Every weekend we're watching movies together...whether you're in Pennsylvania USA, or Sydney Australia. It's a throwback! Back to the days when you had the anticipation for waiting till the weekend to see the classic horror or science fiction film that was listed in the TV Guide. The plan is to watch a movie at 7:30PM on Saturday night in your own time zone. Or, if you can't Saturday night...anytime during the weekend. Then, we'll all get together and e-mail our thoughts on the film...a few paragraphs...or simply a sentence if you'd like. They after-viewing reviews appear on our Creepy Classics/Monster Bash News Page. See the latest thoughts posted by viewers ther now.

Concept submitted by Mike Adams of Carteret, New Jeresey.

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Creepy Classics Spotlight Movie Last Weekend - THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL (1951)

Every week, readers here are selecting a movie to view...then we all try to watch it together utilizing our DVD/video library. This past Saturday night, many of us watched THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL (1951). This was suggested by by Tom Adams, Pennsylvania Furnace, PA. Details about movie nights to come are HERE. Please include your name and location after your comments, so we can see how we're all joining together from diffeent locals around the globe! Let's all Synch-Up Saturday nights at 7:30PM, or catch it sometime over the weekend!

This is one movie that is enjoyable upon first viewing and 10th viewing for me. I never tire of it. It's just such a good movie in every way. Not boring, high production values, great acting, great story, great photography...right down the line. I tried to look for things I thought would have made it better on this viewing. A VERY difficult thing to do with this movie.

The only two things that hit me, I guess would be in scripting. One, is that the little boy (Billy Gray) is absent from the climax. It would have been nice to just see hiim running up to his mom at the end. He's so pivitol in Klaatu's experience in earth, I would have really liked to have seen him again. The other item is the hanging resolution. Klatuu delivered his ultimatum, but kind of soft-pedals it on his departure. Though, I guess the gist is...."Hey, it's up to you now...or, we'll be back to elimnate the planet."

On a lighter note...I do enjoy seeing the newscaster wearing a hat. Also, one of my favorite scenes was also mentioned as a favorite scene by my friend Mike...the Lincoln Memorial scene. Just great stuff. The whole sequence of Billy Gray showing Michael Rennie around and spending the day together is super. And...Gort rocks.

Sci-Fi, top flight, movie magic. Thanks to my dad, Tom Adams, for requesting this be on our viewings. It's his favorite movie!

-Ron Adams, Ligonier, PA

Hey There, Bash Synchers,

Welcome to my commentary on one of my all time favorites, THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL. This is a film I have seen numerous times, I can not remember the first time, nor how many times I have enjoyed this movie. I am happy to get out my personal copy and enjoy it one more time with my friends from all over the country.

First of all, I want to comment on the music. I have two cinematic heros, Ray Harryhausen, and Bernard Herrmann. Herrmann lifts any movie he scores to a higher level, and DAY is not exception. His innovative and expressive score adds just the right emotion and sentiment to every scene of this movie, lifting it from a simple and oft repeated sci-fi concept to the level of classic. How different the film would be without that eerie theremin and all the other electronic sounds Herrmanns special orchestra generates. I have the soundtrack as well and I love to listen and remember the wonderful scenes his music invokes.

Was this the only invasion film where they come openly and in peace?

I often wonder and imagine what would have come of the movie if that guy didn't shoot Klaatu.

GORT!!! One of the all time great movie robots. Simple, futuristic design combined with cool music and sound effects, fantastic!

This simple conversation between the secretary and Klaatu highlights the quality of the script, another factor that makes this movie so great. Intelligent real, to the point. Not boring or ridiculous. It draws you into the situation and captures your attention.

I am impatient with stupidity, my people have learned to live without it.
His alter ego - Carpenter - one of the many references to the Christ story.
Great back lit shot when he enters into the boarding house.

Aunt Bea!

Hugh Marlowe, one of the slimiest villains in movie history. Starts out dumping the kid with some unknown stranger, to be alone with the girl.
You're a real screwball!

The meeting with doctor Barnhart, another great dialogue exchange in a great script.
Tom..add jealousy to his evil sliminess.

