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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

24 of 25 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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24 of 25 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
stryper "stryper" (Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 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
K. Gittins (CA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Day the Earth Stood Still (Bilingual) (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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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still standing still after all these years, July 19 2004
Robert Busko (North Carolina) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Day the Earth Stood Still (Bilingual) (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 The Day The Earth Stood Still - Limited Edition Steelbook [Blu-ray], Jan. 15 2014
Andrew C. Miller - See all my reviews
THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL [1951] [Limited Edition SteelBook] [Blu-ray] [UK Release] From Out of Space . . . A Warning and An Ultimatum!

A hallmark of the science fiction genre as well as a wry commentary on the political climate of the 1950s, ‘The Day the Earth Stood Still’ is a sci-fi film less concerned with special effects than with a social parable. A spacecraft lands in Washington, D.C., carrying a humanoid messenger from another world [Michael Rennie] imparting a warning to the people of Earth to cease their violent behaviour. But panic ensues as the messenger lands and is shot by a nervous soldier. His large robot companion destroys the Capitol as the messenger escapes the confines of the hospital. He moves in with a family as a boarder and blends into society to observe the full range of the human experience. Director Robert Wise [West Side Story] not only provides one of the most recognisable icons of the science fiction world in his depiction of the massive robot loyal to his master, but he avoids the obvious camp elements of the story to create a quiet and observant story highlighting both the good and the bad in human nature.

Cast: Michael Rennie, Patricia Neal, Frank Conroy, Hugh Marlowe, Sam Jaffe, Billy Gray, Frances Bavier, Lock Martin [Gort], Patrick Aherne (uncredited), Marshall Bradford (uncredited), John Burton (uncredited), James Conaty (uncredited) and Elmer Davis (commentator uncredited)

Director: Robert Wise

Producer: Julian Blaustein

Screenplay: Edmund H. North

Composer: Bernard Herrmann

Cinematography: Leo Tover

Video Resolution: 1080p [Black and White]

Aspect Ratio: 1.34:1 [4:3]

Audio: English: 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, French: 5.1 DTS-HD, Italian: 5.1 DTS-HD and Castellano: 5.1 DTS-HD

Subtitles: English SDH, French, Italian, Castellano, Danish, Suomi, Norwegian, Swedish and Dutch

Running Time: 92 minutes

Region: All Regions

Number of discs: 1

Studio: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

Andrew’s Blu-ray Review: A flying saucer lands in Washington, D.C., and out of it emerges Klaatu [Michael Rennie], a humanoid extra-terrestrial. He declares that he's come to earth in peace and with good will, but when he reaches into his silvery spacesuit for something, a nervous soldier shoots him in the shoulder, wounding him. In response out of the spaceship steps Gort [Lock Martin], a large, metallic anthropomorphic robot that zaps all the guns, tanks and other military hardware with a powerful laser beam shooting out of its "eye," melting everything into pools of molten metal.

Klaatu is taken to Walter Reed Hospital, where the President's secretary, Mr. Harley [Frank Conroy], apologises for the misunderstanding. Klaatu informs Harley that he wants to meet with the entire world's leaders simultaneously, to deliver an urgent message from the stars concerning the future of the planet Earth. This being the height of the Cold War (among other things), Harley insists such a meeting is impossible, that the leaders of the world "wouldn't sit at the same table together." Frustrated, Klaatu escapes into the night, hoping to better understand the situation by living among ordinary human beings.

Assuming the alias "Mr. Carpenter," Klaatu rents a room at a boarding house, where its residents (including Aunt Bee from The Andy Griffith Show, Francis Bavier), are following the story of the alien's flight with intense fear and suspicion. (Bavier's character is convinced it's all a Soviet plot.) Only Helen Benson [Patricia Neal], a war widow, and her son Bobby [Billy Gray] think perhaps the alien is benign and that his mission might be peaceful.

