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The Day the Earth Stood Still

(1951 b 92')

En: 6 Ed: 8

A visitor from outer space warns people on Earth that they must give up their violence or face extinction.

         A flying saucer is tracked at 4,000 miles per hour and lands in Washington on a baseball field. The army mobilizes, and Drew Pearson (himself) on radio say it is surrounded. A man comes out. Klaatu (Michael Rennie) says he comes in peace. He holds out an object, and a soldier shoots him. The robot Gort walks out and destroys guns with a laser. Klaatu stands up and says it is a gift for the President.

         Harley, the President’s secretary, comes to Klaatu, who says he came from another planet. He wants to meet with all the world leaders and says the future of the Earth is at stake. Experts try to examine the ship and the robot. Doctors are baffled by Klaatu’s good health. Harley tells him the leaders cannot agree and says he can’t leave the hospital.

         Klaatu escapes, and as Carpenter he rents a room in the home of Helen Benson (Patricia Neal). At breakfast he reads a newspaper. Helen says the spaceman may not be a menace. Tom Stevens (Hugh Marlowe) comes for Helen. Carpenter offers to stay with Bobby Benson (Billy Gray). He gives Bobby two diamonds for $2. They visit the Lincoln Memorial and the spaceship and then go to see Professor Barnhardt. Klaatu sees his blackboard and corrects his problem. The housekeeper comes in, and Klaatu leaves his address.

         Tom brings Helen home and wants to marry her. An officer takes Carpenter to Jacob Barnhardt (Sam Jaffe), who learns who he is and dismisses the army. Klaatu says he has a solution for their danger. Barnhardt suggests a demonstration.

Tom is jealous of Carpenter. Klaatu borrows a flashlight from Bobby and goes out. Bobby follows him. Klaatu signals to Gort and enters the ship. Bobby goes home. Tom and Helen come in, and Bobby says what he saw. Helen does not believe him. Tom finds a diamond in Carpenter’s room.

         Klaatu finds Helen at work, and at noon they get stuck in an elevator. Klaatu has neutralized electricity all over the world for thirty minutes. He asks Helen not to betray him, and she tries to reach Tom. The army says they have immobilized the robot. Helen asks Tom not to tell on Klaatu, but he calls a general. Helen says she won’t marry him and leaves.

         Klaatu and Helen take a cab to the ship for the meeting of scientists. He tells her that Gort could destroy the Earth and tells her the words to say if he is killed. The army closes in on them, and Klaatu is shot in the street. He tells Helen to go to Gort, who destroys two guns. Helen approaches Gort slowly and is intimidated. She says, “Klaatu barada nikto.” Gort carries her into the ship and goes out alone. The army says Klaatu is dead in a cell. Gort goes to him and carries him into the ship. The army tells Barnhardt to cancel his meeting. Gort heals Klaatu. They go out with Helen. Klaatu says that all must be secure and that Gort eliminates aggression. Klaatu says he is part of an interplanetary organization. Those on Earth can join or be destroyed. Gort and Klaatu go back into the ship and take off.

         This scientific classic depicts a Christ-like being who comes to Earth to warn humanity they must learn to stop their violence or they will be destroyed. The invention of nuclear weapons and the failure of the United Nations to eliminate them makes this film an important warning for mankind that is still critical.

Copyright © 2007 by Sanderson Beck

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