Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)

Director: Robert Wise

Writers: Edmund H. North, Harry Bates

Composer: Bernard Herrmann

Starring: Michael Rennie, Patricia Neal, Hugh Marlowe, Sam Jaffe, Billy Gray, Frances Bavier, Lock Martin, 'Snub' Pollard, Stuart Whitman

More info: IMDb

Tagline: A robot and a man . . . hold the world spellbound with new and startling powers from another planet!

Plot: An alien (Klaatu) with his mighty robot (Gort) land their spacecraft on Cold War-era Earth just after the end of World War II. They bring an important message to the planet that Klaatu wishes to tell to representatives of all nations. However, communication turns out to be difficult, so, after learning something about the natives, Klaatu decides on an alternative approach.

My rating: 8/10

Will I watch it again? Yes.

It's been at least 20 years since I last saw this and it gets better with every view.  The performances are solid and I dig Billy Gray's performance as the kid, Bobby. Say, how crazy is it that Bobby's mom and friend are totally OK with leaving him alone with Klaatu after having just met the guy minutes/hours before?  My how times have changed.  Rennie does a fantastic job as the alien, Klaatu.  Hell, the whole cast is great.  What makes this one stand out among the countless other sci-fi flicks of the 50s is the seriousness given in the story and Bernard Herrmann's wonderfully moody and eerie score.  It's one of the all time best for this era (if not THE best).  It's a great flick all the way around.  Funny story, I picked up the Blu-ray for a couple of bucks at a flea market.  It was cheap because it was the 3 disc edition of the remake that included the '51 film but it was missing the disc for the remake and only had the original film.  That's all I cared about.  I have no desire to see the remake. The original is all I need to see. I say that now but I forget about the countless hours of absolute crap that I find myself watching.

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