Klaatu/Mr. Carpenter takes a liking to Bobby, and together they visit the home of scientific genius Professor Barnhardt (Sam Jaffe, a delight here), obviously Albert Einstein in all but name. Klaatu later reveals himself to Professor Barnhardt, and together they come up with a plan to bring all the great minds of the world together so that Klaatu can at last deliver his message.

Unlike the majority of '50s sci-fi films, The Day the Earth Stood Still was a Class-A, Big Studio production. It cost about $960,000 to produce, slightly less than average for an "A" release in 1951, but an "A" nonetheless and clearly made for an adult audience. It's handsomely produced and at times very imaginative, though it does have several major flaws.

Produced at the height of Cold War hysteria and McCarthyism, ‘The Day the Earth Stood Still’ suggests maybe we ought to solve our planet's "petty squabbles" and halt the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Though that seems entirely reasonable, even obvious today, back then in some circles the very suggestion was tantamount to high treason. Reviews for ‘The Day the Earth Stood Still’ generally were very positive, but the film was not popular with the "My Country – Right or Wrong" crowd.

The film remains timely – indeed more so in the wake of 9/11 – in the way Klaatu and Gort's appearance evokes fear and paranoia among the populace, and how it's exploited and exacerbated by sensational media coverage. (This may be the first Hollywood movie to extensively incorporate real newsmen into a wholly fictional story.) In one interesting scene, a CNN-type on-scene reporter plays up the fear factor, but when Klaatu-as-Mr. Carpenter is coincidentally interviewed and speaks intelligently, the reporter rudely cuts him off.

Surprisingly, Klaatu's superficially sensible pacifist message plays much less so in recent years. His technologically superior society claims the same rights as the United States under the Bush Doctrine, the right to pre-emptive strike a perceived threat to its security. Certainly in 1951 – and for that matter, in 2008 - the threat to intelligent life elsewhere in the universe by mankind is non-existent: we simply don't yet have the technology to even reach other star systems, let alone spread like a virus our violent nature.

And yet here's Klaatu ordering us to shape up - or he'll ship us out, reducing our earth "to a burnt-out cinder." Forget "regime change" – his solution is a police state of all-powerful robots like Gort, Blackwater-like Robocops with "absolute power over us." I've not seen the Keanu Reeves film, but it seems like exploring the idea of Earth finding itself in the same position as countries like Iraq and Afghanistan now have with the United States would be a valid and potentially interesting approach to the material.

The film is excellent on many levels. Fox originally wanted Claude Rains to play Klaatu, but Michael Rennie, then unknown in America, was a far superior choice. Lanky, articulate and almost ageless, projecting unusual intelligence and thoughtfulness, Michael Rennie was and is immediately acceptable as a visitor from another planet. His flat accent, somewhat more Mid-Atlantic than British, avoids tying him to a specific geographical place. Indeed, he was virtually the template for such characters, and continued playing intelligent aliens on-and-off for the rest of his life. To cite one such example of Michael Rennie's influence?

The production is handsome, with exceptionally good second unit work filmed in Washington, D.C., that director and former editor Robert Wise successfully integrates with footage shot on the 20th Century-Fox back lot and elsewhere. Wise slightly overplays the script's paralleling of Klaatu to Christ (his "dying for our sins," resurrection, etc.) but for the most part his direction serves the film well. (Correction: As stated in the documentary and as genre historian Bill Keep Watching the Skies! Warren points out, "Not Wise, Edmond H. North. Wise had no idea the film had Christ parallels until he was told about this in the early 1980s. He was stunned." Thanks, Bill!) The special effects are simple but just about flawless, and Bernard Herrmann's score, one of the very best ever written for a science fiction film, was monumentally influential.

Overall, the film falls short in a few areas, but it not that negative, especially as you have to realise when the film was made at the time in 1951. Though Billy Gray is okay as "little" Bobby, clearly the part was written for (and would have played much better with) a much younger boy, perhaps a child of about eight. Gray was pushing thirteen and his dialogue - which would have been fine coming out of the mouth of an eight-year-old – plays phony in Gray's hands.