Klaatu lied to the boy, a chink in his armor.

I like that they invented a language for Klaatu to use with Gort. Most films of this type, everyone speaks English!!

Cool spaceship interiors, simplistic, futuristic, just like Gort.

The day the earth stood still. Great montage to show the effects.

everything is out, how could they know what is going on????

Slimy!!!! "I don't care about the rest of the world...You'll feel different when you see my picture in the papers." Slimy line from a slimy villain!!!

Klaatu Barada Nikto. Classic!!!!!

Gort's mad now, not just weapons, he wiped out the guys!!!

A literate script, great acting and directing, fantastic music, combine to make a classic. I can watch this over and over and am constantly fascinated.

Well, I gotta baringa, see you next week for Brainiac!

Ken Blose, Sonora, Mexico

I just love this movie and there are so many things to like..but Gort is just the coolest! In case no one knows he is a part of The Robot Hall of Fame on diplay at the Carnegie Science Center! you can see fotos on facebook..just look me up!!!

Malcolm Gittins, Pittsburgh, PA

It's always a treat to watch this film. So much to enjoy, where to begin?
I find this film a wonderful mix of sophisticated social commentary and
straight up adventure fantasy filmmaking. For example I love the whole
language thing and wondered if Patricia Neal and Michael Rennie had to do
several takes to say "Klaatu Barata Nikto" with a straight face. Gort is
great, he looks like he stepped right out of an issue of Amazing Stories.

My eight year old son said he looked like he was wearing metal underwear.

Hugh Marlowe is great as the fink too. If anyone was paying attention in
the 1950s this must have caused a stir with Klaatu calling humans stupid
and referring to global politics as "petty jealousies" and given that
Moscow is mentioned more than once it's clear that the film is commenting
on the cold war relations (or lack of relations) between the US and the
USSR. I love the space ship with the interior by Frank Lloyd Wright, I
mean, it's the art deco dream house.

So what is it that makes this film
hold up so well? Why is it considered more of a classic than many others
of the genre? There were many other films of the era to challenge the
the cold war era so it wasn't completely original
in it's message. One of the things I appreciate is that the film, for all
the drama of the space ship landing in Washington is never really over the
top. It's a pretty restrained story and that lets the tension build as
well as keeping the focus on Klaatu's message rather than just a bang up
smash up fight with the military. I do love Gort's initial attack on the
soldiers where he dissolves the guns but leaves the people unharmed -
finally a weapon a Quaker could appreciate! The acting of course has to
be mentioned - there's not a bad player in the cast. Sam Jaffe is
wonderful as the professor, of course Rennie, Marlowe, Neal and Gray are
excellent, intelligent and believable in their roles.

Even though there were other films to take on the politics of the day,
Invasion of the Body Snatchers being one that comes to mind for it's
commentary on McCarthyism, The Day The Earth Stood Still is one of the few
that really clearly spells out the message. Klaatu's speech at the end of
the film really lays it on the line. There's no mystery here as to what
the aliens are up to. As anyone who watches it realizes pretty quickly,
the aliens are the "good guys" here. Watching the film with my son who
was very interested in when Gort was going to do something again I
realized how little the special effects are used in this film. It's
really a character study in humanity, there's trust, greed, fear, all
coming into play. And the message still is worth listening to today, do we work together or
destroy ourselves fighting?

-Kevin Slick, Lousivlle, CO

P.S. from Kevin: -- Great choice from your Dad!
I should have mentioned that I got a laugh out of the scene where the
doctors are mystified at Klaatu's great health and as they're talking they
both start smoking!

Possibly the most recognized sci-fi film of all time!! An alien comes to Earth to plead for peace but is instead met with hostility.
Michael Rennie will forever be remembered as Klaatu with his robot Gort.

This is a film made with excellence and very enjoyable to watch again and again. It was good to watch this again and see all the wonders from my very early years of seeing this on TV.

