Friday, 22 October 2010

Review - The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)

To end the sci fi film series, we saw The Day the Earth Stood Still. Made in 1951, directed by Robert Wise. This American Sci fi film starts with a flying saucer landing in the middle of the city. Then an alien comes out of the saucer and is shot down almost immediately. He is mistaken for carrying a weapon. What he was actually carrying was a gift for mankind and a message to go with it. The message was simple. he told the humans to live peacefully or else they would be destroyed. He demonstrated his power by switching off all electricity in the world. Except for emergency services and other necessary vehicles. That was his way of showing his power without hurting anyone.
The this alien was called Klaatu. He went into hiding for a while as mankind considered him to be a great threat.

What I didn't realise while watching the film is how the Klaatu has been portrayed as kind of like Jesus. He comes down to earth bearing gifts and a message. He has healing powers. and comes back from the dead.
The screenwriter said
“It was my private little joke… I had ori­gin­ally hoped that the Christ com­par­ison would be sub­lim­inal”.
Well I didn't notice it either. Not until I read about it.

It is different to British sci fi films such as The Quatermass Xperiment, in that it is much less subtle and generally on a bigger scale. It is debatable as to whether it can be classed as a B movie. It could easily be argued that it can't really be called a B movie as for it's time it wasn't cheap and is still an enjoyable view even today. Sure some of the effects may have dated, but is a classic sci fi that has stood the test of time.

Some references

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