Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) G - 4 Stars

I decided to watch the old version of this movie first in order to see the similarities between this, and the 2008 version. The 1951 version is a timeless classic, "G" rated none the less. You just can't replace the innocence of that time period. Families huddled together in front of their small black and white televisions and radios, while the crowds outside gather eagerly to get a closer look of the spaceship that's landed in Washington D.C.. The broadcasters and reporters, always with their fedora hats, smoking at their desks, while spitting play by play live broadcast into huge microphones, as the events unfold. And the music is priceless and quite frankly, having grown up in this era, they just don't make um like this anymore. Other than the wrinkles in the robots suit when he walks, I'll stick to this old version!

It's just another typical day in 1951, for the typical people of Washington D.C.. As they go about their daily business, a space lands in the middle of an open field. As the crowd of onlookers gather around, out pops Klaatu (Michael Rennie), a dashingly debonair spaceman from another planet, along with his bodyguard robot Gort (Lock Martin). Their mission, to communicate with the leaders of all nations of planet earth in a peaceful manor. But as Klaatu reaches for a gift to share with the earth, he is shot. This doesn't make Gort very happy but before Klaatu passes out, he mummers language to Gort that stops him dead in in tracks.

Klaatu is taken to an observatory hospital to have the bullet removed when he pulls out a chemical that heals himself. He is then sent to take a lie detector test to prove who he is. Instead he turns the tables and escapes into the general population, taking refuge in a boarding house under the name of Mr. Carpenter. It is there he meets Helen Benson (Patricia Neal) and her son Bobby (Billy Gray). Helen and Bobby take a liking to Mr. Carpenter and Helen even entrusts her son to spending the day with him, touring the important buildings of Washington. It is his hope that he can find someone smart enough to get his message through to. Bobby suggests that scientist, Dr. Barnhardt (Sam Jaffe), is the smartest person he knows and together they approach his home looking for him. Even thought Dr. Barnhardt is out, Mr Carpenter makes quite an impression with him as he adds to an equation on Dr. Barnhardt's blackboard. But when no one will take him seriously, he literally makes the world stand still at 12:00 noon the next day, to prove his point.


1951 - The Day the Earth Stood Still - Golden Globe - Motion Picture Promoting International Understanding
1951 - The Day the Earth Stood Still - Hollywood Foreign Press Association - Motion Picture Promoting International Understanding
1994 - The Day the Earth Stood Still - Library of Congress - U.S. National Film Registry

20th Century Fox
Director: Robert Wise
Writer: Edmund H. North
Producer: Julian Blaustein
I viewed 4/09

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