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The Day the Earth Stood Still [DVD] [1951]

Release Date:03/04/2003
Though dated in many ways, The Day the Earth Stood Still is still a classic of the science fiction genre, and Fox obviously recognizes that with a wonderful DVD release. The image restoration shines through as this full-frame transfer looks better than ever. Detail is exact, as well are shadows. The black-and-white photography has superb depth and contrast throughout. Only some minor imperfections are evident, but there's never a significant distraction. Unfortunately, the audio is the weakest element of this disc. Both the mono and stereo English Dolby Digital tracks are recorded far too low, though the stereo track does have a slightly wider field. Considering how revered this film is, it's little surprise that it's been given the special-edition treatment, though many of the supplements are taken from the 1995 laserdisc release. The disc is divided over two sides, the first with the film and a fine interview/scene-specific commentary, hosted by director Nicholas Meyer, with Robert Wise, the director of this film. Also on this side, along with the theatrical trailer, is a 1951 newsreel with a short segment on this film. The second side of the disc contains some great material. First up is a 80-minute documentary that covers nearly every part of the production. It includes interviews with Wise, producer Julian Blaustein, actress Patricia Neal, and many others. Another real plus is a comparison between the many restorations this film has had, from 1993, 1995, and 2002; it goes to show you what care went into releasing this definitive DVD edition. Finally, along with a couple of other Fox genre titles, One Million Years B.C. and Journey to the Center of the Earth, is an extensive gallery section. Unlike most galleries though, this one is a real treasure, since it includes the complete script of the film, blueprints, posters, production photos, and much more. This is a fine disc that complements a great film.
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    Ratings & Reviews

    Overall Customer Rating:
    94% of customers would recommend this product to a friend (30 out of 32)

    Special Features

    • Audio commentary by Robert Wise & Nicolas Meyer
    • 70-minute "Making the Earth Stand Still" documentary
    • Movietone newsreel (1951)
    • Restoration comparison
    • 5 still galleries
    • Shooting script
    • Theatrical trailer
    • Full-frame format (aspect ratio 1.33:1)
    • Audio: English stereo, English mono, French mono, Spanish mono
    • Subtitles: English, Spanish


    The Day the Earth Stood Still
    All of Washington, D.C., is thrown into a panic when an extraterrestrial spacecraft lands near the White House. Out steps Klaatu (Michael Rennie, in a role intended for Claude Rains), a handsome and soft-spoken interplanetary traveler, whose "bodyguard" is Gort (Lock Martin), a huge robot who spews forth laser-like death rays when danger threatens. After being wounded by an overzealous soldier, Klaatu announces that he has a message of the gravest importance for all humankind, which he will deliver only when all the leaders of all nations will agree to meet with him. World politics being what they are in 1951, Klaatu's demands are turned down and he is ordered to remain in the hospital, where his wounds are being tended. Klaatu escapes, taking refuge in a boarding house, where he poses as one "Mr. Carpenter" (one of the film's many parallels between Klaatu and Christ). There the benign alien gains the confidence of a lovely widow (Patricia Neal) and her son, Bobby (Billy Gray), neither of whom tumble to his other-worldly origins, and seeks out the gentleman whom Bobby regards as "the smartest man in the world" -- an Einstein-like scientist, Dr. Barnhardt (Sam Jaffe). The next day, at precisely 12 o'clock, Klaatu arranges for the world to "stand still" -- he shuts down all electrical power in the world, with the exception of essentials like hospitals and planes in flight. Directed by Robert Wise, who edited Citizen Kane (1941) and The Magnificent Ambersons (1942) for director Orson Welles before going on to direct such major 1960s musicals as West Side Story (1961) and The Sound of Music (1965), The Day the Earth Stood Still was based on the story Farewell to the Master by Harry Bates. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

    Cast & Crew

    • Michael Rennie
      Michael Rennie - Klaatu
    • Patricia Neal
      Patricia Neal - Helen Benson
    • Hugh Marlowe
      Hugh Marlowe - Tom Stevens
    • Sam Jaffe
      Sam Jaffe - Dr. Barnhardt
    • Billy Gray
      Billy Gray - Bobby Benson

    Product images, including color, may differ from actual product appearance.