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(Review originally written at 21 July 2007)

This movie is so totally refreshing different than its fellow genre movies from the '50's! Everyone has a certain images in their mind about '50's science-fiction movies, with flying saucers of which you can see the wires, aliens with bad make-up effects and simple plots. The type of Ed Wood movies. "The Day the Earth Stood Still" is a much, much different movie fortunately!

It's not a movie that tries to impress, it's instead more of a movie that tries to provoke and at all time remain as realistic as possible. The movie its message is clear and (unfortunately) it still applies today, just as much as it did over 50 years ago.

Normally these type of movies from this time period would be about aliens causing mayhem and destruction, by trying to take over or simply destroy the Earth. This movie does begin as one of those sort of movies but soon starts to take a positive turn, when it starts to totally focus on its script and story, rather than any action or over-the-top science-fiction moments. It's a clever and provoking movie. Everything happening in this movie happens with a reason.

The way the alien visits Earth and tries to discover things and places is done in a great way. It's a reflecting and objective view of a neutral person. It's really a movie that holds up a mirror to the world and therefor works great and effective as a social commentary, that still applies today.

The movie has some great convincing special effects (especially for '50's standards of course) that are still acceptable by today standards. The movie is not as cheap looking as most of the genre movies from the same time period, though I imaging this movie had just such an high budget as any other. So also real big kudos to director Robert Wise who brought it all so very well and convincing to the screen. Robert Wise would later make also such science-fiction classics as "The Andromeda Strain" and "Star Trek: The Motion Picture". Another thing that makes this movie distinct itself from other is the classic Bernard Herrmann score.

The main character is greatly played by the unknown Michael Rennie . He really has the right looks of an alien in human form. Also surprising how important and strong the female character played by Patricia Neal in this movie is. The always great Sam Jaffe also plays a good, though small role in the movie. But the real classic and most memorable character of the movie is the robot Gort, played by the very tall Lock Martin. Even though it's not a character that talks or even movies a lot, it's still one that impresses very much, just by its looks and actions. He has become a real classic!

A real refreshing genre classic about still 'hot' subjects!

10/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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