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The Day The Earth Stood Still [DVD]


Price: £9.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Frequently Bought Together

The Day The Earth Stood Still [DVD] + This Island Earth [DVD] [1955] + It Came from Outer Space [DVD]
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Product details

  • Actors: Michael Rennie, Patricia Neal, Hugh Marlowe, Sam Jaffe, Billy Gray
  • Directors: Robert Wise
  • Writers: Edmund H. North, Harry Bates
  • Producers: Julian Blaustein
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English, French
  • Subtitles: French, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, German
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: U
  • Studio: Fox
  • DVD Release Date: 3 Mar 2003
  • Run Time: 88 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (142 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000089ASJ
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 64,379 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

A non-threatening alien (Michael Rennie) comes to Earth in 1951 with a message of peace, but he is shot and wounded by nervous troops. His ten-foot robot, Gort, immediately renders all Earth weapons useless while the alien delivers an ultimatum to the world: stop fighting or be destroyed.

From Amazon.co.uk

The very epitome of a cult SF classic, The Day the Earth Stood Still is more often referenced than seen, which is a pity since it remains even now one of the most thought-provoking examples of the genre. The title is a misnomer, a mere tease to entice 1950s audiences into the cinema in the expectation of seeing another sensationalist B-movie about murderous aliens (i.e. Communists). In fact, Robert Wise's film of Edmund North's screenplay is a thoughtful Cold War allegory about a Christ-like visitor (Michael Rennie) who comes to Earth preaching a message of salvation for mankind, only to be spurned, killed then finally resurrected (significantly, Rennie's character Klaatu adopts the pseudonym "Mr Carpenter" while on the run from the authorities).

Aside from its philosophical message, the film also boasts memorable imagery--notably the giant robot Gort--a much-quoted catchphrase in "Klaatu barada nikto", and one of composer Bernard Herrmann's most admired scores, featuring the theremin and other electronic instruments that must have sounded very otherworldly back in 1951. The result is a bona fide landmark in cinema SF with a central message about "weapons of mass destruction" that's still uncannily relevant today.

On the DVD: The Day the Earth Stood Still has been splendidly restored for its DVD incarnation from the original 35 mm print, and the results are demonstrated in the "Restoration Comparison" feature. Also included is a fascinating 1951 newsreel showing Klaatu receiving a certificate of merit amid stories of Communist threats, the Korean war and beauty pageants ("Pomp and pulchritude on parade in Atlantic City"). Best of all is an absorbing commentary track with director Robert Wise in conversation with Nicholas Meyer (both men have Star Trek movies on their CV). --Mark Walker

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By @GeekZilla9000 TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 13 Mar 2008
Format: DVD
Few films are as iconic as this one - this became the template for sci-fi films...

This film will be 60 years old in just a few years time, and watching it now, you can't help but think that the central message has been conveniently ignored. This film was released only 5 years after the Second World War and the ironic ultimatum of peace or obliteration doesn't look like it's been heeded.

Klaatu the humanoid alien lands in Washington and emerges from his flying saucer in one of cinemas greatest moments. The message of peace seems seems even more relevant the moment you flinch as the nervous soldier shoots our inter-planetary neighbour. Already, you feel the shame of humanity - and just to make us feel even smaller (quite literally!) Gort the eight-foot robot appears and zaps away all the military's weapons without actually hurting anyone.

Michael Rennie is perfectly cast as Klaatu, he is a good looking fella, but with something odd about him. He has an extra-terrestrial air about him, and much of his acting is done through subtle smiles which hints at his superior knowledge, he seems to find some of what he experiences here to be either quaint, or plain silly. He manages to bring charisma in buckets to a role which would have ended up too wooden by many other actors.

Patricia Neal puts in a convincing performance as Helen. Helen isn't your average 50's sci-fi lead lady - she isn't relegated to 'screamer'. Yes, she does have a few moments of over-acting, but that's the charm of the era/genre - and her portrayal is on the whole quite natural. Kudos to Billy Gray, the young lad who befriends Klaatu and enjoys his tales of advanced technology.
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93 of 98 people found the following review helpful By Mark Barry HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 18 May 2007
Format: DVD
Before the review, a little about the Cinema Reserve series from 20th Century Fox (this issue is one of those titles).

"Cinema Reserve" is the title given to Fox's "premium" issues and releases started in February 2006 & are on-going. The blurb inside each tin promises best digital transfers, best audio, best extras, dedicated and unique booklet - and all of it wrapped up in a rather delicious metal tin exterior with slightly altered artwork. The series is numbered on the spine of the tin - from 001 on upwards (see list below). Most are 2DVD sets where the standard issue or Studio Classics issue is often only 1 disc. (Some of the doubles in this series are the 1st UK release of already released doubles in the USA on Region 1.)

I mention all of this because when you type in "Cinema Reserve" into the Amazon search engine, you get only 2 entries - "The Seven Year Itch" and "The Fly". No one at Fox seems to have alerted Amazon of the releases nor provided them with all of the proper artwork. Amazon's system has most of the titles available (not all) but they're not highlighted or recognised as "Cinema Reserve" releases. (The unique artwork is an easy way to spot them). It looks like the series will contain almost 20 titles by the end of the year. I've bought 6 others to date and 2 of them do have stock faults despite the "pristine transfer" claims in the booklet (more of those in later reviews). Still, if most are like this title (superb), then you may want to start saving! And the tin effect looks soooo good too - craftily geared towards the collector in us all!

For those interested, I've compiled an alphabetical list with the Series Number, Film Title, Film Release Date and finally the Cinema Reserve Release Date (including forthcoming titles):

1.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Steven Y. on 7 Nov 2005
Format: DVD
Robert Wise's "The Day the Earth Stood Still" is a prime example of how well science-fiction films excel in examining universal issues. The proliferation of nuclear weapons following the end of World War II spawned this cinematic treatise on the new dangers the world had to face in the atomic age.
A flying saucer touches down in Washington D.C. and is immediately surrounded by armed troops. A hatch on the saucer opens and a figure named Klaatu (Michael Rennie) emerges. After he is shot by a nervous soldier, his robot companion Gort (Lock Martin) destroys some of the weaponry gathered around the saucer. Klaatu halts Gort's destructive spree and is taken to a nearby hospital. He soon escapes after making no headway in his plan to assemble the leaders of the planet to listen to a message he wants to deliver. With the help of a young boy named Bobby Benson (Billy Gray) and his mother, Helen (Patricia Neal), Klaatu makes contact with Professor Jacob Barnhardt (Sam Jaffe), a respected mathematician, who he hopes will assemble for him an audience of the world's leading academics.
While other science-fiction films of the period were content with one-dimensional storylines complete with rubber-suited monsters and spaceships straight out of model kits, Robert Wise proved that the genre had much more potential. He avoided silliness and absurdity and instead infused his film with meaning and food for thought. Much like the television series "Star Trek" did a decade later, "The Day the Earth Stood Still" used science fiction to explore the human condition and to critique the puzzling obsession the human race has with total annihilation. Rennie's stoic performance is chilling because of the weight behind Klaatu's message.
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