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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Klaatu barada nikto"
There are a handful of 1950's sci-fi movies that have a big reputation - "When Worlds Collide", "The Thing From Another World", "Forbidden Planet", and "The Day the Earth Stood Still". Unfortunately, the first two are really lame in today's world, and only "The Day The Earth Stood Still" really stands up (except for the...
Published on June 19 2004 by K. Gittins

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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Review Of The New 2-Disc, 'Special Edition' DVD of, THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL
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...
Published on Dec 5 2008 by stryper


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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Review Of The New 2-Disc, 'Special Edition' DVD of, THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL, Dec 5 2008
By 
stryper "stryper" (Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Klaatu barada nikto", June 19 2004
By 
K. Gittins (CA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Day the Earth Stood Still (DVD)
There are a handful of 1950's sci-fi movies that have a big reputation - "When Worlds Collide", "The Thing From Another World", "Forbidden Planet", and "The Day the Earth Stood Still". Unfortunately, the first two are really lame in today's world, and only "The Day The Earth Stood Still" really stands up (except for the robot).
Although it has a little of the hokiness inherent to all movies of the 1950's, "The Day The Earth Stood Still" actually has a good meaningful story. The typically-round flying saucer lands in a baseball field in Washington DC. A normal-looking man (Michael Rennie) emerges, offering a small gift. As usual, the military shoots first and asks questions later. A large robot (to be known as "Gort") emerges and stands guard near the ship. In the hospital, the man requests a meeting of all the heads of world government to share an important message. He is told that a meeting of all nations is impossible under the current state of international tension. After recovering a day in the hospital (and self-healing) the man, named "Klaatu", escapes and assumes the identity of Mr. Carpenter (another patient whose clothes he takes). After renting a room in a boarding-house (run by 'Aunt Bea' from the "Andy Griffith Show"), he befriends a young boy ('Bud' from "Father Knows Best"), and later his mother (Patricia Neal).
Klaatu explains his mission on Earth - to bring about the end of nuclear-arms proliferation - to an Einstein-like mathematician, who agrees to help. The mathematician suggests convincing industry and world leaders to meet to hear the message by having Klaatu perform a show of strength. This is the event behind the movie title when Klaatu stops everything that relies on electricity to operate (though sparing hospitals, in-flight airplanes, etc.)
Klaatu confides his plan to Patricia Neal, who helps him. Later, when they are being chased, Klaatu gives the robot-command codewords to Patricia Neal as a safeguard in the event of Klaatu's capture. As is somewhat predictable, the army again shoots first and asks questions later, so Patricia Neal does indeed need to issue commands to the robot, who might otherwise destroy the world.
The robot recovers the dead body of Klaatu from a jail cell and returns him to the spaceship where he undergoes a sort of resurrection. Klaatu is able to give his anti-aggression message to mankind.
The movie was directed by Robert Wise, who went on to "Run Silent, Run Deep", "West Side Story", "The Sound of Music" and "The Andromeda Strain". Score by Bernard Hermann, famous from a long list of Alfred Hitchcock movies, but also for "Citizen Kane" and "The Magnificent Ambersons" prior to "The Day The Earth Stood Still".
The reasonably-priced DVD has the restored black-and-white full-screen movie; a good "making of" documentary; a commentary with director Robert wise and Nicholas Meyer; some "Movie-Tone News" clips from 1951 having to do with a peace treaty, the Korean war, a beauty contest, and an honorary promotional award given to Klaatu (but a different actor in the suit); a restoration comparison; still gallery including the script; and some other goodies.
Highly recommended. Klaatu's message is still valid.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still standing still after all these years, July 19 2004
By 
Robert Busko (North Carolina) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Day the Earth Stood Still (DVD)
Where does one begin with such a classic film. The Day the Earth Stood Still is the definition of classic. Above average for its genre, the movie still hold its own even today.
Robert Wise did a masterful job directing the picture. Given the fact that he was directing a new and somewhat unknown lead actor in Michael Rennie, Wise did a superb job. Could anyone else have played Clatu other than Rennie?
The premise of the story, a visitation from another planetary system to warn us off our reckless advancement into the nuclear age is very timely even in 2004. Clatu, the alien traveler, needs to discuss the ramifications of our behavior with every nation on Earth but learns that such a meeting is impossible given the petty international squabbling and mistrust of the day. Clatu escapes his captivity in the hospital and moves around disguised as a Maj. Carpenter. He meets Helen Benson (Patricia Neal) and her son Bobby (Bill Gray) and learns about many of our human foibles. Also involved is Hugh Marlow's character, Helen Bensons male companion. Sam Jaffe is wonderful as Prof. Barnhardt.
