Customer Reviews: The Day The Earth Stood Still (1951)
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on May 29, 2003
Watching this recently, it amazed me how little action there is in this movie, and yet it remains as captivating and enthralling as ever. There are none of the set pieces we have come to expect in modern genre films: no explosions, no gory deaths, one small chase scene. Tension is developed through character development and the wonderful performances of Patricia Neal and Michael Rennie, with some wonderful supporting work from Sam Jaffe and Frances Bavier (Mayberry's Aunt Bea!)
There are very few special effects: the odd tank disappears in a glow of light, but other than that, this is a film driven by character development. Taut direction by Robert Wise, straightforward writing from Edmund North and impressive cinematography by Leo Tower create an intelligent, literate, adult science fiction film that appeals to all ages.
Special mention must be made of Bernard Herrmann's haunting score. One of the first film scores to use Leon Theremin's eerie and eponymous electronic instrument, which unfortunately became a genre cliché, the music adds immeasurably to the tense and unsettling atmosphere.
Modern audiences may find the film's message heavy handed and obvious, relying on 1950's atomic paranoia and the absolute power it brought. In fact, Klaatu's proffered peaceful solution borders on totalianarianism. But these are minor considerations considering this is a simple story stunningly told.
The DVD contains many interesting extras of interest to film buffs and collectors, including a shooting script, extended discussions on the evolution of the film from idea to release, and an odd look at the people fascinated with collecting 1950's sci-fi film props and paraphernalia.
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on December 5, 2008
First and foremost, this is a review for the 1951, black and white, 1.33:1 aspect ratio, 2-disc, special edition DVD and NOT for the remake (Gort! Keanu barada nikto :)

Okay so here's the lowdown; as I now have both this new edition and the original single, flipper disc, version, and having watched all of the bonus features on the new 2-disc set, I can tell you this: keep the old disc!

Why, because the 73 plus minute, making of, on the original disc is gone, replaced with a new 23 minute fluff piece that only skims the surface of the story, of the making of this film.

Gone are the lengthy on camera interviews with the producer, director and female lead, replaced instead with film historian's inane babble, with the odd snippet of voice recordings of the director and producer, taken from the 73 plus minutes, making of, from the original disc (without the on camera picture).

Also gone, is the very interesting, "Collectors", segment, tacked onto the end of the original making of, which had several prominent collectors showing off such treasures as the original flying saucer model and Gort statue, used in the actual film, with anecdotes about the film, and where the props they now owned, had ended up after the filming.

As for the extra stuff added to the 2-disc set, nothing is worth the non-inclusion of the original making of from the first disc (most of the new stuff has nothing to do with the film, but instead conveys the political tensions of the world at that time, which, although slightly of interest, is not worth upgrading for).

And on a new extra note for the new 2-disc set, the reading of, Farewell To The Master, is poorly executed, with a static picture with simple playing instructions, present throughout the entire reading (where as they could of has stills from the film playing throughout the reading, while the soundtrack played quietly in the background) and trying to maneuver through the reading is a nightmare, as there are three chapter stops, which are about 10 plus minutes each, with no way of fast searching through the 10 plus minute segments, so if you stop playing the reading at 9 minutes, you can't start the playback where you left off but instead have to listen to the whole thing from the start of the chapter (I know this because I stopped the playback for a minute, and when I hit the play button on the remote, the film started to play, so I had to go back to the menu and start the reading again, and listen to the stuff I had already heard. I would have preferred that an onscreen text version of the short (45 pages - not so short in my books) story be included instead).

So unless you are a completes, then this 2-disc version isn't worth the money, and even if you are looking to buy this for the first time, I'd HIGHLY recommend that you pick up the original DVD release, as the picture quality is the same, and you get the far superior 73 plus minute, making of, along with the director's commentary, picture galleries and original trailer.
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In many respects THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL is a very dated film. Obviously a comment on Cold War paranoias, it has little in the way of special effects or high-class production values, Edmund H. North's script is surprisingly talky, and it captures the very clunky look of late-1940s/early-1950s America to an uncomfortable degree. Certainly few involved in the project took it very seriously--even leading lady Patricia Neal admitted that she and Michael Rennie had tremendous difficulty keeping straight faces while spouting "Gort! Klaatu barada nikto!" But strangely, against all the odds, the film continues to speak, capturing the imagination of each new generation that sees it.