Absolutely top notch!!!
Kevin Coon, Twin Falls, ID

This is not just one of the best Sci-Fi films of all time but maybe one of the best films ever. Blows away the remake by a mile. Michael Rennie as Klaatu is regal, Patrica Neil has never look more beautiful and its nice to see Hugh Marlowe in a villain role. Also Billy Gray is believable as Ms. Neil's son playing him as an inquisitive child and not so some annoying spoil brat as which most children are portray in today's films.

But is it me or is Klaatu's "join us or die" speech more menacing than we think. During the speech I get the impression that his mission is not to save the Earth but to enslave it. If anyone gets the chance check out the short story that the movie is based on Farewell to the Master by Harry Bates. There is a jaw dropping revelation about Gort (name Gnut in the story) at the end that 's not in either film versions which puts the whole movie in a different light. Talk to you guys later.

-Bob Swaney
Manalapan, NJ

Bob, for those of us that don;t have the short stort....what the revelation about Gort (Gnut)?!

OK if you must know. At the end Gort, who speaks in the story, is asked to tell his masters that the people of Earth are sorry about what happen to Klaatu. Gort's response is "but you do not understand. I'm the master", revealing that he is the one who has been controlling everything all along. There are some people that I know who believe Gort might even been God and that he was the one who created Klaatu. Pretty heavy stuff for the fifties. Heck, maybe even for today. Talk to you guys later.  -Bob


Your welcome, by reading all the other reviews it looks like I was the only one who thought there was something sinister in Klaatu's peace speech. I guess it was just my paranoia coming out. Talk to you guys later. -Bob

You know Bob, you're right here. Most of us look at Klaatu as this benevolent alien. Now, he does have a good point in trying to stop our petty wars. But, the bottom line isn't that they'll intervene if we don't comply...but that they will just kill and destroy everyone on the planet. That's kind of overlooked. He has a noble concept, but zero tolerence to the point of genocide -- killing everyone. As much as we dislike the slimy Hugh Beaumont character...does he deserve to die because of his ignorance...or, all the innocent, peaceful people...should they die if the leaders don't stop projects of nuclear destruction...? for thought on this classic.

Hey Ron
I think if Klaatu was an ugly alien monster and it made the same "join us or die" speech, we would be rising up to try and destroy him. But because Klaatu is played by a handsome and charming actor (Michel Rennie) we give him the benefit of the doubt thinking he is here to save us. The point is either we submit to being rule by robots or face total destruction. Sounds like enslavement to me. Talk to you guys later.
Bob Swaney

Hi Ron your mother and I watched the Day the Earth Stood Still on Sat.
night.I agree with everyone it is the best SCI FI movie made in the
50's.Great acting and special affects.You monster kids didn't see it the
way I did,in the movie theater in the 50's with the cold war going on.Think
about a 10 year old boy in the first row of the theater LOOKING UP AT GORT
on the screen. Was I impressed.This is why I loved the robot and the
movie. -Dad & Mom Adams


Hi Ron,

Here are my thoughts on THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL:

Gort – Best Robot Ever!!!

I love the Bernard Herrmann score. To me, this belongs in the theremin Hall of Fame, right alongside "Good Vibrations."
It's interesting to see that the tensions in the movie are based as much on politics as they are on the interplanetary visit. Any how cool is it to see Frances Bavier (Aunt Bea herself!) dropping hints about the Communist threat. All this political stuff went over my head as a kid, but watching the film now it hooks me on an entirely different level.

Hugh Marlow's character sure is a dweeb.

Washington D.C. and a baseball diamond – you can't get any more apple pie than that!

I love the spaceship. Even at this late date, it looks futuristic.

I could find only a few faults. The undercranked footage when Gort responds to the initial shooting of Kalttau looks a bit comic and I think I saw a few wires holding up Patricia Neal when Gort was carrying her. Also, I suppose that a mere power outage is a bit of a letdown after the bold promise of the film's title. But the movie works on so many other levels that I'm not complaining.

Would a mother really let her son spend the afternoon with a man that she hardly knew? Certainly not nowadays.
Tension builds early and stays taunt. Klattau is seen in shadows at first. What does he look like?

I love the scene at the blackboard – Klattau takes Prof. Barnhardt to school! And Sam Jaffe is perfectly cast as the Einstein-like man of science.

