The Day the Earth Stood Still

An alien and a robot land on Earth after World War II and tell mankind to be peaceful or face destruction.

Credits: TheMovieDb.

Film Cast:

  • Klaatu, alias Mr. Carpenter: Michael Rennie
  • Helen Benson: Patricia Neal
  • Bobby Benson: Billy Gray
  • Prof. Jacob Barnhardt: Sam Jaffe
  • Tom Stevens: Hugh Marlowe
  • Gort: Lock Martin
  • General Cutler: Freeman Lusk
  • Mrs. Crockett, landlady: Edith Evanson
  • Mr. Harley, Secretary to the President: Frank Conroy
  • Mrs. Barley, boarder: Frances Bavier
  • George Barley, boarder: John Brown
  • Mr. Krull, boarder: Olan Soule
  • Hilda, Barnhart’s secretary: Marjorie Crossland
  • Elmer Davis: Elmer Davis
  • H. V. Kaltenborn: H.V. Kaltenborn
  • Drew Pearson: Drew Pearson
  • Gabriel Heatter (voice): Gabriel Heatter
  • Lieutenant in Charge of Landing Site: Harry Lauter
  • Army Dr. White: James Doyle
  • Balding Army Doctor: Larry Dobkin
  • Army Examining Doctor: Robert Osterloh
  • Radio Interviewer at Landing Site: Glenn Hardy
  • Brady: Tyler McVey
  • M.P. Captain at Barnhardt’s: House Peters Jr.
  • Conference Colonel Ryder: George Lynn
  • Margaret, Tom’s secretary: Dorothy Neumann
  • Mr. Bleeker, jeweller: Wheaton Chambers
  • Zone Five Lieutenant Colonel: Carleton Young
  • The Cab Driver: Harry Harvey
  • Sammy, boy witness: Sammy Ogg
  • Lady Outside Jewelry Store: Bess Flowers
  • Government Man: James Seay
  • Radar Operator: Grady Galloway
  • Indian Newscaster: Hassan Khayyam
  • British Newscaster: John Barton
  • Sentry (scene deleted): Stuart Whitman

Film Crew:

  • Original Music Composer: Bernard Herrmann
  • Director: Robert Wise
  • Art Direction: Lyle R. Wheeler
  • Editor: William Reynolds
  • Set Decoration: Thomas Little
  • Set Decoration: Claude E. Carpenter
  • Costume Design: Travilla
  • Screenplay: Edmund H. North
  • Producer: Julian Blaustein
  • Director of Photography: Leo Tover
  • Art Direction: Addison Hehr
  • Costume Design: Perkins Bailey
  • Wardrobe Master: Charles Le Maire
  • Makeup Artist: Ben Nye
  • Special Effects: Fred Sersen
  • Original Story: Harry Bates

Movie Reviews:

  • John Chard: I’m impatient with stupidity. My people have learned to live without it.

    The Day the Earth Stood Still is directed by Robert Wise and adapted to screenplay by Edmund H. North from the story Farewell to the Master written by Harry Bates. It stars Michael Rennie, Patricia Neal, Hugh Marlowe, Sam Jaffe, Billy Gray and Frances Bavier. Music is by Bernard Herrmann and cinematography by Leo Tover.

    Classic sci-fi is right here as director Robert Wise gives a beautifully steady hand to Harry Bate’s short story. Peace for the world or else is the message and I don’t see anything wrong with that because it stands up to relevant scrutiny today and unfortunately many days ahead in the future. Debates about the allegorical worth of the film still persist today, but the core message is not up for argument.

    Wise shows his influences from the time when he worked with Orson Welles and Val Lewton, where here, aided by Tover’s beautiful photography, he blends the feel of semi-documentary starkness with film noir visuality. Whether it’s scenes of Klaatu (Rennie) trawling the wet night streets, or the interiors of the spaceship and boarding house, the visual imagery by way of low-key lighting compositions is often striking for mood accentuation.

    All the cast are spot on in their respective performances, with Neal refreshingly given a female role that doesn’t resort to her being token sex appeal or a shrieking harpy. Herrmann’s understated score is dynamite, and pretty much imitated wholesale from this point onwards, and the film is laced with poignant and frightening scenes that keep the viewer firmly glued to the tale unfolding. The demonstration of the visitors power gives the film its title and it’s a glorious slice of celluloid, and in Gort the robot (Lock Martin) we have one of the biggest icons in sci-fi cinema.

    Once viewed one can never forget The Day The Earth Stood Still, its message, its structured precision and its technical smarts ensure you will remember this film always. One of the most important science fiction movies of all time, a game changer in the critical year for the sci-fi genre. All told it’s magic cinema still standing the test of time. 10/10

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