The film's enduring power seems to arise from its very simplicity, which lifts the story of a visitor from outer space from mere sci-fi pulp to the level of a parable. As frequently noted, the film contains significant religious symbolism. It is easy to read the visitor as Christ, the woman who befriends him as Mary Magdalene, the man who betrays him as Judas, and the message the visitor brings as both call to repentance and opportunity for redemption--and whatever one's actual religious beliefs, the film taps into these archetypes to create a very effective modern morality tale that works on several levels. At the same time, the film makes a surprisingly acid comment on American and international politics, small minded bigotry, and media hysteria that still rings true today. And the film has surprising visual power. Although the cinematography is very basic, and the design of both the spaceship and the robot Gort are very simple, they combine to create a number of startling images: the first moment that Gort is seen standing on the spaceship's ramp; the spacecraft interior; Gort as he menaces a screaming Patricia Neal--images so simple and yet so powerful that they have become part of our cultural landscape.

The cast plays very unpretentiously and cleanly, and although Rennie and Neal may have snickered on the set none of it shows in their performances. Both are very memorable. Hugh Marlowe is appropriately smarmy as Neal's unpleasant boyfriend, and Sam Jaffe and Billy Gray are enjoyable in their supporting roles; film buffs will also enjoy seeing Frances Bavier (television's "Aunt Bea") in a rare film appearance. Robert Wise's direction is impressively unobtrusive, and any review that did not reference Bernard Herrman's brilliant score--which easily doubles the film's effectiveness--would be incredibly remiss. If you want computer generated special effects, evil aliens, and lots of blood-letting, you should look elsewhere... but if you want something to think about, and something that will hold up under repeated viewings, THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL is strongly recommended.

GFT, Amazon Reviewer
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This classic movie has aged very well -- even after 50 years it's still highly watchable and completely relevant. Some of the dialogue -- such as the discussion about how difficult it would be to get all of Earth's heads of state together in the same room -- could be taken from today's headlines. Also like today, the scientists find it easier to meet on common ground than the politicians! (Watch out for the cigarette smoking, though --- even the doctors light up in the hospital hallways! Oh well, that's really how it was back in the 50s. At the same time, it's neat to see all those "classic" cars and other props.)
This film goes to show that special effects (of which this movie has relatively few) are not necessary for effective science fiction. With good actors performing an excellent script, it doesn't really matter that the robot is a man in a rubber costume or the flying saucer looks a bit fakey when it first comes down to earth. You soon get so caught up in the story, that it's easy to suspend disbelief and let it be real. (I'm very glad they didn't colorize this, because the B&W lighting effects are a big part of the illusion. Adding color would ruin it.)
Precisely because the script doesn't go into much detail about how the spaceship works, it doesn't seem as dated as many other 1950s films. The minimalist interior of the UFO simply suggests technology so far advanced, that you can fill in explanations with your own imagination. (Frankly, I like this approach much better than the constant technobabble in recent Star Trek episodes.) Michael Rennie plays a highly intelligent alien who could be a forerunner of Spock (minus the pointed ears), and Sam Jaffe is just wonderful as the Einstein-like scientist whose unbridled curiousity and openess toward the unknown is a fine role model for us all. This movie is true drama at its best!
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on December 8, 1999
The Day the Earth Stood Still was the first relatively modern film to show that Science Fiction and horror do not necessarily equate. Unlike most of the genre at that time, and even today, TDTESS derives its strength not from violence and destruction but from the then rather radical message that peace and reason were superior to power and conquest. The fact that the message is delivered by alien "invaders" adds the magic of irony and role reversal to the story.
Michael Rennie displays a marvelous range of acting skills, ranging from patient forbearance to barely concealed contempt, in his dealings with understandably cynical and suspicious humans. Patricia Neal fills a truly unique niche for the cinema of the day, portraying an independent woman with the intellect to think for herself, the strength of character to say what she feels, and the courage to take action when necessary. Sam Jaffe is delightful as the distinguished Professor Barnhart, who serves as the catalyst in allowing Klaatu (Rennie) to present his message of sober self-determination with the potential for either enlightening or ominous consequences.
The monster of this film is the robot Gort, also unusual in that he seldom initiates any form of activity, but reacts decisively and often irrevocably when provoked. Another unusual twist is this thought-provoking movie is that many of the mysteries surrounding Gort are never revealed.
Most Sci-Fi of the early days either had no message, or the message was so shallow and transparent as to be laughable. The messages brought forth in TDTESS are many and varied, both overt and subtle. Among the most obvious are that, while man holds his fate in his own hands, there comes a point at which he is no longer in control of the consequences of irresponsible action. Another is that those we assume to be enemies are not necessarily so, and those we determine to be friends may not always remain that way.
Although The Day the Earth Stood Still is more than forty years old, it remains a profound, effective gem of Science Fiction as relevant today as it was in the early days of the Cold War.
This movie belongs in the library of any true Sci-Fi enthusiast.
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on November 13, 2005
March 4, 2003, was a great day for Sci-Fi movie fans -- that's the day when one of the very best science-fiction movies of all-time was finally released on the DVD format by Twentieth Century Fox. That movie being one of my eternal faves, 1951's "The Day The Earth Stood Still", directed by the great Robert Wise (who sadly passed away on September 14th, 2005, just four days after his 91st birthday).