Eventually, Clatu is shot (a second time) and killed. Gort, the robot, with the intervention of Helen revives Clatu and in a final climatic scene Clatu delivers his message. This is a marvelous film even after 53 years.
The DVD is also well worth the small investment. I purchased my copy at a discount store for $5.50....I should be arrested. I agree with an earlier reviewer that the number of extras devoted to this old film is remarkable.
If you get the chance grab this DVD. Even after all these years the movie is fresh and certainly timely. Also, a final observation. Given the paranoia in most modern movies dealing with aliens, The Day the Earth Stood Still is another perspective on the topic of alien visitations. Its amazing how perverted the whole genre has become. This is certainly a reflection of society as a whole.
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5.0 out of 5 stars SkyNet's Granddaddy, June 14 2004
By 
This review is from: The Day the Earth Stood Still (DVD)
I first saw this film in the mid 50s. It was excellent then and it remains so today. The effects are quaint, much of the action is completely implausable, but nonetheless the whole thing is effective. Seeing a cross-section of 50s life was interesting, too - nary an impolite or overweight person seems to have existed.
Michael Rennie has come here to warn us that his race's robots have the ability to destroy the Earth, and will do so unless we soon mend our aggressive ways. Of course, the root question - who gets to determine issues of aggression - is never touched on, but the film, at its simplified level, works as a morality play. We really should be nice to each other.
Machines as world policemen is exactly the concept behind SkyNet of the Terminator series. The main difference between the two plots is that Terminator has a more jaded - I would say realistic - view of the limits of technology, in that the machines have gone awry and the humans are forced to fight them for survival. "Earth" antiwar message is also more politically correct, and its DVD's extras confirm that with their front and center faith in globalism.
It's interesting to imagine a sequel to "Earth", reflecting what we now know about the limits of technology: Michael Rennie, call home; the robots have taken over. Rennie thus has to come back to Earth to enlist OUR help in destroying the robots. He and Patricia Neal, of course, fall in love. The boy will grow up to lead the resistance. But I digress...
"Earth"'s shortcomings are forgiven. The movie works so well at its level and its message is so well-intentioned that it's hard to find fault. Rennie, Neal, the boy, the beau, all turn in great performances.
The genre has come a long way, baby, but it's good to revisit roots now and again. A classic.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Day the Earth Stood Still, May 25 2004
By 
bob lundy (San Mateo, CA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Day the Earth Stood Still (DVD)
A timeless film. It's story is a valid lesson forever. Tastefully done, it has no embarassing moments due to it being dated, save when Klaatu says "dingus". Unless you're like the interviewer at the landing site, and I'm afraid far too many of us are, this movie is quite adult in nature and down-right scary in its message. Performances are uniformly fine with Rennie a stanout as Klaatu. Another brillant score from Bernard Herrmann.
Many of the lines of dialogue still give me chills, even after having heard some 30 times. The back of the cab scene is as great and as devastating as Brando and Steiger. That may be apples and oranges but I think of the movies as the same era and same importance. Wise's direction is seamless. The pace is exhilarating and as Wise did in "The Set-Up", he gives you the opportunity to see yourself in many different lights, from the most cynical of the most virtuous, through a wide array of characters. I think the best technical aspect to the film is the sound, much in the way that it help make Forbidden Planet so unforgettable. I've always loved the sound of Gort's laser. It sounds as if they took the sound of a bullet ricochet and slowed it down. I've watched it 30 times or more and I'll probably watch it another 30 times or more. It's that good.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Day the Earth Welcomed a Sci-Fi Classic, May 1 2004
By 
Stephen Pletko "Uncle Stevie" (London, Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Day the Earth Stood Still (DVD)
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I'm not sure of the exact day but the month and year was September 1951 when this somewhat serious sci-fi classic was released into theatres. As a brief synopsis, this ninety-minute, black-and-white movie begins with a spaceship landing in Washington, DC, capturing the world's attention. The human-like extraterrestrial named "Klaatu" (pronounced "Claa-two") onboard is detained by the military authorities and refuses to reveal the purpose of his mission to any single government. His very tall and very powerful mute robot named "Gort" guards the spaceship while Klaatu is detained. Eventually, Klaatu escapes the authorities and he (who takes the name "Carpenter") walks among Earthlings, befriending a young mother "Helen Benson" and her twelve-year old son "Bobby." He even makes contact with an eminent professor of science named "Jacob Barnhartd" (pronounced "Barn-hard") and demonstrates (in a "dramatic but not destructive" way) to this scientist and the world the immense power he has at his command. The authorities get very nervous because of this and a "spaceman-hunt" ensues which eventually turns violent. By the end of the movie, Klaatu gives the human race a warning and an ultimatum.
