The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)
IMDB Rating 7.9/10 92 min - Rated U Sci-Fi | Drama
Stars: Michael Rennie, Pat Neale, Hugh Marlowe Director: Robert Wise
A flying saucer lands in Washington, sending the world into a state of paranoia. Its two occupants are Klaatu (Rennie), a humanoid, and Gort (Martin), his robot. Their warnings to mankind of the dangers of atomic power prove difficult to accept. Robert Wise's impeccably produced classic differs substantially from standard 1950s sci-fi hokum. Based on a short story by Harry Bates, the film largely avoids the exploitation of America's cold war paranoia, opting instead to issue a warning of mankind's potential for atomic self-destruction. The alien visitor charged with relaying this message of peace hardly receives a warm welcome. Justifying his races concerns about us, Klaatu is met with violence and distrust upon his arrival. After being shot and arrested by the jittery military authorities, our society receives some redemption at the hands of an imaginative young boy, Bobby (Gray), and his liberal mother Helen (Neal). It's the open-minded who are presented as our potential saviours, whilst the petty ignorance and reactionary approach of the media and government prove to be our greatest liability. The film's success in illustrating its despair over our unfounded fear of the unknown was noted by the Golden Globes. In 1952, America's second biggest cinema awards ceremony named it 'Best Film Promoting International Understanding'. The Day the Earth Stood Still is probably the best and most rewarding of the 1950s political sci-fi movie cycle. Featuring an excellent score from Hitchcock collaborator Bernard Herrmann, impressive effects and great performances, the film is as enjoyable and relevant today as it must have been on its release.