I regard Mr. Wise as one of the top American directors of his time. In addition to this film, Wise also helmed two other motion pictures that are among my favorites -- "The Haunting" (1963) and "Executive Suite" (1954). Plus, of course, Wise also directed "West Side Story" in 1961 and "The Sound Of Music" in 1965, with both of those films earning the highest of all possible honors, each capturing the "Best Picture" Oscar at the Academy Awards.

I can watch "The Day The Earth Stood Still" over and over again, and never get tired of it. It was made well prior to the computer-enhanced days of "CGI" (premiering in U.S. movie theaters on September 18, 1951), and relies mainly on a well-told story, rather than concentrating on the "body count" or continually feeling the need to blow something to smithereens (although a few pieces of Army artillery do suffer as a result of that "Laser Beam"/"Death Ray" that is utilized, when needed, by that most imposing of all robots, "Gort", who was played by the 7-foot-7 Lock Martin).

But, despite the lack of extra-fancy CGI-type special effects, I think the circa 1951 effects used for TDTESS hold up pretty well even in the 21st century. The "disappearing tanks and guns" scene has a fairly realistic look to it, via the time-lapse photography method employed. And Gort's "death ray" doesn't seem overly phony either (from a photography standpoint).

I have to admire the tenacity of Robert Wise, and the creative team who put TDTESS together, for even WANTING to "test the waters" (so to speak) and produce a film that contains such heavy and controversial "end-of-the-world" type of subject matter (especially in 1951, just six years after the bomb was dropped on Japan in World War II). Back in '51, the idea of "nuclear holocaust" was probably more than merely a distant thought in the minds of many Americans.

But I'm glad that Mr. Wise and company persevered and brought this quintessential sci-fi drama to the screen. It has stood the test of many decades' worth of time, and will no doubt stand many more to come.

This intelligently-written black-and-white film classic stars Michael Rennie, Patricia Neal, Hugh Marlowe, Sam Jaffe, Billy Gray, and Frances Bavier. Plus, as mentioned before, the huge presence (literally) of Lock Martin as "Gort", who was one of the tallest actors ever to work in Hollywood films.

41-year-old England-born actor Michael Rennie does very well in the film as the alien ("Klaatu") sent to Earth to urge us to save our planet from certain destruction if we Earthlings continue to experiment with atomic energy (which Klaatu predicts will be "applied to spaceships" in the foreseeable future).

Rennie's very controlled (dual) performance as "Klaatu" and "Mr. Carpenter" (who looks and talks exactly like English-speaking Earth folk) I think is a strong asset to this movie. He strikes just the right chords throughout the film. He's an "alien being" from an unknown far-away planet, sure. But he's far from being a "monster" of any sort. Instead, he's very likeable (despite the fact he's threatening to "eliminate" Planet Earth, and reduce it to a "burned-out cinder", if dire circumstances should warrant that action).

