Create Game Lists on
FilmCrave home
   Movies  Members
Search +
Searching... Close  
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?
  Login Using Facebook

A Selection from My Collection: The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)

View Chris Kavan's Profile

By Chris Kavan - 08/25/11 at 11:17 AM CT

Forget that 2008 abomination with Keanu Reeves and some hungry black cloud – this is the only version that is worth watching.

Just think about all the movies you’ve seen this year or even just heard about. Now, work that mind of years and think 60 years in the future – how many films released this year will matter in that time?

Despite being released in 1951, The Day the Earth Stood Still remains popular because its message is one that resonates with all generations. The story is quite simple, an alien craft lands on the Mall in Washington, D.C. A human-looking space man emerges, declares he’s there for peace and then is immediately fired upon by a trigger-happy, nervous soldier. Then Gort, a robot emerges and isn’t as accommodating.

Our spaceman is taken in for observation, but soon escapes. He takes lodging, befriends a young boy, meets a scientist and observes the reaction to his presence. In the end, he leaves Earth with a message – if we can’t learn to be peaceful with each other, we will be destroyed.

While the message was meant as a warning – seeing as it was released just after WWII when the Cold War, Red Scare and tensions were mounting – the message remains just as powerful today and it’s obvious that we are still destroying ourselves. There is no master robot race to police us and make sure we follow the rules – and as a race we’re pretty terrible at policing ourselves without resorting to more violence.

It’s one of my favorite, and I dare say most important, science fiction films. Some say the ending is too abrupt or that the story is over-simplified, but all things considered, it has aged much better than most of the 1950s-60s films. The effects aren’t spectacular, but they aren’t terrible either. Gort is an iconic creature and the phrase “Klaatu barada nikto” shows up in Army of Darkness (where Ash cannot get the phrase right, dooming us all!) and George Lucas also used each section in Return of Jedi (Nerd Alert: Klaatu and Barada are part of Jabba’s skiff guards while Nikto is used as the names of species).

Michael Rennie gives Klaatu a grounded, serious manner. His emotions are also kept in check – even at the end when he gives his warning, he keeps things level. Christian allegory runs high as he takes the name “Carpenter” and later apparently dies only to be resurrected. While these themes are not exactly overt, you don’t have to look to deep to see them either.

Sam Jaffe, who plays the Einstein-like scientist, was also, ironically, one of the many actors target for blacklisting during this period for being sympathetic to Communism. This would be his last role in Hollywood for seven years due to the backlash.

Patricia Neal plays the cool-headed Patricia Neal – but according to Neal herself, she was expecting this to just be another pulpy space saucer movie and had no idea it would become so popular and retain that popularity.

Bernard Herrmann provides the sci-fi score – utilizing one of the greatest sci-fi instruments to full effect: the Theremin. This instrument would become a staple in the many low-budget films of the era, but Herrmann used it to great effect and Danny Elfman has said it was one of the reasons he become a composer.

Certain films deserve to stand the test of time. And while you may not consider The Day the Earth Stood still in the same league as, say, Citizen Kane or The Godfather, you also cannot doubt its staying power. With a message as universal as the one it delivers, it is a film that deserves to be remembered and one I have no doubts about recommending to anyone – sci-fi fan or not.


Avoid spam Captcha: Sign Up + or Log In +   

Recent Blog Posts

All Posts

December 2018

November 2018

October 2018

September 2018

August 2018

July 2018

June 2018

May 2018

April 2018

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018

December 2017

November 2017

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

December 2016

November 2016

October 2016

September 2016

August 2016

July 2016

June 2016

May 2016

April 2016

March 2016

February 2016

January 2016

December 2015

November 2015

October 2015

September 2015

August 2015

July 2015

June 2015

May 2015

April 2015

March 2015

February 2015

January 2015

December 2014

November 2014

October 2014

September 2014

August 2014

July 2014

June 2014

May 2014

April 2014

March 2014

February 2014

January 2014

December 2013

November 2013

October 2013

September 2013

August 2013

July 2013

June 2013

May 2013

April 2013

March 2013

February 2013

January 2013

December 2012

November 2012

October 2012

September 2012

August 2012

July 2012

June 2012

May 2012

April 2012

March 2012

February 2012

January 2012

December 2011

November 2011

October 2011

September 2011

August 2011

July 2011

June 2011

May 2011

April 2011

March 2011

February 2011

January 2011

December 2010

November 2010

October 2010

September 2010

August 2010

July 2010

June 2010

May 2010

April 2010

March 2010

February 2010

Log In
Help on how to log into FilmCrave
Login with Facebook
Login with FilmCrave
What Members Are Doing
Movie Talk
New Movie Reviews
New Movie Lists
Movies I Want To See Again by Rod
Movies of 2016 by Stoney McStonerson
2014 Rated & Ranked by Chris Kavan
Book Adaptations by Zeljka
My Wish List by hoods_breath
To see: Golden Globe Best Pitcure Winners by Alex
Top Films of 2006 by Neobowler
Watched in 2018 by tonks76




Contact FilmCrave Public Relations    

Advertise and Business

Developer API

Contact Us


About us



Support FilmCrave

FAQ and Help

News and Press

Terms of Use


Are you sure you want to delete this comment?
Are you sure you want to delete this blog?