Day the Earth Stood Still [DVD]  [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
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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 WalkerSee all Product description
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The Day the Earth Stood Still is the best ever sci-fi film ever made, plus its way a head of its time. What I love about this film is, it has a massage for mankind, keep care of your fragile planet or we will take action. I know this sounds stupid but in away this is what this planet needs, a wake up call. This is a brilliant film, you could say a masterpiece.
But the star here is not the SFX, nor the actors; it's the story. Yes, there's an unsubtle message (moral, if you prefer). But the way in which it is handled, the performances given by the actors, the direction, the score, and yes, the SFX, all overwhelm any clumsiness. This is classic SF. From the period, perhaps only Forbidden Planet can match it. B-movie it certainly is not. This not only stands the test of time now, I think it will do so for decades to come...
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