This synopsis does not convey the numerous strengths of this movie, some of which are as follows:
(1) Acting. This is what makes the movie. Michael Rennie as Klaatu is perfect as the peaceful and intelligent extraterrestrial and Lock Martin as Gort helps add mysteriousness to the movie as Klaatu's robotic sidekick. Patricia Neal as Helen Benson plays a believable and strong heroine who along with her inquisitive son Bobby (Billy Gray) befriend Klaatu who poses as Mr. Carpenter. As well, Sam Jaffe as Professor Barnhartd gives a brilliant portrayal of the Einstein-like scientist who also befriends Klaatu and acts as a voice of reason for the human race.
(2) Cinematography. It adds to each scene of the movie. This movie is like a "time capsule" giving the viewer a glimpse of 1950's America.
(3) Musical score. Also adds to each scene of the movie. In fact, the music was so good, that it eventually became the standard music of future sci-fi films.
Here are some things to look for when watching this movie:
(1) Klaatu's first and last words. Klaatu's first words at the beginning of the movie are, "We have come to visit you in peace and with good will." By the end of the movie, Klaatu gives an interesting speech, the last lines of which are the following: "Your choice is simple: join us and live in peace or pursue your present course and face obliteration...The decision rests with you."
(2) Klaatu's "resurrection." Near the end of the movie Klaatu, as Carpenter, dies and is brought back to life by Gort.
(3) Memorable lines especially those giving social commentary. This movie is filled with unforgettable lines. For example, Klaatu as Mr. Carpenter tells Bobby that he comes from a place where there are no wars. The twelve-year old says, "Gee, that's a good idea." Professor Barnhartd says, "Faith doesn't make good science -- curiosity does." And the famous words uttered by Helen Benson to Gort have become well-known to sci-fi buffs: "Klaatu barada nikto" (pronounced "Claa-two, ba-ra-da, nick-two"). Be sure to listen for some humorous lines. For example, "They're not people. They're Democrats."
When watching this movie, remember that you're watching a movie made in the 1950s that was shot on a budget. As a result, special effects are minimal (but still good) and the story depends more on character development and imagination. Also, you might ask yourself some questions. For example, why are only two soldiers guarding a spaceship that has a tall robot standing in front of it? You'll also find that everybody in this movie is extremely well-mannered. For example, all of the adults most of the time call themselves "Mr." or "Mrs."
The DVD extras are magnificent. They enhance the enjoyment of the movie.
Finally, one problem for some people is that the movie on the DVD was not in widescreen format. For me, this was not a problem.
In conclusion, be sure not to miss this well-acted sci-fi classic that has such a powerful message that it won the Golden Globe for Best Film Promoting International Understanding!!
<----->
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5.0 out of 5 stars A half-century has not dulled its impact!, April 22 2004
By 
Reginald D. Garrard "the G-man" (Camilla, GA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
With no major stars, Robert Wise's film is as timely and relevant today as it was when it premiered in 1951. The literate script, the crisp B & W cinematography, the wondrous Washington locations, an influential Bernard Herrmann and an outstanding cast combine to make this a masterpiece of the cinema.
Michael Rennie is flawless as the alien on a mission to a planet in deep internal chaos: the EARTH. Pre-Oscar winner Patricia Neal plays a non-stereotypical female lead: she is strong and does not cringe in the face of danger, never becoming a "screaming Mimi." Frizzy-haired Sam Jaffe again assays a role that he practically patented: the all-knowing scientist. Young Billy Gray, later to be one of Robert Young's "Father Knows Best" brood, is believable as a kid fascinated by "Mr. Carpenter". And Fox contract player Hugh Marlowe (he was one of the cast of the classic "All About Eve") does well as Neal's despicable cad of a boyfriend. Even Frances Bavier ("Aunt Bee" of "The Andy Griffith Show") has a small role.
Director Wise also populated his crowd scenes with African-Americans and other minorities, certainly a true reflection of America than most films of the era. For that, he can be considered a visionary in more ways than one.
Also, the use of then-popular radio personalities as Drew Pearson and H.V. Kaltenborn adds an air of authenticity to the science fiction trappings of the storyline.
It is no wonder that this film makes the top 100 of many a movie list.
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5.0 out of 5 stars terrific dvd -- and great for Bernard Herrmann fans too!, March 9 2004
By 
audrey (white mtns) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Day the Earth Stood Still (DVD)
This is the dvd treatment deserved by this sci-fi classic! The film still holds up, the print looks great, the sound track is crisp and the extras are spectacular. If you remember this film from days gone by, or if you are curious to see this classic, you can't go wrong here.
