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The Day the Earth Stood Still

More than fifty years later we still remember "Klaatu barada nikto!" Considered by many to be among the top-tier achievements in science fiction filmmaking, The Day the Earth Stood Still is graying at the temples but there's no denying the cool sophistication of its filmcraft and the unchanging currency of the message that benevolent flying-saucer pilot Klaatu (Michael Rennie) gives to the squabbling peoples of Earth — shape up or we're toast. And there's the eight-foot-tall robot Gort brandishing a disintegrator beam just to make sure we get the picture. It was directed by solid craftsman Robert Wise and given a terrifically "alien" part-electronic musical score by Bernard Herrmann. Patricia Neal and Billy Grey play the widow and young boy who befriend Klaatu when he's on the lam after being shot by a trigger-happy soldier. Hugh Marlowe is the no-good boyfriend and Sam Jaffe is the smartest man in the world (aliens excluded, of course). Fox's DVD treatment of this seminal piece of work offers a gorgeous restoration and an entire warehouse of extras, including a good making-of documentary, a commentary track with Wise and fellow director Nicholas Meyer, and more stills than you can shake a saucer at. Keep-case.
—Mark Bourne

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