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Posts Tagged ‘Patricia Neal’

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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Men do not fail, they give up trying.
    —    Elihu Root
When you call on a thoroughbred, he gives you every ounce of strength and heart and courage in him.  When you call on a jackass, he just kicks and brays.
    —    Patricia Neal
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On This Day In:
2014 Honest Wants
2013 Faith, n.
2012 Surprise Me
2011 Confused With Truth

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