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The Day The Earth Stood Still (1951) 1951 NR CC

Available on Prime

An alien emissary gives a dramatic demonstration of power when he attempts to warn mankind about the folly of atomic experimentation.

Starring:
Michael Rennie, Patricia Neal
Runtime:
1 hour, 32 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Science Fiction
Director Robert Wise
Starring Michael Rennie, Patricia Neal
Supporting actors Hugh Marlowe, Sam Jaffe, Billy Gray, Frances Bavier, Lock Martin, Patrick Aherne, Walter Bacon, Rama Bai, Oscar Blank, Marshall Bradford, Chet Brandenburg, John Brown, John Burton, Michael Capanna, Richard Carlson, Wheaton Chambers, Spencer Chan, Jean Charney
Studio 20th Century Fox
MPAA rating NR (Not Rated)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
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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Format: DVD
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).
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25 Comments 320 of 340 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
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.
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15 Comments 204 of 228 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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