It's difficult to dislike Klaatu even after he delivers his impressive movie-concluding ultimatum to the people of Earth ("Your choice is simple...join us and live in peace; or pursue your present course and face obliteration"). Maybe it's the British accent -- but I just flat-out like the guy, funny-looking space suit and all. :-)

The movie contains several wonderfully-subtle moments where we can sense the true "alien" status of Klaatu. One such well-scripted occasion is when Klaatu/Carpenter opens up a musical box and is a bit surprised and amused when he hears a tune coming from within this 'odd' object. The idea of a box that emits music had been completely "alien" to him. It's a small but well-written moment in the picture.

Another scene of that sort which reminds the audience that Klaatu is from another world is so short that if you blink you will miss it (and you'd also miss its perfect visual subtlety) -- When "Mr. Carpenter" first meets "Tom Stevens" (Hugh Marlowe), Stevens holds out his hand to shake the hand of Carpenter. But this "hand-shaking" practice is obviously totally foreign to Mr. Carpenter, as he looks down at Marlowe's outstretched hand in bewilderment for just a brief moment, before "catching on" and holding out his own hand to be grasped.

Other similar examples of this "new kid on the planet" nature crop up throughout the movie, such as when Carpenter appears puzzled by the notion of being asked to "take a hand" of a different sort -- a card-playing "hand" during a game of gin rummy. These ill-at-ease moments exhibited by the quick-on-his-feet alien make up part of the rich underlying fabric of the film, and are nearly-imperceptible pieces of splendid writing by the author of the film's screenplay, Edmund H. North.

I've also always enjoyed 13-year-old Billy Gray in this movie. Gray ("Bud" in the TV series "Father Knows Best") is excellent in the role of Patricia Neal's son, giving a performance that comes across as very relaxed and natural. He doesn't seem to be acting at all. I doubt if the casting director could have made a better choice for the part of "Bobby Benson" than Billy Gray.

One of my favorite (and humorous) lines of dialogue in the film is spoken by Gray -- "You don't seem to know much about anything, do you Mr. Carpenter?" (If only Billy knew just how untrue that line is.) ~wink~

Billy Gray was by no means new to the world of feature film-making when he gave his spirited performance in "The Day The Earth Stood Still". Billy had already appeared in literally dozens of films by the time he was 13. TDTESS, in fact, was his 8th movie part during JUST the calendar year of 1951! And he was in 9 others the previous year! Billy's first movie role was in 1943's "Man Of Courage". He was 5 years old at the time.

Frances Bavier (who nine years later would be co-starring as "Aunt Bee" in "The Andy Griffith Show") also does quite nicely in her small part as "Mrs. Barley"; and 60-year-old Sam Jaffe is ideally cast in his role as "Professor Barnhardt". Jaffe adds a little bit of humor to the film as well ("There are several thousand questions I'd like to ask you").

And then there's another "co-star", of sorts -- that being: the delightfully-eerie musical score composed by Bernard Herrmann, which never fails to send multiple chills down the spine of the listener. Herrmann's incredible music for TDTESS is, IMO, one of the best scores ever written for any motion picture, sci-fi variety or otherwise. It fits this movie to a perfect "tee". The fabulous theme music that opens the film is just incomparable.

I highly recommend this movie's soundtrack album, too. Varese Records issued a newly-packaged version of the soundtrack CD on the exact same day the DVD of the film was released (March 4th, 2003).

A writing gaffe, ya think? ..........

Almost every movie is plagued by a few unintentional bloopers or plot holes or writing errors and such. And TDTESS is no exception. Most fans of the film know of the "visible wires" that can be briefly seen on screen as Patricia Neal is being carried to the spaceship by robot Gort. And in that same scene, the "zipper" on the front of Lock Martin's "Gort suit" can be seen.

But here's a more subtle writing goof that I've noticed when watching the film .... I've always wondered why a more detailed physical description of Klaatu (or, for that matter, ANY description) was not made available to the public after Klaatu's escape from Washington's Walter Reed Hospital.

Several people got a good look at Klaatu when he wasn't wearing the face-covering 'get-up' he was decked out in during his first scene in the movie. Nurses, doctors, and "Mr. Harley" certainly could have given a description to the authorities or to a Radio/Television audience.

But, according to the TV bulletin provided by newsman Drew Pearson (aka "Drear Pooson" to fans of "The Jack Benny Program"; ROFL!!), there was no physical description of Klaatu given out whatsoever. (Pearson just showed a picture of him in his "Klaatu Suit", which he was wearing upon his unannounced arrival in Washington "at Three Forty-Seven PM Eastern Standard Time").

