Movie Review: Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)

Posted May 10, 2016 by BB in Movie / 0 Comments

The Day The Earth Stood Still (1951)Director: Robert Wise
Writers: Edmund H. North (screen play), Harry Bates (based on a story by)
Stars: Michael Rennie (Klaatu), Patricia Neal (Helen), Hugh Marlowe


Anyone who knows me knows that I love a good Sci-Fi movie.  The cheesier the better.  For some reason, the universe saw fit to put me with the perfect understanding husband who not only encourages my love of Sci-Fi but has his own love as well.  Last night, the hubby came in with a “hankerin” to watch the classic Sci-Fi movie “The Day The Earth Stood Still”.  It was a glorious Mystery Science Theater experience for all!

For some, the title of this film brings to mind the 2008 Keanu Reeves and Jennifer Connolly version.  Not me.  I have seen this film a couple of times before but it never ceases to amaze me the amount of smoking in old films.  Everyone seems to be lighting one up, putting one out, or blowing smoke.   I might be just a bit biased in my attention as a former smoker who did not quit willingly.

There are also so spectacularly bad writing/plot choices.  But overall, this is an entertaining movie.  The pace is good.  The writing is good enough and bad enough to keep your attention.  If you want to be creative, you can always drink whenever the military representatives in the film do something stupid.  The production quality and props for the time are pretty incredible, too.

Plot Synopsis: An flying saucer lands on the President’s Park Ellipse in Washington, D.C.  Klaatu (Michael Rennie) comes out of the space ship to make contact and a soldier shoots him breaking his goodwill gift.  The robot, Gort (Lock Martin) shoots a ray out of his eye socket area and melts or disintegrates all weapons.

Klaatu ends up in the hospital but heals himself with a salve and I have to say I love the Doctors.  They all come out of the room feeling like “witch doctors” and “wondering why they do medicine”. Klaatu keeps trying to set up a meeting with world leaders to spread his special message.  Apparently, human-kind is seeing an alien for the first time and still cannot figure out how to come together to hear message so important an alien visited Earth so it could be delivered.

The message ends up being that the rest of the universe has created a breed of robot police.  Klaatu brought one with him, Gort, because he was afraid of humanity.  This robot police force has eliminated all violence in the rest of the universe.  But humans have reached a point in their evolution where their violence risks leaving the confines of the planet.  Humanity’s first steps into space have caused concern among other inhabitants of the universe.  Klaatu warns that if the people of Earth threaten to extend their violence into space, the robots will destroy Earth, adding, “The decision rests with you.”

Film Fun & Friction:  I already mentioned that everyone smokes.  They also make poor decisions regarding child care.  One of the main characters is a widow with a son.  She wants to go out on a date with her boyfriend and decides to leave her son with a complete stranger who ends up being an alien.  Brilliant.  And did I mention the boyfriend, Tom, is a hardcore schmuck.  He ends up turning the peaceful alien,, Klaatu, in to a trigger happy military that kills Klaatu.

There is also a classic scene where Helen and Klaatu take a taxi to Barnhardt’s home; and Klaatu tells Helen that, should anything happen to him, she must tell Gort “Klaatu barada nikto”.  Fortuitous because Klaatu gets killed shortly after this scene.

One of my favorite parts is when Klaatu and Bobby take a tour of Washington, DC and visit Bobby’s Father’s grave in Arlington National Cemetery.  At the Lincoln Memorial, Klaatu says he wishes he could meet Abraham Lincoln.  To that I say, get in line Klaatu, get in line.

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