David Von Pein

The Day The Earth Stood Still (1951)

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Classic--Movies.blogspot.com / The Day The Earth Stood Still (1951)

 

"I can watch 'The Day The Earth Stood Still' over and over again, and never get tired of it. .... The movie contains several wonderfully subtle moments where we can sense the true 'alien' status of Klaatu [Michael Rennie]. 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. .... [This film] has stood the test of many decades' worth of time, and will no doubt stand many more to come."

 

-- David Von Pein; November 2005

 

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tcm.com / THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL

Edited by David Von Pein
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I think this is one of the better sci-fi movies of the 50s.   Clearly well made with first rate talent (of course I have a thing for Patricia Neal).  

 

I'm sure there are some that dismiss the film as one outer space lefty with one human lefty.   But at least they keep it clean!      :lol:

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It is an interesting Biblical allegory:

 

Klaatu came to earth from heaven to help mankind.

He posed as a harmless “Carpenter”.

He was smarter than the smartest man on earth.

The local military was afraid of him.

He was murdered by the local military, but he rose from the dead.

He departed earth, ascending up into heaven, after issuing a warning and message to earthlings about returning again when a big earth-ending war breaks out.                 

 

 

From IMDB Trivia:

 

There are parallels between Klaatu and Jesus Christ. Klaatu comes from another world and chooses the name of Mr. Carpenter (the occupation of Jesus Christ). He came to warn about the destruction Earth is going to face if they don't believe him and his words. Jesus Christ said to the people that they will face destruction if they don't believe in him and in his words. Like Jesus prophesying about the destruction of Jerusalem, Klaatu prophesies that Earth may have to face destruction like leveling New York City or sinking the Rock of Gibraltar. Both Jesus Christ and Klaatu die and later come back to life. Like Klaatu's flying saucer seen by people in the film, People in Jerusalem and in Judea saw flying chariots and soldiers in the sky right before the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. This was recorded by Jewish Historian Josephus, Roman Historian Tacitus, Eusebius, Document "Pseudo Hegesippus", and Jewish History Document "Sepher Yosippon".

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There are a few slow spots in it that offer some popcorn-time during rewatchings, but most of those are followed by good scenes.

 

And even an apparently slow-scene - standing in front of Prof Barnhardt's blackboard - results in a key moment when Klaatu steps back in and warns the housekeeper to "Don't touch that - the professor will need it."

 

This is a film where a child is inserted into the mix of characters and does a little more than chant in front of Mothra eggs, too, and as the camera pans away, we're left hearing his mom fret over his 'wet socks'.  Du-uh - ya think you might believe him, Mom?  Noooo...

 

Hugh Marlowe with his big-diamond eyes full of dollar signs... oh well, at least in 3 years, he wised up a bit and was wearing alien headgear to understand how they might view our Harryhausen world. But c'mon, Hugh - are you REALLY jealous and thinking you'd lose yer sweetheart to Michael Rennie?!!  Sheesh - at least it wasn't Richard Carlson!

 

And of course, Aunt Bee and the Commie Menace...

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There are a few slow spots in it that offer some popcorn-time during rewatchings, but most of those are followed by good scenes.

 

And even an apparently slow-scene - standing in front of Prof Barnhardt's blackboard - results in a key moment when Klaatu steps back in and warns the housekeeper to "Don't touch that - the professor will need it."

 

This is a film where a child is inserted into the mix of characters and does a little more than chant in front of Mothra eggs, too, and as the camera pans away, we're left hearing his mom fret over his 'wet socks'.  Du-uh - ya think you might believe him, Mom?  Noooo...

 

Hugh Marlowe with his big-diamond eyes full of dollar signs... oh well, at least in 3 years, he wised up a bit and was wearing alien headgear to understand how they might view our Harryhausen world. But c'mon, Hugh - are you REALLY jealous and thinking you'd lose yer sweetheart to Michael Rennie?!!  Sheesh - at least it wasn't Richard Carlson!

 

And of course, Aunt Bee and the Commie Menace...

 

Love that comment of 'at least it wasn't Richard Carlson'!     I often get Marlowe and Carlson confused since they kind of look similar, often play very similar roles in films and have a similar screen persona.     Maybe it is just the films I have seen but when they do end up with the gal it is only after the guy she really loves has been killed!

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Richard Denning and Hugh Marlowe - yes.  I can easily confuse the two in any film simply because they 'seem' the same - very handsome, usually The Leading or Secondary Romantic actor.

 

Then, I just remember - "throw in CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON and it's easy to tell the diff-!"

 

Even more amazing is that they don't look a like.  But somehow, they are just dropped into the Very Handsome Leading Man role in the B movies, or secondary leading in the higher-budget films. 

 

If it ever helps, perhaps recall that Denning was Lucille Ball's husband in her fun MY FAVORITE HUSBAND radio show in the early '50s, where she found a team of writers and took half of those scripts into the next phase of American entertainment - TV.  But Denning - per usual - gets left on the sidelines of that, too, and winds up in TV's MR & MRS NORTH instead, which was over by the time he was swimming in black lagoons.  Just as well...

 

After Denning had dried off from that watery exploit, he walked out into a bright sunny morning to discover he was all alone.  Well, almost all alone.  And that earth had become a target of a massive robot invasion.  Well... one.  TARGET EARTH is one of those absolute hoots as a Last Man On Earth candidate.  "Scream!  Everyone SCREAM!!"  Oh wait... that was Vincent Price...

 

But after surviving lagoons and alien robot invasions, Denning takes a job as an early CSI, discovering radioactive handprints on cars about the same time he discovers zombies with radio-wires in CREATURE WITH THE ATOM BRAIN.  Another total hoot of a film, which also features perhaps one of the first politically-corrected names where the Italian mafioso is named "Buchanan" just a few years after the Kefauver Committee heard Hoover say "There is no such thing as the Mafia."  Fortunately, Denning and Barney Fife would prove they could defy the Mafia.

 

For some reason, Denning quit that job later that year because THE DAY THE WORLD ENDED, and he was out in Bronson Canyon stumbling across an older gent, his beautiful lonely daughter and a gangster & moll avoiding radioactive fog. 

 

After the world gets better, Denning takes a job as a prison minister in GIRLS IN PRISON (1956) - lordy, talk about the Hots!  Then he quits that job and decides to move back near the Empire State Building to push around a certain lass in a wheelchair the next year, but she dumps him.  "At least it wasn't for Hugh Marlowe!"  Yeah, like losing out to Cary Grant makes him feel a lot better!

 

He heads south of the border though to look at Mexican cattle ranching, a volcano, another beauty on horseback and then Willis O'Brien shows us what REAL stop-motion animation can look like in THE BLACK SCORPION.  I wonder if Denning took the train home?

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 ...I wonder if Denning took the train home?

 

Can't take a train to Hawaii ya know, Ollie...

 

09hawaii-50-richard-denning1.jpg

 

;)

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The Day the Earth Stood Still is definitely on the list of my top 10 Sci-Fi films. I probably watch it twice a year and enjoy it every time I see it. After watching it so many times, the oddities of the writing become more and more pronounced. But it has a lot of very enduring qualities about it, nonetheless.

 

I have it locked on my DVR – think I’ll turn it on.

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Notan, I can't think of a better comment on any film than to say it's worth re-watching.  Now that Keanu's version has worn out its newness-welcome, it's interesting to see how the locals jammed the recent 3-day showing here of this 1951 version, with sell-outs at the midnight shows in particular.  Rewatchability!

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