Blu-ray Video Quality – ‘The Day the Earth Stood Still' black-and-white imagery has never looked better, presented here in 1080p high definition and in its original 1.34:1 aspect ratio, which will place black bars on either side of a Widescreen Television set. The film isn't razor sharp in every shot, but it looks fantastic nonetheless, with an appreciable sense of depth, particularly during the film's opening, long-distance shots of Washington. Detail is particularly high; close-ups of articles of clothing, for example, reveal intricate textures. Blacks are deep and dark, looking particularly good at every turn. The print exhibits some spots in a few places, but the image never greatly suffers as a result. The high quality of the transfer even reveals some obvious wires at a most inopportune time that might be seen as a distraction to one of the film's most crucial sequences. Still, the film has never looked better, cleaner, more defined than and certainly never as good on large screens at home as it does here. This is no doubt the definitive home video presentation of ‘The Day the Earth Stood Still.’

Blu-ray Audio Quality – 20th Century Fox presents ‘The Day the Earth Stood Still’ with the English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack, in addition to the original monaural sound presentation. The stunning track makes for a vast improvement of the original mono offering, sounding fuller and more precise, noticed immediately during the film's opening credit sequence that is accompanied by the haunting notes of the Theremin. The score plays loudly and pleasantly across the front throughout the entire film. As the craft lands in Washington, the reverberations of its power can be felt permeating the entire listening area. The soundtrack produces some excellent lows within the confines of its original mix. Nothing ever sounds trumped up or phony. There is little in the way of appreciable rear channel activity, but the track does feature a few doses of low frequency effects in accompaniment of several crucial sequences. Dialogue reproduction is fabulous throughout. Much like the video presentation, listeners and long-time fans of the film will appreciate the high quality of this soundtrack.

Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:

Commentary by Director Robert Wise and Nicholas Meyer [Director Star trek II: Wrath of Khan] We start with two audio commentaries. Both were recorded together for this running, occasionally screen-specific track. For the most part, Nicholas Meyer acts as interviewer, especially during the film’s first half. Wise discusses some specifics of Earth such as casting, story issues, and other topics, but he often talks about his general filmmaking thoughts. He tells us how he likes to work, and while this often touches upon Earth, Robert Wise frequently digresses into other films.

Commentary by Film & Music Historians John Morgan, Steve Smith, William Stromberg and Nick Redman: For the second commentary, we hear from film and music historians Josh Morgan, Steven Smith, William Stromberg, and Nick Redman. All four sit together for this running, screen-specific chat. They tell us a little about cast and crew such as Robert Wise and actor Michael Rennie, but the track usually focuses on composer Bernard Herrmann and his work. That heavy emphasis surprises me, but it succeeds. The concentration on Herrmann allows the participants to dig into his score and career pretty well, so we get a more detailed conversation than usual. Things peter out a little during the film’s third act, as the participants often do little more than grumble about the current state of movie music. Nonetheless, the discussion usually informs and entertains.

Isolated Score track 5.1 DTS: This allows us to listen to Bernard Herrmann’s music in a 5.1 Dolby Digital rendition. It adds a nice bonus for film score fans.

The World of the Theremin [5:39] During the five-minute and 40-second piece, we hear from musician Peter Pringle. He gives us a quick history of the instrument as well as a demonstration of how it works. This turns into a cool glimpse of how the quirky instrument works. After this we get a Live Performance by Peter Pringle. It seems redundant after the prior documentary, so don’t expect much from it.

Gort Command! Interactive Game: This requires you to move the arrows on your remote to attempt to shoot Gort’s enemies. It got a bit old hat in about three minutes and I quit; it offered no enjoyment.