Michael Rennie, in his film debut, is perfect as Klaatu, the visitor from another planet who arrives to warn humans against their violent ways. Patricia Neal and Billy Gray as her son befriend Klaatu without knowing who he is, and scientist Sam Jaffe, looking every bit like Einstein, converses with the stranger before the final showdown outside the spaceship.
In addition to this great film, you'll see and hear some wonderful dvd extras on this double-sided disk, including: a commentary track with Nicholas Meyer (Time After Time, The Day After) interviewing director Robert Wise (Sound of Music, editor on Citizen Kane) as they watch the film; a 1951 newsreel which includes a science fiction convention award for the film; trailers for Journey to the Center of the Earth and One Million Years B.C.; hundreds of stills; complete blueprints for the spaceship; a complete shooting script; American and British press books (marketing items); a restoration comparison including scenes from the 1995 film transfer, the 1993 laser disc master and the 2002 film restoration; a featurette about film collectibles; and a terrific making-of featurette, with interesting and fun comments from stars Patricia Neal and Billy Gray (later in Father Knows Best), director Wise and producer Julian Blaustein (80 min).
For admirers of Bernard Herrmann, the features include lots of anecdotes and information about this great composer, who went for lots of atmosphere in a score using two theremins, brass, harps, electric bass and guitar, a vibraphone and backward tracks. Herrmann composed some of Hollywood's most iconic scores (Vertigo, Psycho, Journey to the Center of the Earth, Fahrenheit 451), and it's fun to learn more about him.
I loved this film when I was a kid, and I thoroughly enjoyed watching it again and learning so much about it. While all the extras were great, I especially enjoyed the commentary track. Wise addresses the Christ-story parallels in the film, the movie's anti-nuke theme, and gives us lots of fun info. For instance, we learn that Darryl Zanuck wanted Spencer Tracy to play Klaatu(!); that Gort was played by the doorman at Grauman's Chinese Theatre (the tallest man they could find), and was actually rather frail, so he could only stay in the Gort suit for 20 minutes at a time; and that there were actually two Gort outfits -- one with a zipper on the front and one with a zipper on the back, depending on where the camera was situated.
Great fun!
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Classic, Feb. 14 2004
By 
David (Jacksonville, FL United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Day the Earth Stood Still (DVD)
While its anti-war sentiments border on preachy, The Day the Earth Stood Still is, nonetheless, an excellent film and one of the first science fiction films designed for the thinking person.
Michael Rennie is well-cast in the role of Klaato, an alien who carries with him both a message of hope and a warning to the people of the Earth. The military, as usual, is portrayed in a somewhat unfavorable light (trigger-happy). Patricia Neal plays the mother of a boy that Klaato befriends.
I think one of the reasons this movie works so well is the stark black and white photography employed by Robert Wise (who went on to direct Andromeda Strain, among other films). The special effects are very good for the period, although Gort looks, and at times, moves, like an early version of the Michelin Man, or even Barney. The soundtrack is effectively eerie--and most certainly identified with the genre.
Overall, the movie is deservedly a classic. Although it has its faults, it most assuredly is a standard bearer amongst science fiction fans.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A "B" Movie with "A+" Ideas, Jan. 22 2004
By 
brewster22 "brewster22" (Evanston, IL United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Day the Earth Stood Still (DVD)
"The Day the Earth Stood Still" is a nifty little science fiction film from 1951, low-budget and starkly designed, that I'm sure was not meant to be anything major when released, but has since become to be considered one of the greatest of its genre.
Directed with a spare, documentary-like style by Robert Wise (who would go on to direct such major motion pictures as "The Sound of Music" and "West Side Story"), the film tells the story of a lone visitor (with his robot Gort) to Earth, who comes to warn the inhabitants of this planet against the irresponsible use of atomic power. This movie should be required viewing today, especially by members of our own government, as U.S. policy seems to be shifting ever more toward doing whatever the hell we want and the effects of our actions on world relations be damned. Sadly, the earthlings in the film behave all too predictably (and realistically), instantly assuming the visitors have come to inflict harm and dealing with the situation through excessive military force. Sound familiar?
It's a quick 90-minute film that smartly keeps its plot basic; it knows not to overstretch its modest bounds. Michael Rennie is appropriately otherworldly as Klaatu, the humanoid alien, and Patricia Neal appears in an early role as one of the only level-headed people in Washington D.C.
A terrific and thoughtful movie.
Trivia: Patricia Neal's character is instructed late in the film to say the words "Klaatu, Barada, Nikto" to Gort to prevent him from going on a destructive rampage. George Lucas borrowed these three words and gave them as names to three of Jabba the Hutt's henchman in "Return of the Jedi." A case of one sci-fi film offering homage to another.
Grade: A-
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The Day the Earth Stood Still
The Day the Earth Stood Still by Robert Wise (DVD - 2004)
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