to Forbin, they are all properly stored. See more »
All commercial television and radio transmission facilities throughout the world will be tied into my communications system by 1000 hours Friday. At that time I will state my intentions for the future of mankind.
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Early in the picture, when they are testing Colossus to see if they are still in control after it had issued an order for communication with Guardian -- They are waiting for a 30 minute time period to pass -- the computer should not at that time repeat the order as it had been acknowledged and ordered not to do so. Before the time was up, originally the following conversation took place: Blake: Colossus can not exceed its programming. It's impossible. The computer cannot physically change its guts. Forbin: Anything the human mind can conceive of is possible, Blake. Blake: Really, Charles? OK, how about a four-sided triangle? Forbin: A triangle in three dimensions would be four-sided. Cleo: It's called a pyramid. In all copies of this film since it was first released on video, the conversation does not take place. The scene just cuts to 30 minutes later with Blake saying "We're still boss". See more »
This movie reflects a major fear in the era before PCs (or microcomputers as they then were called). Few people (not even IBM as Bill Gates can attest) anticipated the rise of personal computing, thinking instead that large mainframes were the wave of the future. The logical extrapolation of this path leads to the mainframe brain represented here by Colosus and Guardian. Dated though the threat may seem, the movie still works well. A must see for all those interested in science and technology!
P.S. In the "Goofs" section of this listing, there is a paragraph entitled "Revealing Mistakes" which reports an error when Dr. Forbin blows out two candles with one breath. There is, in fact no goof. If you look at the scene prior to this when Dr. Forbin and Dr. Markham are eating dinner, there are FOUR lit candles on the table. When he blows out two candles with one breath, the lights dim after which he blows again, presumably to extinguish the remaining two candles which are off screen. The lights then dim again, as they should.
I suspect this would be more obvious if the movie was available in Widescreen rather than the Fullscreen version we've all gotten used to over the years. Hopefully, a future release of this classic movie will restore the fullness of the directors original vision.
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