The Making of The Day The Earth Stood Still [23:51] This provides notes from Smith, Robert Wise (via archival interviews), film historian Steven Jay Rubin, producer Julian Blaustein (via archival interviews), Julian Blaustein’s widow Florence, The Films of Robert Wise author Richard Keenan, Wise’s daughter Pamela Conrad Rosenberg, Robert Wise’s widow Millicent, filmmaker Lewis Gilbert, aerospace historian Curtis Peebles, Auburn University Associate Professor of History Guy V. Beckwith, and actors Patricia Neal and Bobby Gray. “Making” looks at the cinema’s roots and development, how Robert Wise came onto the project and his involvement, cast and performances, sets and locations, visual effects, music and the film’s impact. In “Making”, we get a good nuts and bolts look at the film. It’s too brief to provide a terribly full examination of the flick, but then again, with two commentaries and many other documentaries available here, it doesn’t need to include every element of the production. “Making” offers an engaging overview.

Decoding “Klautu, Barada, Nikto”: Science Fiction as Metaphor [16:13] features Keenan, Peebles, Beckwith, Julian Blaustein, Florence Blaustein, Rubin, Wise, Gray, filmmaker Arnold Orgolini, London School of Economics International History Professor Arne Westad, producer Edmund North’s daughter Susie, and Screening Space: The American Science Fiction Film author Vivian Sobchack. “Decoding” examines the geopolitical climate in the early 1950s and how Earth reflects this along with some other interpretive elements. It does this in a somewhat scattershot manner, but it still provides a generally thought-provoking look at the film’s subtext.

A Brief History of Flying Saucers [33:59] This show includes remarks from Peebles, George Adamski Foundation director Glenn Steckling, UFO Religion author Gregory L. Reece, journalist/author Dr. David Clarke, UFO researcher Dennis Bathaser, Roswell Convention and Civic Center director Dusty Huckabee, International UFO Museum and Research Center executive director Julie Shuster, Witness to Roswell co-author Thomas J. Carey, Saucer Smear Newsletter editor James W. Moseley, retired radar engineer Robert Gardenghi, radar systems analyst Glenn Van Blaricum, and Abducted: How People Come to Believe They Were Kidnapped By Aliens author Susan Clancy. “Saucers” looks at the UFO phenomenon of the 1940s/1950s and how it continued into later years.

The Astounding Harry Bates [11:02] During the 11-minute and two-second programme, we hear from Sobchack, Rubin, Tor Books senior editor David G. Hartwell, writer/researcher Bob Gay, Locus Magazine publisher/editor Charles N. Brown, Pulp Culture co-author Lawrence Davidson, and radio interviewer Richard Wolinsky. Author Harry Bates also appears via some archival audio material. The program gives us some biographical notes about Bates as well as thoughts about Farewell to the Master and its cinematic adaptation. Apparently history hasn’t left much documentation of Bates’ life, so don’t expect a ton of concise details here. Nonetheless, we get enough interesting material to make the piece worthwhile.

Edmund North: The Man Who Made The Earth Stood Still [15:42] It provides comments from Gilbert, Orgolini, Florence Blaustein, Edmund North’s daughters Bobbie and Susie, and film historian John Cork. As expected, the show gives us a quick biography of the film’s screenwriter. It proves satisfying and tight.

Race To Oblivion: A Documentary Short: Written & Produced by Edmund North [26:41] An archival piece arrives with the 1982 film runs 26 minutes, 40 seconds and comes hosted by Burt Lancaster. A message against nuclear proliferation, we get comments from Hiroshima survivor Shigeko Sasamori and thoughts about the medical consequences of a nuclear war. “Oblivion” cuts between those two elements to cover its subject. The documentary is clearly a product of its time, as fears of a nuclear battle between the US and USSR was high in the early 1980s. The possibility of nuclear war hasn’t vanished, of course, but it seems less relevant today, as we have other terrors to fear.

Farewell To The Master: A Reading by Jamieson K. Price of the original Harry Bates Short Story [11:01] This audio feature goes for 96 minutes, six seconds and lets us hear the short story on which Earth was based. Loosely based, I should add, as Master provides the rough framework for Earth but not much more. That actually makes it pretty fascinating, as it’s fun.

