The very first robot to appear in film was simply called The Dummy, from 1917's A Clever Dummy. This was before the term “robot” even existed – it wasn't coined until 1920. Arguably the first famous robot in cinema was the dastardly Maria in Fritz Lang's 1927 silent classic Metropolis. (And this, my friends, stands in my opinion as one of the greatest films of all time. Be sure to get the one titled The Complete Metropolis, as earlier versions are missing footage which was recently rediscovered.) Since the 1920s, robots continue to play a significant role in science fiction, giving us such memorable characters as Gort from The Day the Earth Stood Still, Robby from Forbidden Planet, and HAL 2000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey (fine: not really a robot, but never before has artificial intelligence been so chilling).
Now playing at Village 8 as the newest installment in the Louisville Exclusives series is Robot & Frank, which marks the feature directorial debut of Jake Schreier, who had previously been a director of commercials and music videos. Frank Langella stars as Frank, a former jewel thief who no longer takes very good care of himself in his old age. Concerned, his son buys him a robot to help around the house. It is a gift Frank feels no use for – until he realizes how he can use the robot to get back into the burglary game.
The film also stars Susan Sarandon, James Marsden, Liv Tyler, and Peter Sarsgaard as the voice of the robot.
Robot & Frank is scheduled to run at Village 8 Theaters until next Thursday, October 4, but this is subject to extension. Village 8 is located at 4014 Dutchmans Lane. Further theater information and showtimes can be found at the Village 8 website.
Image: Internet Movie Database