The resurrection of Klattau is absolutely jaw-dropping.

THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL still captures the "sense-a-wonder" as well as any movie I've ever seen. It's a great, great movie.
Favorite quote – "The universe grows smaller every day."

Steven Thornton
LaSalle, MI

Hey Ron and all other fellow loyal sci-fi websynchers out there in the far reaches of our precarious universe out there....I watched MY all-time favorite science-fiction classic "THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL" (1951) this past Friday afternoon followed by a repeat performance on Saturday evening!! (promptly at 7:30 P.M.!)

Here are my following observations on this timeless classic: 1) Much praise is deserved to Robert Wise for his expert and great direction here, especially in the scenes between Mr.Carpenter/Klaatu (Michael Rennie) and Helen Benson (Patricia Neal) and between Klaatu/Bobby Benson (the wonderful young childhood actor Billy Gray- who would later be best known for the famous T.V. series "Father Knows Best")- The scenes that demonstrate Wise`s abilities best here are the elevator scene between Klaatu and Helen (when he reveals to her his identity and the purpose of his mission to Earth) and the scene at Arlington National Cemetary where young Bobby talks to Klaatu about how his dad died at the battle of Anzio (WWII-Italy) and how they talk to each other how it would be a GOOD thing if WAR was a UNNECESSARY action to engage in.....

AND then later they visit the Washington Monument AND the LINCOLN MEMORIAL (where Klaatu responds "he would like to meet the greatest man alive today" to which young Bobby responds "The greatest man alive today is Professor Barnhardt" {played wonderfully by the great Sam Jaffe} and Klaatu responds "Why don`t we go see Professor Barnhardt"---"We might Scare him more then he will scare us!" to which young Bobby shows extreme enthusiasm and open-mindedness to! (this is one of the secondary themes of this movie in my opinion-the future of mankind is OUR CHILDREN- (especially their innocence,understanding and compassion) ---This is where I agree with you Ron on your point concerning why didn`t they show young Bobby during the climax of this film!---His character was such a central ingrediant during 2/3 of the rest of the film!-why did they just seem to drop him during the last 23 minutes or so? (After all- he did help us understand Mr.Carpenter`s/Klaatu`s character and his motivations during the rest of the course of the story! Didn`t he?! ) DEFINITELY A (SLIGHT) DISSAPOINTMENT TO ME AS WELL.

Getting back to Wise`s direction here, he definitely knows how to work with his actors here! .....Great Casting Here....(Considering that Spencer Tracy and Claude Rains were the first two actors considered for the role of Klaatu!.....) Think how that would have turned out, folks......Oh, by the way, Robert Wise also directed the horror/sci-fi classics "The Haunting" (1963) "The Andromeda Strain" (1971) and "Audrey Rose" (1977).....Always love seeing the GREAT Patricia Neal in this film....To me she is the "beating" heart of this movie so to speak....Speaking up not only for all of humanity but for the young {untold} future of her young son as well (and in the face of adversity-both military{the soldiers} home {her selflish,self-centered boyfriend played by Hugh Marlowe} and alien as well {Gort, the robot} who threatens her with annihilation with his laser beam until she utters those immortal words! ----"Klaatu, Barada, Nikto"! 2) Not enough can be said for the great score by the late Bernard Herrmann --(1911-1975)--(I also own the original soundtrack-on CD!) --How many all-time classics of film has he worked on, folks?!-check out to find out!! You will be amazed!! 3) The SPFX in this film are not the centerpeice of the story- and that is what makes this film great!- THEY ARE USED TO SUPPORT THE STORY!! (unlike the mediocre remake, which except for a good performance by JENNIFER CONNELLY is what really hurts the 2008 film)