Now, if an alien who is possibly bent on destroying the world were on the loose, I think I'd want as much information on the subject that I could get. But, I guess it was just too difficult a task to ask those few individuals who actually DID see Klaatu's outer features for a description of the visitor from outer space. ~LOL!~

To be perfectly fair to the filmmakers in this "lack of Klaatu description" regard -- I suppose that we, the viewers of this flick, could just assume that a better description of Klaatu WAS issued at some point via TV and/or radio, and any such info simply didn't make it into the movie's screenplay. However, if this is to be "assumed", I'd then begin to wonder why the people who set up house with the alien didn't realize, from any such description they might have been exposed to after he began living under their roof, that this stranger in their midst just might be the most-hunted "foreigner" ever to drop from the heavens. Oh well....just alien food for thought.

Then, too, from strictly a moviemaking perspective, if Mrs. Benson and company HAD been privy to a perfect description of the alien, and had subsequently blown the whistle on him, then I guess we'd have had only about a 15-minute movie. Klaatu needs to stay anonymous for the majority of the film, otherwise the screenplay goes down the tubes. :-)

More snafus in the 'credibility' departmart......

There's also the fact that Klaatu was able to waltz right out of the hospital without a single person noticing his escape, which could also be referred to as a script "blunder", I suppose. Talk about your lax security measures with an alien creature on the premises! But, perhaps Klaatu went into "stealth" mode as he slipped past hospital personnel. ;)

In addition, another completely-implausible "security-lacking" detail occurs later in the film, when Gort clobbers the two MPs stationed outside the ship. For goodness sake! We've been invaded by a flying saucer from another world, and all we can afford for protection are TWO MEASLY GUARDS??!! They could have AT LEAST posted Barney Fife alongside these two guards for additional protection against "this menace from another world"! Barney could have gotten off at least one shot in case of trouble. (He only carried one bullet, ya know.) ~uncontrolled laughter ensues here~ ;)

But, when all is said and done, any boners that might exist in the script don't really matter a great deal -- because even with a few gaps in logic here and there, "The Day The Earth Stood Still" shall forever remain a cinema masterpiece in this writer's steadfast opinion.


The DVD version of "The Day The Earth Stood Still" shines brightly in virtually every respect, doing full justice to this motion picture. The B&W Full-Frame (1.33:1 OAR) photography looks excellent via this nearly-flawless film-to-DVD transfer performed by 20th Century Fox.

The disc offers up plenty of audio choices to listen to as well. There are a total of five Dolby Digital audio tracks on the DVD -- English 2.0 Stereo; English 2.0 Mono; Spanish 2.0 Mono; French 2.0 Mono; plus a Commentary Track in English 2.0 Stereo. Subtitles are available also (in both English and Spanish).

Note re. language options: I took notice recently of a rather curious thing re. the Spanish audio track on this DVD -- some of the background music has been completely changed for this Spanish track (particularly noticeable in Chapter 15, during the film's final scene). The substituted musical cues are nothing like the Bernard Herrmann-created music. I'm not entirely sure, however, if this kind of music alteration for foreign-language DVD audio tracks is a common practice or not (because I rarely bother to check out any non-English tracks on any DVD products). Maybe it is common; I don't know. But I thought the changing of the music here for the Spanish audio was kind of a strange and unnecessary thing to do.

This DVD is double-sided (so no pictures on the disc), with the 92-minute film and a couple of special features located on Side A, and a handsome array of additional bonus items accessible on Side B.

Bonus Material includes.........

>> An Audio Commentary Track by Robert Wise and Nicholas Meyer. Recorded in 1995, this is the same Commentary that appeared on a LaserDisc edition of the movie.

>> An interesting feature-length "making-of" documentary, "Making The Earth Stand Still". ... This cleverly-titled featurette was made in 1995 for the Special-Edition LaserDisc release of "The Day The Earth Stood Still".

There's not much in the way of sparkling production values attached to this piece. No music score at all, and no end credits whatsoever. But I very much enjoyed the interviews and hearing about how this great sci-fi film was put together. Director Robert Wise and the film's producer, Julian Blaustein, appear in on-camera interviews discussing in some depth how the movie was made. Blaustein recorded his portions of this documentary only a very short time before he passed away (he died in June of 1995).

