Saturday, July 30, 2011
The Day the Earth Stood Still: Do You Remember the Three Words to Save the World?
Loosely based on the Harry Bates story "Farewell to the Master," The Day the Earth Stood Still features strong religious undercurrents. Klaatu becomes a Carpenter (if in name only). He performs a "miracle" of global proportions. He brings a message of peace, but is largely misunderstood. And, of course, he is murdered and resurrected. Producer Blaustein credits screenwriter Edmund H. North for adding these provocative layers on top of a traditional science fiction tale.
The cast, music, and richness of themes contribute mightily to the film's timeless quality. But it's the story--along with that awesome robot Gort--that makes The Day the Earth Stood Still popular with viewers of all ages. I love to watch it with young people and tell them that they will need to memorize the film's classic phrase and repeat it at the appropriate point in the film...or the Earth will be destroyed. You'd be amazed at how many different variations I've heard of: "Klaatu barada nikto!"