Groundworks symbol

The Unchained Goddess

Directed by Richard Carlson



Echoing the “Groundworks” timeline: 1958 


A scientist and a writer rehearsing a weather programme discuss “the truth about the weather” with Meteora – the “supreme goddess of weather” – while giving insights into the technology involved in predicting them. Written and produced by Frank Capra for “The Bell System Science Series”, a series that “combined clever story lines, sophisticated animation, veteran character actors, films of natural phenomena, interviews with scientists, and precise explanation of scientific and technical concepts — all in the pursuit of better public understanding of science.”(→ i)


The Unchained Goddess expresses early concerns about climate change and the dangers of global warming.


“Because with our present knowledge we have no idea what would happen. Even now, man may be unwittingly changing the world’s climate through the waste products of his civilization. Due to our release through factories and automobiles every year of more than six billion tons of carbon dioxide, which helps air absorb heat from the sun, our atmosphere seems to be getting warmer. … Well, it's been calculated a few degrees rise in the Earth’s temperature would melt the polar ice caps. And if this happens, an inland sea would fill a good portion of the Mississippi valley. Tourists in glass bottom boats would be viewing the drowned towers of Miami through 150 feet of tropical water. For in weather, we’re not only dealing with forces of a far greater variety than even the atomic physicist encounters, but with life itself." 


Dr. Frank C. Baxter,

The Unchained Goddess, 1958. 


The Unchained Goddess was the fourth film in the series, written by Capra with the collaboration of Jonathan Latimer. Richard Carlson was the director and appears in it, in dialogue with Dr. Frank C. Baxter, one of the two main characters in Capra’s screenplays for the series, “Dr. Research” – the other recurring character being “Mr. Fiction Writer”. The film was televised on February 12, 1958.


  • (i) Marcel LaFollette, "A Survey of Science Content in U.S. Television Broadcasting, 1940s through 1950s: The Exploratory Years", Science Communication, 24 (1) (September 2002), 34–71. 



Intro image: video still from “The Unchained Goddess”, directed by Richard Carlson, 1958. 



“The Unchained Goddess” 

Directed by Richard Carlson, 1958 

Written and produced by Frank Capra 




“maat Explorations” is an ongoing programme that delves into the socio-cultural and environmental transformations stemming from the current bio crisis and ecological destruction. It provides an insight into the hard science of climate intervention and the creative speculations behind innovation-led research to safeguard our planetary co-existence.  

Prominent in this strand is the installation Earth Bits – Sensing the Planetary, that opens access to the complex interconnectedness between the environmental and the energetic quests and its reverberation through decades of artistic production, political and cultural movements traced from the 1960s until today.  

On maat ext., a series of #groundworks hashtags introduce the critical explorations that feed into the complex interconnectivity between the environmental and energetic quests, and its reverberation through decades of artistic production, political and cultural movements traced from the 1960s until today.