Plus, we also get to see and hear others who were connected with the film too, including co-stars Patricia Neal and Billy Gray. Patricia, at age 69, looks absolutely lovely here I might add.

This "Stand Still" bonus has 15 separate chapter breaks (and a Scene Selection DVD Sub-Menu). It runs for 80 minutes and features Full-Frame 1.33:1 video and DD 2.0 Stereo for the audio. No subtitles are provided.

Note: The DVD box claims that this program lasts 70 minutes, but the total length is actually ten minutes longer than that.

>> A 1951 "Movietone Newsreel" (Length: 6:20).

>> A film "Restoration Comparison".

>> The Theatrical Trailer for the film (2:08). ... TDTESS experts will quickly notice the "alternate" versions of some scenes and dialogue that have been used for the trailer here. Very subtle differences in some of the line readings, but noticeable to those who have seen this movie dozens of times.

>> 2 Bonus Movie Trailers. ... For the films "One Million Years B.C." (1966) and "Journey To The Center Of The Earth" (1959).

>> 6 "Still Galleries". ... These Photo Galleries are excellent, and quite extensive in scope. Setting aside about an hour or so for viewing these Galleries wouldn't be a bad idea (and even longer than that if you want to read the entire "Shooting Script" from start to finish). Each of the six photo sections contains dozens upon dozens of images.

Some very interesting "behind-the-camera" photos are provided here. I was surprised that this many behind-the-scenes type of pictures existed for this old movie. It's nice to know that a lot of this great stuff has survived in the Fox archives for all these years since the film's 1951 debut. This is fun stuff to scroll through to be sure.

The Photo Galleries are broken into six different sections, which are labelled as follows:

#1.) "Production"

#2.) "Scene And Set Photos"

#3.) "Shooting Script"

#4.) "Construction Blue Prints For The Ship"

#5.) "American And British Pressbooks"

#6.) "Posters, Lobby Cards, Spaceship Model And Gort"

All of these Photo Galleries are viewable in an "at-your-own-pace" manner. I.E., the "forward" remote button must be pressed to advance to the next image or script page. No "timed" track is utilized here.

The #3 Gallery -- the "Shooting Script" -- consists of pictures of all the script pages of the "Revised Final" shooting script of TDTESS (dated February 21, 1951). Fascinating stuff. If you know each line of the film verbatim, it's very interesting to note the slight changes in dialogue from the original script to what was ultimately filmed. Plus, there are a few intriguing deleted scenes revealed in this "Shooting Script" Gallery. One such deletion that I enjoyed was a cut made during the first "Walter Reed Hospital" scene. The Army General and "Major White" were supposed to have this conversation at the beginning of the scene (which was ultimately cut).....

General: "How is he {Klaatu}?"

Major White: "He's alright, General. Blood pressure's a little high, but it could be aggravation."

General (wryly): "Can't blame him. I always get mad when somebody shoots me."

Major White: "He still wants to see the President."

Colonel (to General): "We informed the White House over an hour ago."

General: "Didn't drop any hints about where he's from, did he?"

Major White: "No, sir, he didn't."

[The door to the corridor opens and a worried young Captain enters.]

Captain (to the Colonel): "Excuse me. What about the reporters, Colonel? They're swarming all over the lobby."

[The Colonel turns, in deference, to the General.]

General (quietly): "Tell them there won't be any statement tonight."

Captain: "Yes sir."

At this point, Mr. Harley (the White House secretary) enters, which is the point at which the scene begins in the final version of the film.


The DVD packaging is A-OK too. TDTESS is "#5" in Fox Home Entertainment's series of titles presented under its "Studio Classics" label. An image of "Gort" and the spaceship dons the front cover. The DVD's cover photo is okay (albeit a little bland), but I myself would have preferred either a replica of some of the original '51 poster art to grace this front cover, or possibly the same cover that was used for the 1998 VHS version of the movie, which is much more colorful and fun-looking.

I'm thankful, though, that Fox didn't recycle its cover design from the earlier 1991 VHS edition of TDTESS, which included a photo that falsely represents the relationship between Patricia Neal's and Michael Rennie's characters in the film (consisting of a silly-looking, lovey-dovey, cheek-to-cheek pose of Neal and Rennie, giving the impression that the pair were starry-eyed lovers in the movie, which is not accurate at all).

