UltimateDisney.com's Top 30 Live Action Disney Movies Countdown
18. The Absent-Minded Professor (1961)
Following the box office success of The Shaggy Dog, Disney released a series of live action comedy films starring Fred MacMurray. In 1961, Mr. MacMurray starred in The Absent Minded Professor, a motion picture revolving around the daily events of a fictional character named Ned Brainerd, an eccentric professor at Medfield College. When the movie begins, the audience learns that Professor Brainerd had become so absorbed in his research that he "absent-mindedly" missed his wedding to fiance', Betsy Carlisle, for the second consecutive time. Unfortunately, instead of attending his third scheduled wedding, he once again becomes distracted when discovering "Flubber", a flying rubber substance which generates its own energy, ranging from giving flight to a Model T car to adding an extra bounce to the soles of shoes. Throughout the balance of the film, Ned attempts to convince others that his invention is not a figment of his imagination, save Medfield College from financial ruin, win back Betsy's love and deal with a thief who is out to steal his invention. All of this results in slapstick satirical lighthearted wholesome family entertainment.

Directed by Robert Stevenson (who performed the same duties for Mary Poppins), The Absent Minded Professor was originally filmed in a black and white format. Although it was not its' original intent, in my opinion, the monochromatic setting not only reinforces that this is a time capsule from a different era, but buffers the audience from questioning the believability of a fictional substance that can solve all of life's problems. Whether it is the discovery of Flubber in The Absent Minded Professor or a spell that transform a boy into an Old English Sheepdog in The Shaggy Dog, the Disney live action comedy films of this era were not meant to be thought-provoking movies, but a fun humorous diversion from our everyday lives.

Due to the success of the original motion picture, in 1963, the cast of The Absent Minded Professor returned in a sequel, Son of Flubber. Thirty-four years later, the original film was loosely remade, titled Flubber, starring Robin Williams. Currently, The Absent Minded Professor is available on DVD format, which was first manufactured in a colorized fullscreen version. However, due to complaints, a few months later, the Disney company provided the original black and white widescreen format available for sale on DVD.

If you are in the mood for a fun ninety-seven minutes, I highly recommend that you add a copy of the original black & white widescreen version of Walt Disney's The Absent Minded Professor to your DVD library. It will leave you flubber-gasted!

-Jeff Miller

The Absent-Minded Professor is one of those old Disney classics that has remained in my memory, not because of repeat viewings, but because of truly memorable and hilarious segments. I can never forget the moment that the professor decides to use his invetion on the shoes of the basketball players. The look on his oponent's face when they begin to win is priceless. Another highlight from the movie includes the professor flying his car through the night sky. The cinematography and special effects were incredible for that time, so this is also a landmark movie for those aspects of cinema. Director Robert Stevenson (who was nominated for a DGA Award for his work) certainly made other great films, but this ranks right up there with Mary Poppins and The Love Bug. It's a truly great comedy that will be remembered for another forty years to come.

-Rodney Figueiredo

The Absent Minded Professor is a wonderful movie that proves anything is possible. The creation of flubber is a magnificent feat of imagination and the endless possibiltes of what it can do make many different people accomplish things which they were never able to accomplish before. Every time I watch the movie I am still amazed by all of the work put into it. It is also interesting to look at the backlot and see which houses were also in other movies from the same time.

-Benjamin Waldman

The Absent Minded Professor is a funny black and white comedy that doesn't throw 100 jokes at you a minute nor does it try to dazzle you with a million flashy CGI effect shots a second. It's just a good old fun movie made in the days of when the original Walt Disney was still alive. And it's a charming movie as a result. Only Fred MacMurry can pull off the Absent Minded Professor. Flubber is the bouncy dream substance every kid would want to play with. It's great entertainment.

-James Mar

DVD Details
First given astonishingly poor treatment (digitally colorized and fullframe only), Disney made it up to The Absent-Minded Professor with an anamorphic widescreen re-release, that restores its original black & white state. (The botched colorized DVD was disconintued.) There are no extras, but the proper film presentation is pleasantly surprising and the next best thing to getting a fully-loaded Special Edition, which should still be in order.
Buy The Absent-Minded Professor (Black & White / Widescreen)
Read the Absent-Minded Professor DVD Review
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