An alien (Klaatu) with his mighty robot (Gort) land their spacecraft on Cold War-era Earth just after the end of World War II. They bring an important message to the planet that Klaatu wishes to tell to representatives of all nations. However, communication turns out to be difficult, so, after learning something about the natives, Klaatu decides on an alternative approach. Written by
Bruce Janson <email@example.com>
In the opening title montage of astro-photographs representing Klaatu's trip to Earth, the last object seen before Earth and Moon come into view is the Eagle Nebula, Messier 16 in the constellation Serpens, and is centered on "The Pillars of Creation", an object that was later captured by the Hubble Space Telescope in an iconic image that became synonymous with the resolving power of this telescope. See more »
In the scenes showing the arrival of the military, Klaatu's injury and the eradication of the weapons, the shadows of the military equipment, spaceship and actors change radically. The first shadows shown of the tanks are long as if the time of day were either very early morning, or, more likely, late afternoon. Then Klaatu leaves the spaceship, he throws a fairly short shadow such as one showing within an hour or two of noon. The tanks and Gort also show the short shadows. When Gort starts to destroy the tanks and weapons the shadows are still indicating that it's perhaps 2pm. When he finishes, a few moments later, the shadows are long and drawn out, like they were at the beginning of the scene. In movie time, no more than 10-30 minutes has passed while the shadows say it's more like half a day. See more »
Interesting In Itself & As A Reflection of Its Era
Interesting both in itself and as a reflection of its era, "The Day the Earth Stood Still" may seem unspectacular now to those who are used to the extravagant science fiction pictures of the present time, but it deserves its place as a cinema classic. The story is worthwhile in itself, and as soon as you set aside any preconceptions about what science fiction should involve, it also builds up some pretty good drama and suspense. Its perspective is also interesting to see as a reflection of the concerns of its era, which have such obvious similarities with those of the present.
The story itself sometimes moves rather slowly, and the focus is really more on the reactions to Klaatu's arrival than on the action itself. As Klaatu, Michael Rennie stays pretty low-key, as does the rest of the cast much of the time. Although there are times when the movie might lack some energy as a result, in general it probably works better that way than it would have if there were too much forced emphasis on the urgency of Klaatu's mission, which is more than able to speak for itself. The ideas behind the story are fairly simple, but they are, of course, just as significant now (or in practically any other era) as they were in the 1950's.
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