HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Buzzard
Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown
Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon, A
Sons of Denmark
Light of My Life
Umbrellas of Cherbourg, The
Jerky Boys, The
Chambre en Ville, Une
Joker
Relaxer
Mustang, The
Baie des Anges, La
Ready or Not
Seven Days in May
Bliss
Hollywood Shuffle
Uncut Gems
Wilt
Daniel Isn't Real
Presidio, The
Curvature
Puzzle
Farewell, The
Challenge of the Tiger
Ad Astra
Winslow Boy, The
Pain and Glory
Judgment at Nuremberg
Rambo: Last Blood
Sansho the Bailiff
Iron Fury
Ride in the Whirlwind
Deathstalker II
Cloak and Dagger
Honeyland
Love Ban, The
Western Stars
League of Gentlemen, The
Higher Power
Shinsengumi
   
 
Newest Articles
Demy-Wave: The Essential Jacques Demy on Blu-ray
The Makings of a Winner: Play It Cool! on Blu-ray
Sony Channel's Before They Were Famous: A Galaxy of Stars
Start Worrying and Hate the Bomb: Fail-Safe on Blu-ray
Completely Different: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 2 on Blu-ray
Bash Street Kid: Cosh Boy on Blu-ray
Seeing is Believing: Being There on Blu-ray
Top Thirty Best (and Ten Worst) Films of the 2010s by Andrew Pragasam
Top of the Tens: The Best Films of the Decade by Graeme Clark
Terrorvision: A Ghost Story for Christmas in the 1970s
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
   
 
  Day the Earth Stood Still, The Message From SpaceBuy this film here.
Year: 1951
Director: Robert Wise
Stars: Michael Rennie, Patricia Neal, Hugh Marlowe, Sam Jaffe, Billy Gray, Frances Bavier, Lock Martin
Genre: Science Fiction
Rating:  7 (from 2 votes)
Review: From outer space it comes, something in the skies and the world's military are tracking it as it moves with tremendous speed towards the capital city of the United States of America. As it nears the seat of government, it can be witnessed from the ground and people are beginning to panic as it draws closer. It lands in a park near the Washington Monument, a huge disc that glows, and before long the army have surrounded it, waiting for its next move. They wait for hours until suddenly a door opens in the side of the metallic craft, and a figure emerges. What does he want? And how dangerous is he?

Not half as dangerous as we are to him, it turns out, as the first act of humanity to greet this alien visitor is to shoot him when he offers us a gift. All right, we were not to know that's what he was holding, but we could have given him the benefit of the doubt, though in Edmund H. North's literate script this scene neatly encapsulates the whole philosophy of this now-classic science fiction film: mankind cannot be trusted with weaponry. Give a man a weapon and he's sure to use it eventually, and when those armaments include nuclear missiles, we have the Cold War paranoia to reckon with, a fear that has lasted in one form or another to this day.

It was in 1947 that Kenneth Arnold reported his sighting of unidentified flying objects, and from then on the idea that planet Earth could be visited from outer space really took hold in the public imagination. Nowhere was this more apparent than in the fiction of the day, and by the fifties there was a proliferation of science fiction movies that saw the alien presence as either potentially destructive or, more rarely, benign. Funnily enough, The Day the Earth Stood Still takes both stances at once, because although the man from another world, Klaatu (Michael Rennie), has a message of peace, he also has a warning.

The strangely distant Rennie never found a better role, a case of the part fitting him as if it were what he was born to play, but he had excellent support too in Patricia Neal. She plays Helen Benson, a strong personality for a genre which, at the time, did not offer many great female roles. Helen knows all too well the cost of war, having been widowed in the Second World War and left with a young son, Bobby (Billy Gray) to look after, so when Klaatu escapes the authorities and winds up at an unassuming boarding house to get to know the people better, she proves the ideal ambassador for what is decent and moral in humanity.

In fact, there's a definite "power to the people" slant to the theme, with Earth's leaders treated with great suspicion. Another interesting aspect is the film's faith in intellectuals, as the great thinkers of the world are appealed to by Klaatu to make the governments see sense. These eggheads (some of whom must have been responsible for designing the weaponry, but never mind) are led by an Albert Einstein character in Professor Barnhard (Sam Jaffe, also perfectly cast - and about to be blacklisted for the rest of the decade). It is Barnhard who Klaatu puts his faith in - along with his towering, indestructible robot Gort (Lock Martin), who has the ability to wipe us all out if we don't behave. When the alien is brought down, only the real heroine Helen can save us with those famous words, "Klaatu barada nikto!", but the point is we cannot trust ourselves with the rationality needed to cope with such dangerous forces, and in this surprisingly subdued and meditative work, you may get lectured - a lot - but you cannot doubt the sincerity. Magnificent music by Bernard Herrmann, one of the great scores of the fifties.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 4785 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Robert Wise  (1914 - 2005)

Versatile American director, a former editor (he worked on Citizen Kane) who began with some great B-movies (Curse of the Cat People, The Body Snatcher, Born to Kill) and progressed to blockbusters (West Side Story, The Sound of Music, Star Trek: The Motion Picture). He won Oscars for the two musical successes.

Along the way, there were classics like The Day the Earth Stood Still, exposes like I Want to Live! and spooky gems like The Haunting. Other films include Somebody Up There Likes Me, The Sand Pebbles, Star!, The Andromeda Strain and Audrey Rose. His last film was Rooftops, another musical.

 
Review Comments (2)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Butch Elliot
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
Paul Shrimpton
   

 

Last Updated: