Thursday, July 31, 2008

Retrospective - The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)

With all the media hype that is likely to surround the pending Keannu Reeves remake of this classic picture, I thought it was appropriate to look back and pay tribute to what the American Film Institute ranks as the 5th best Scifi picture of all time.

Here are some highlights –

It is always important to recognize the literary roots of cinema. The movie is based on the short story “Farewell to the Master” by Harry Bates which you can read in its entirety here. It was originally published in Astounding in the October 1940 issue.

The movie was directed by Robert Wise whose varied career included helming two other popular science fiction films, The Andromeda Strain (1971) and Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979).

The picture starred Michael Rennie whose later scifi credits included appearances on TV episodes of Lost in Space, Time Tunnel and The Invaders as well as 3 other genre pictures The Lost World (1960), Cyborg 2087 (1966) and The Power (1968).

And of course it has the memorable quote “Gort! Klaatu barada nikto!“ which also spawned the Canadian Rock band Klaatu in the 1970’s as well as a minor tribute character in Return of the Jedi.

The musical score was by the incomparable Bernard Herrmann and you can hear a sample here.

Here are some variations on the original theater poster.

And some lobby cards –

Watch the original trailer –

1 comment:

  1. I think the ship in this film was ahead of its time (try looking at the cars and backgrounds in the film and compare) I particularly like the way it opens to let the occupants out


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