THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL (1951) One of the all-time greats, and for good reason. Made before the cheapie aesthetic that would later drive B-movie-making for the teenage drive-in crowd, The Day The Earth Stood Still was an intelligent look at what might happen if a spaceship landed on earth and its occupant was hiding among us. Of course, being set in the late 40s/early 50s, it’s all quite quaint now (only a few thousand people show up to gawk at the spaceship, for instance), and there are plenty of plot holes (like a giant robot creeping around the metro at night without notice). But the dialog and interplay, not to mention the tangible suspense, is both smart and engaging – aided immeasurably by the brilliant, groundbreaking music score by Bernard Herrmann. All while simultaneously capturing America’s post-war paranoia with a quiet, fearful intensity, epitomized by the gloryhound desires of B-movie great, Hugh Marlow. I personally love the realistic dialog with the State Department go-between when discussing the politics of Earth, and the flummoxed doctors who suddenly feel like, as one says, a “third-class witch doctor.” Then there’s the gorgeous Patricia Neal, whose eyes convey nuanced emotion throughout every scene – especially her priceless expression when she’s trapped in an elevator with the person she begins to deduce is the “alien.” Herrmann’s essential score is available in the archives HERE. TAG LINE: From Out Of Space… A Warning And An Ultimatum! DIALOG ALERT: “Sit down, please. There are several thousand questions I’d like to ask you.” Get this classic cheap at Amazon, HERE. New Movies, Fridays ‘Round Midnight.
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