The Day the Earth Stood Still
Time Out saysA classic science fiction fable, its ambitious storyline conveying a surprising pacifist message. A flying saucer lands in Washington DC, and the humanoid alien which emerges is immediately shot and wounded by nervous state troopers. A ten-foot tall robot, Gort, emerges and disintegrates guns and tanks, before being deactivated by the wounded alien (Rennie). Rennie later delivers an ultimatum to the world's leaders: stop these senseless wars or face the awesome consequences - demonstrated by a period of one hour in which all the world's power is stopped. The scenes in which the fugitive Rennie learns about life on Earth by living incognito in a boarding-house with a young widow (Neal) and her son (Gray) are particularly effective, and it is telling that it is the widow who prevents Gort from destroying the world by uttering the immortal line, 'Gort! Klaatu barada nikto'. Edmund H North's intelligent script and Wise's smooth direction are serious without being solemn, while Bernard Herrmann's effectively alien-sounding score reinforces the atmosphere of strangeness and potential menace.