Fox Movietonews [1951] [6:21] provides a six-minute and 21-second clip from 1951. In addition to a little coverage of the movie, we get snippets about other news events like a Japanese peace treaty. It’s a brief but neat look at contemporary history from the time of Earth’s creation.

Teaser Trailer [4:3] [1:04] I have no idea why they included this trailer, as the quality is absolutely atrocious.

Theatrical Trailer [4:3] [2:09] This a totally brilliant trailer and is of top quality and is more like a short documentary.

Galleries: These cover “Interactive Pressbook” (19 screens), “Advertising Gallery” (11), “Behind-the-Scenes Gallery” (55), “Portrait Gallery” (17), “Production Gallery” (59), “Spaceship Construction Blueprints” (21) and “Shooting Script” (412). All offer some interesting elements, but like the “Pressbook” – which allows close-ups of some pages – and the script the best. Don’t expect big differences between the film and the screenplay, though; the final film follows the script pretty closely.

Finally, ‘The Day the Earth Stood Still’ is a bona-fide classic both in its genre and in the annals of cinema history as a whole. The film epitomises Science Fiction like few others, creating in the viewer a sense of wonder but also conveying a socially aware message that even today remains one of utmost urgency. Robert Wise's film endures, playing both as timely and entertaining as ever. While the remake of this film is currently enjoying a high-dollar run at the box office despite its mostly negative critical reception, one must wonder for the future of what is arguably the most important and influential cinematic genre yet, one that offers viewers both what is often the peak of movie magic, witnessing first-hand the incredible, the unbelievable, the impossible, but also, perhaps, through that awe-inspiring storytelling better understanding the world as it is or once was. No doubt, like many other genres, Science Fiction seems to have taken something of a wayward turn, though films like Danny Boyle's Sunshine are able to recall the classic feel of the genre with the updated visual effects of the modern era. Thankfully, no matter what direction Sci-Fi may take next, modern technology allows for the preservation and presentation of these classics like never before, and 20th Century Fox's Blu-ray release of ‘The Day the Earth Stood Still’ is certainly a benefactor of its high definition release. Audiences may enjoy this picture at the current zenith of home presentation, with a beautifully presented picture quality and several audio options, including the film's original monaural presentation, which make enjoying this classic easier and better than ever before. To top it off, Fox has seen fit to load the disc with supplemental materials that alone are worth the price of admission. That is why I am so happy to add this Special Limited Edition SteelBook, as it is a vast improvement over the previous Blu-ray release of this film. But the only thing that lets it down is the design of the cover, is absolutely abysmal design and I could of done a much better job. I just wish they had repeated the awesome excellent CinemaReserve Region B/2 Limited Edition SteelBook DVD design and also slightly disappointed they could not have include a booklet like the Region B/2 Limited Edition SteelBook DVD. Despite this slight negative comment, it is still an amazing purchase and so proud to add this Special Limited Edition SteelBook of ‘The Day the Earth Stood Still’ to my extensive Blu-ray Limited Edition SteelBook Collection and easily earns my highest praise. Very Highly Recommended!

Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom
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5.0 out of 5 stars SkyNet's Granddaddy, June 14 2004
This review is from: The Day the Earth Stood Still (Bilingual) (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
bob lundy (San Mateo, CA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Day the Earth Stood Still (Bilingual) (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
Stephen Pletko "Uncle Stevie" (London, Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Day the Earth Stood Still (Bilingual) (DVD)
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
Reginald D. Garrard "the G-man" (Camilla, GA USA) - See all my reviews
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
audrey (white mtns) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Day the Earth Stood Still (Bilingual) (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
David (Jacksonville, FL United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Day the Earth Stood Still (Bilingual) (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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The Day the Earth Stood Still (Bilingual)
The Day the Earth Stood Still (Bilingual) by Robert Wise (DVD - 2003)
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