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The Day the Earth Stood Still

August 12, 2010

241. The Day the Earth Stood Still
Directed by Robert Wise
USA, 1951

IMDB | allmovie

Reviewed by Ally
First viewing


Klaatu (Michael Rennie) arrives from an unspecified planet to warn Earthlings against their warmongering ways. He gets shot almost immediately, which rather proves his point.

Essential Scene:

Klaatu finds sanctuary at a boarding house, posing as “Mr. Carpenter.” He befriends a young boy named Bobby, who takes him on a tour of Washington D.C.. They visit Arlington National Cemetery, where Bobby’s father is buried.

Klaatu: Did all those people die in wars?
Bobby: Most of ’em. Didn’t you ever hear of the Arlington Cemetery?
Klaatu: No, I’m afraid not.
Bobby: You don’t seem to know much about anything, do you, Mr. Carpenter?
Klaatu: Well, I’ll tell you, Bobby, I’ve been away a long time. Very far away.
Bobby: Is it different where you’ve been? Don’t they have places like this?
Klaatu: Well, they have cemeteries, but not like this one. You see, they don’t have any wars.
Bobby: Gee, that’s a good idea.


I was immediately engaged by the rousing Bernard Herrmann score, full of spooky theremin and eerie harmonies. But after that initial excitement, I confess I was disappointed. Rather than a great science-fiction story that works as an anti-war metaphor, The Day the Earth Stood Still is an anti-war message with a passable sci-fi story built around it. Worth a watch, but I won’t bother with it a second time.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Jim Lawrence permalink
    August 19, 2010 1:43 pm

    Possibly my favourite sci-fi film, definitely the best from the 50s.

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