Looking back at the 1951 original- the scenes where Gort vaporizes the weapons and men with his laser beam are really done well and stand up to the test of time today!!---The only kink (in the armor) when it comes to the SPFX in this film is when we see Gort carry Helen up to the entrance of the spaceship after she utters those famous words! - We can definitely see Gort`s knees bend as he carries her up into the spacecraft!!! (I thought this robot was made of an unbreakable, unpenetrable outer space metal folks?!) Oh Well!!! ---I also have heard of the story where Lock Martin (The Chinese Grauman`s doorman who played "Gort") struggled to carry Patricial Neal in those scenes ! (he almost dropped her because he was so big and became tired!) I WONDER WHAT PAT WAS THINKING AT THAT MOMENT!! (By the way, folks, when Patricia Neal initially read the script for this film, she initially decided not to do it, fearing it wouldn`t help her career!) Wow!--Great Second Guessing, Pat??!! Huh??!!! 4) Lastly, Folks, the MESSAGE of this film is what it`s all about!! "Learn to Live Together In Peace Or Face Total Obliteration"-- Very relevant when this film came out (during the Cold War) AND STILL VERY RELEVANT TODAY.

Anyway, until next time when I join you from the eerie country of Mexico to review the cult late-night classic "The Braniac" (1959) I bid all of you a truly PEACEFUL good week!!

-----Dan Brenneis-Strongsville,Ohio-Monster Bash Staff Member and FilmFan Extroadinairre.

The film The Day The Earth Stood Still is one of the few sci-fi films that appeal to both the mind and the heart of the viewer.
Too often with sci-fi films, especially ones made in the fifties, the viewer is bombarded with visuals. It was all about mindless aliens bent on destroying the earth. The aliens were always ugly and the destruction was always heavy. The Day The Earth Stood Still is remembered for what it did not show. The alien was not ugly. He was beneficent. He wanted to talk. Getting people to listen was going to be the problem. He decided that the only way to get his message across was to go among the people. He finds that the only person who has faith is a small boy who resides in a boarding house with him. Ultimately, the boy's mother comes along to his way of thinking. His message to earth is simple: "Join us and live in peace, or pursue your present course and face obliteration."

The Day The Earth Stood Still is grounded by three wonderful characters and actors. Michael Rennie as Klaatu and his earthbound alter ego Mr. Carpenter, beautifully underplays his role. On his face and in his speech bore the awe and frustration he had for this planet. Billy Gray who played Bobby Benson was a rarity in a sci-fi film. He was a kid who acted like a kid. There was never a false note in his performance. I especially enjoyed the scenes he had with Michael Rennie. There was a nice father/son dynamic going on. One of the best scenes in the movie turned that dynamic on it's ear. Bobby follows Mr. Carpenter at night and sees him communicating with Gort, the protector of the alien visitor. He learns that Mr. Carpenter is the alien. It's a great scene because a lot is conveyed without dialogue. Bobby's faith is shaken and we see it in his eyes. Patricia Neal gives a fine performance. She plays a character rare in sci-fi films. Her character is a person who doesn't judge and takes people one at a time. Even when she finds out that Mr. Carpenter is the alien, she doesn't judge until she hears his side of the story.

The effects in the film are minimal, but effective. I love the look of the saucer landing in the ballpark. Then there's Gort. When it's standing still, it's obviously a man in a suit. However, it's menace and power is displayed through lighting and camera angles. I love the effect of the visor opening and the sliver of light that appears like the light on a life support system. I also love the sound of that light as it pinpoints on a target. All of the effects and wonder of the film would be hard to convey without Bernard Herrmann's wonderful score. Like a lot of his scores, this one doesn't under-state or over-power. It is sewn into the picture.

If there is a detriment to the film it would have to be Hugh Marlowe's character. It is not the fault of the actor. He played Patricia Neal's love interest and I never bought their relationship. Their scenes together seem tacked on and never added anything to the story. The scene that sealed that theory is when Tom Stevens, Hugh Marlowe's character, finds out Mr. Carpenter's identity and is going to alert the Pentagon. His speech to Helen, Patricia Neal's character, about being a hero is very badly written and makes me cringe a little bit every time I hear it.
What I love about The Day The Earth Stood Still is it's message. It's about faith. Faith in anyone regardless of appearance. Through his interaction with Bobby and his mother, Klaatu had respect and hope for the mind and heart of man. As a last note, when confronted by an insurmountable problem just utter the words "Klaatu Barada Nikto".

Kirk Smith
Manito, Illinois


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