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Posts Tagged ‘Klaatu Barada Nikto’

Today’s movie review is for the SciFi classic: “The Day The Earth Stood Still” (1951).  This movie starred Michael Rennie and Patricia Neal.  Basically, an alien spaceship lands in Washington, D.C. and the ship pilot – Klaatu, played by Rennie – announces he is here to deliver a message to all of Earth.  He is wounded, rushed to a hospital from which he escapes and then he moves into a boarding house where he attempts to learn about humans “first hand”.
At the boarding house he meets a single mother (Neal) and her son, who befriends the alien and gives him a tour of D.C.  While playing tourist, Klaatu sets out to meet the smartest man on Earth so the alien can convey his message.  Fade to much later…  Klaatu tells Mrs. Benson (Neal) that if anything happens to him she is to tell his robot / guard (Gort) the (now famous) line: “Gort, Klaatu barada nikto.”  Klaatu is killed by the military.  Mrs. Benson delivers the message to Gort.  Gort recovers Klaatu’s body and brings him back to life using alien technology.
Klaatu delivers his message of warning to Earth’s scientists that the planet will be destroyed if we attempt to take our nuclear weapons into space.  He then says good-bye and leaves Earth.
The movie is about fear of the unknown and fairly anti-war.  As such, it was very much ahead of its time – this being the real beginning of the “cold war” period.  It has many “quaint” images in it.  I particularly enjoyed seeing the old style switchboards and operators.
I will always remember Rennie for his role in this movie and in my young mind it (the movie) defined SciFi for me for many years.  The only three equals (for me) were “Village of the Damned” (1960), “The Blob” (1958) and “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” (1956).  All four of these are excellent period SciFi movies and I would highly recommend any of them.
Final recommendation: Highly Recommended!!  After 60 years, the movie still holds up well as SciFi and as a commentary on the United States at that time.  I guess we must have heeded the message of the movie as we have never tried to take our nuclear weapons into space.  More accurately, we’ve made no “serious” efforts to go to space.  This is not to denigrate the multiple craft we have sent to the ends of our solar system.  It is a criticism of the fact that we haven’t set foot on the moon in 40 years (1972).
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On This Day In:
2014 Just Reminded
2013 A Fine Balance
2012 One Measure
2011 Seeking The Common Ground
In Brightest Day…

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Over the weekend I discovered a new (to me) used book store.  The store is named: Berkshire Books.  It turns out it’s been there just over ten years, but I don’t often get on that road and when I do, I tend to be looking the other way, so I just never saw it before.  Soooo, I popped in to see what’s up.  The store is pretty poorly lit and has that old book musty smell.  Now, to my taste, that’s bad and great.  There’s no place to sit because there are books everywhere – and I do mean everywhere.  To be honest, except for the lighting, I kinda felt like I’d died and when to heaven.  Anyway, the prices aren’t great, but they’re not too bad either.  I will definitely be going back, but not to buy stacks at a time like I can from the two dollar racks at my local Half-Price Books store.
My selection was an oldie, but a goodie: “The Power“, written by Frank M. Robinson.  The original version is copywrited in 1956, while the revised version is 1999©.  I don’t think the book was intended to be a children’s book, but I first read it back in the mid-1960’s when I was around 11 or 12.  It is considered to be a “classic” of SciFi literature.  The book was adapted into a movie (released in 1968) which starred George Hamilton as the principal character and Michael Rennie (“Klaatu, Barada Nikto”) as the bad guy.  This was the first time I remember ever reading a book before seeing the movie and then being sharply disappointed that the movie didn’t live up to my imagination.
Anyhow, the book is about a team of scientists who discover there are “super” men among us who can control us physically (via telekinesis) and who can also implant thoughts and remove memories.  They also possess superior strength and reflexes themselves.  The main character must try to discover which team member is the super-man while living long enough to kill him.  Of course, all the while, the super-man is killing off the rest of the team.
When I found the book, I thought, “Wow! This was from my childhood!“.  It wasn’t until later that I discovered it wasn’t the “same” book at all.  This was the “revised” version, basically the same, but updated with comments about Vietnam and the first Gulf War.  Did it make a difference?  Ultimately, I think it did.  As I read the book, I began to doubt my memories.  Some of the books passages prompted vivid memories – like when you eat or smell something and you’re instantly transported back to another place and time.  Other times, it was: “Huh?
I do believe the book is a legitimate classic in the SciFi genre, but I would say it is more of a young adult book than a mature adult book.  It is about 220 pages and a very fast read.  Highly recommended!
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On This Day In:
2013 Legal (Almost)
2012 Great Scots!
2011 The GI Bill – A Simple History Lesson
Breaking Even

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