The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)

DVD review from The Movie Snob

The Day the Earth Stood Still (B+). I picked this one up in a bargain bin last fall in advance of the new remake starring Keanu Reeves (A Scanner Darkly). Then the bad reviews for the remake started rolling in, and I put the DVD on the back burner. But I finally put it in the player, and I was pleasantly pleased at how well this old black-and-white sci-fi flick stands the test of time. A spaceship lands in Washington, DC, and Klaatu, the human-looking alien on board, insists that he has a critical message that must be delivered to all the nations of the world simultaneously. Naturally the government and military types are loathe to facilitate this. Then Klaatu gives them the slip and moves into a boarding house in order to learn more about our strange and warlike species. There he befriends a WWII widow (Patricia Neal, Hud, sounding and even somewhat looking like Captain Janeway on Star Trek: Voyager) and her young son. But friendship cannot turn him from his mission: to warn humanity that outer-space aliens will destroy the earth if humanity continues to develop atomic weapons without curbing its tendency to violence. Oh, and there’s an indestructible robot named Gort, and the memorable phrase “Klaatu barada nikto” is as important in this film as it would later be in Army of Darkness. And I mustn’t forget Frances “Aunt Bea” Bavier’s memorable turn as fussy matron Mrs. Barley. Director Robert Wise later directed The Sound of Music, West Side Story, and even Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Definitely worth seeing.

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5 comments on “The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)

  1. […] thinks he has super powers — kind of like a canine Buzz Lightyear. The original version of The Day the Earth Stood Still is still surprisingly good, and the 1963 version of The Haunting is still surprisingly scary. I […]

  2. […] by Dwayne Johnson, Race to Witch Mountain) rocks their world, triggering a military lockdown a la The Day the Earth Stood Still. A plucky teenaged boy named Lem (Justin Long, Drag Me to Hell) helps the astronaut hide from the […]

  3. […] travel with her into the Mexican wilderness to help her rescue her injured husband (Hugh Marlowe, The Day the Earth Stood Still) from a collapsed gold mine. The three Americans, plus one Mexican fellow, sign on for the journey […]

  4. […] station. After the stagecoach leaves, the outlaws show up, led by George Zimmerman (Hugh Marlowe, The Day the Earth Stood Still), with a plan to rob the next gold-laden stagecoach passing through from California. The grizzled […]

  5. […] an excess of fidelity. Those movies generally weren’t very good (with exceptions like The Day the Earth Stood Still), and this one really isn’t either. Featuring Robert Patrick (Walk the Line) and Dan Lauria […]

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