Friday, October 28, 2011

Review: “The Day the Earth Stood Still" (1951), Dir by Robert Wise

This review will be critically analysing original Robert Wise's movie "The Day the Earth Stood Still" made in 1951. This movie had a really high budget and great video effects considering the time when it was made. This review is based on Billy Stevenson's, Andy Kaiser's and Jerry Dean's reviews.

Figure 1

This movie clearly resembles 50's American life. The good part about it is that it does not hide primitive thinking of people back then and even better that it shows how meaningless it used to be. Billy Stevenson says that: "Not only does this explicate the oscillation between domestic and cosmic registers that informs the rise of 1950s melodrama, but it provides an extraordinary evocation of their corollaries, the Communist witch-hunts - and, more specifically, the hysterical fear of invisibility, of aliens among us - culminating with the moment at which the police arrive, in the middle of the night, to escort Klaatu into an ether as vague and imposing as the Universe itself." (A Film Cannon, October 11, 2008). Even though it is a high budget movie at the same time you can see how minimalist it is. All decorations and costumes made for aliens and their UFO were extremely simple and conservative, but smart. It is definitely a good looking movie as for a time, but story is really much more important here then fancy effects. Jerry Dean Roberts adds that: "Here is a movie that prefers story over action, a movie that is surprisingly intelligent and with a relevant message. In the midst of the cold war when we were revving up the engine of the race for atomic superiority, when the earth lived under the ever-darkening cloud of atomic wars, the message of brotherhood and good will could not have been timelier."  (Armchair Oscars, date of publishing is unknown). Even though there is such a nice and beautiful idea, the movie gives just a lot questions. Some of them could be why is it really Washington, how quickly this robot came to rescue the alien, why the alien is so typical American? Probably back then it was really hard to notice and people weren't so critical and this movie even though has some good sides, it has as many bad sides coming from the perception of typical 50's. Washington could be just chosen to satisfy American audience and alien was like that just to make him more sympathetic for the same people.

Figure 2

All in all this movie in 50's was one of those high budget films with incredible effects like we have now, but without that it was also carrying a very important message. Andy Kaiser explains it: "Made as a warning during the early Cold War years, the film is nicely handled by directing great Robert Wise. Corny elements involving aliens blend with tense images to make a great film-going experience." (Andy's film reviews, August 30, 2010). Robert Wise earns a great respect for not being afraid to tell the truth that he sees in that kind of movie.


Figure1: Dangerous alien robot

Figure2: Alien exploring humanity with the boy


Billy Stevenson (A Film Cannon, October 11, 2008)

Andy Kiser (Andy's film reviews, August 30, 2010)

Jerry Dean Roberts (Armachair Oscars, date of publishing is unknown)

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