That "romantic" publicity photo always makes me want to burst out laughing when I see it. Some viewers of this film might be of the opinion that "Helen Benson" and "Klaatu" had 'amore' on their minds, but I'd disagree. IMO, Helen's personal feelings toward Klaatu didn't go much beyond "respect" and "admiration" by the film's final act. But I suppose that's part of the beauty of "the movies" -- each viewer can take from the film whatever he or she deems fit to take from it (perceived "romance" and all, if desired). ;)

A four-page mini-booklet is also included inside the Keep Case, with some production notes about the film and some trivia stuff too. The last page of the paper insert has a "Scene Selection" Guide (the movie is divided up into a total of 15 chapters/scenes). The front of the 4-page enclosure also sports a picture of one of the movie's original advertising posters. Some great artwork was created to promote this film in 1951, and a few pictures of original posters and lobby cards can be found in one of the Photo Galleries on this DVD as well.

The DVD Menus are kind of neat too, featuring a bit of animation upon disc load-up (including some of Drew Pearson's "bulletins" from the film); but the initial animated parts can be easily skipped with the click of a button or two. And the other junk that always appears whenever a DVD is put into the player can be rapidly bypassed too, if desired (e.g.: FBI warnings and misc. disclaimers). Fox Home Video is usually pretty good about not including any kind of "forced-to-watch-it" pre-Menu stuff on its DVDs. ~tips cap to them for that~

A portion of the famous theremin-heavy TDTESS theme music plays while the Main DVD Menu is on the screen (both sides of the disc). The music will repeat endlessly, but that's not too bad here, IMO, because it's a fantastic piece of music.

A nifty little thing happens when "Play" is selected from the Main Menu (to start up the feature presentation) -- After clicking "Play", Gort appears for a moment and then proceeds to "vaporize" the screen with his handy Death Ray. The screen then dissolves into nothingness for an instant prior to the beginning of the movie. A clever mood-enhancing little "segue" to start the movie-watching session.


Any DVD collector with a yen for great Sci-Fi flicks will certainly want to own this top-flight disc of "The Day The Earth Stood Still". I can't think of a single reason for not adding this DVD to the home library's movie archives. (They're probably even collecting and enjoying this title on Gort's planet.)

Final Words -- "Klaatu...Barada...Nikto". (There, I said it. You didn't expect to get through this whole tome of a review without hearing that popular phrase/axiom at least once...did you? How good could any "Stood Still" essay be without the inclusion of those three cryptic words?) :-)
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on July 7, 2000
This movie makes most of today's special-effects- heavy blockbusters look amateur. Everything is top notch in this one. Michael Rennie is very convincing as the alien visitor who shows compassion for the people of Earth who are advancing too quickly in war technology for their own good. Patricia Neal is also good in her role of mother to a son who spends time with the mysterious stranger Mr. Carpenter. The special effects in this film were beyond anything seen at the time and continue to be impressive to this day, considering that this film was made in 1951. They are not too flashy; they are subtle enough that viewers are not distracted and they will actually make you think more about the power that the giant robot Gort wields. The phrase "he could destroy the world" holds special meaning when you see him melt weapons and revive the fallen Klaatu. This film also has several amusing scenes, such as when Klaatu offers to pay to see a movie. This one is also full of suspense. When the Earth stands still, it's truly an impressive sight. On top of all of that, you have the impressive soundtrack by the legendary Bernard Hermann. Buy this to see a truly great example of film-making. This is definitely not just for sci-fi fans.
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on July 8, 1999
Loosely based on the Harry Bates short story "Farewell to the Master", "Day.." is an intelligent movie that avoids the hoary sf cliches of the period, though this can be difficult to appreciate since the film has been copied so many times over the years.
Michael Rennie displays real charisma as Klaatu, the enigmatic messenger from space. His subdued performance succeeds in displaying the wisdom, intelligence and maturity of Klaatu as he almost desperately tries to deliver his warning to the people of Earth.
An equally great performance is turned in by Patricia Neal. Her fright at the sight of Gort and her effort to compose herself as she tries to stop the robot from destroying her (and, presumably, the rest of Washington D.C.) with the words "Klaatu barada nikto" remains a classic genre sequence.
Bernard Hermann's theremin score was considered to be highly original at the time and it works well for the film, but it has been copied so many times that it has become something of a cliche.
The robot Gort is sleek and imposing despite being a bit weak at the knees and Klaatu's saucer is an equally impressive design, though the interior seems to be too spartan.
Unintentional humor is seen when the two doctors who are tending to an injured Klaatu are expressing amazement at his healthy, youthful condition at 75 years of age while they both light up cigarettes. Such was the state of medical science in the early 1950's.
"The Day the Earth Stood Still" kicked off a flowering of sf films in the 50's and yet for intelligence and charm it was hardly ever equalled.
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on June 22, 2008
Earlier today an unidentified flying object landed at our nations capital. Apparently an alien who looks just like us emerged from the ship speaking perfect English and uttered the slogan that he comes in peace. Of course, like any wise American we shot him instantly while offering our own, to quote House of Pain, slogan, eat you up like some butter cups from Reeses I come in peace but you'll leave in pieces.
Following this at exactly noon time today we lost power for 30 minutes. Do you realize that for thirty minutes we were unable to launch nuclear weapons and missiles. I don't know if America is prepared for the devastation of not being able to launch missiles could cause. For those 30 terrifying minutes our cars could not pollute the environment. The radio and television newscasters could not promote fear and panic. IT WAS TERRIBLE!
Hey Mike, What was that great invention.
Oh, basically the cure for stupidity.
Uh, ok. Anyway, what time is American Idol on tonight?
In all seriousness this is one of the greatest science fiction films I've ever seen. It's premise is like when Rudy Huxtable on the The Cosby Show - Season 1 tells her little fairy tale about war and ends it by saying STOP, with a lot more science involved but unfortunately as much fiction.
The film is also rated G. Kids got to see some real movies back then with meaning. Even Creature From the Black Lagoon was rated G. I'd take these two over Hannah Montana.
Directed by the versatile four time Oscar winner Robert Wise who also directed The Haunting and West Side Story (Special Edition DVD Collector's Set) to name just a couple.

