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Day the Earth Stood Still, The

Director:

U.S.A.| 1951. Black and white. 92 min.


Adapting Harry Bates’ short story Farewell to the Master, director Robert Wise created a classic science fiction film with a strong pacifist message. Landing beside the White House, a vast flying saucer disgorges a Christ-like Michael Rennie, who warns about the dangers of a nuclear catastrophe. Rebuffed by the Presidential Secretary, a wounded Rennie escapes among average Americans such as Patricia Neal in order to find that Earth is not completely beyond reason. Intelligent and unhesitating, the film is also equipped with technical marvels, chief among them the huge robot Gort—the prototype, Rennie suggests, for a global police force. Similar mechanical giants have been lumbering out of spaceships ever since, although seldom programmed for peace-keeping.

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