The Picture looked pristine in black and white. The negative review on here had to be for another version or something was wrong with that persons television. Also sounded great and was THX certified.

Audio Commentary by Robert Wise and Nicolas Meyer - 70 Minute "Making the Earth Stand Still" Doc - Movietone Newsreel (1951) - Restoration Comparison - 5 Still Galleries - Shooting Script - Theatrical Trailer - Full frame format (Aspect Ration 1.33.1 )
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on May 16, 2003
It is 1950 and Hollywood takes an original idea combines it with the genius' of Studio CEO Darryl F. Zanuck, Producer - Julian Blaustein, Director - Robert Wise, ScreenPlay - Edmund H. North, the eerie futuristc Music, a spaceman, a giant robot & the words "KLAATU BARADA NIKTO" and 50+ years later we have the timeless scifi classic, "THE DAY THE WORLD STOOD STILL". Now digitally remastered and on this outstanding DVD.
This outstanding movie is presented with better clarity and sound than the original 1951 film release. This incredible movie now can be enjoyed over & over again without ever losing picture quality.
This 2 sided DVD Full Frame Format (4:3 tv / 1.33:1 aspect ratio - before WideScreen) Black/White as the movie and audio commentary with Robert Wise & Nicolas Meyer on SIDE A and a 70 minute "Making the Earth Stood Still" documentary, Movietone newsreel 1951, Restoration comparison footage, 5 still galleries, shooting script & trailer.
Summary: This movie has an outstanding cast with newcomer Michael Rennie as Klaatu the peaceful (human)alien who visits paranoid earth circa 1951. First stop Washington D.C. Greeted with violence and skepticism, escapes and goes into hiding. He befriends a mother (Patricia Neal) & her son (Billy Gray - also her real son) at a boarding house as he covertly studies the humans behaviors disguised as a businessman. He trys to get the world leaders to reach a world wide peace but they resist his ideas. They are given a sign of his powers by stopping all machinery worldwide, thus "THE DAY THE WORLD STOOD STILL". The ending is perfect and the audiences loved this film.
Even today the special effects stand the test of time and the story is so profound and sheer genius. Hollywood delivered a classic scifi film for all time. "The Day the Earth Stood Still" is a Hallmark film. This is scifi at its best & now this DVD can be added to your home movie library. Enjoy.
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