The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)
Director: Robert Wise
Script: Edmund H. North
Based on book by: Harry Bates
Actors: Michael Rennie, Patricia Neal, Hugh Marlowe, Sam Jaffe, Billy Gray, Frances Bavier, Lock Martin
BUD: Nice music.
BRIDEY: Wonderful music.
BUD: Look at the size of that satellite dish.
BRIDEY: I saw one like that in Whale Cove. A guard came out of a little trailer and told me to get away from it. I asked him what it was for and he said the Americans were scanning for bogeys.
BUD: Maybe it’s the same one.
BRIDEY: Klaatu–wasn’t that the name of a seventies Canadian progressive rock band rumoured to actually be the Beatles?
BUD: Yeah, Check out the robot.
BRIDEY: I saw him and that flying saucer on the cover of a Ringo Starr album. …Ah, yes, once more we are privy to the high ideals of human philosophy contrasted with the lowdown arseholery of human deeds… Lincoln! A wise man! In a pig’s eye! Wasn’t it Lincoln who wanted to ship all the slaves back to Africa? … Klaatu keeps yammering about telling the whole human race, or at least the smartest ones. I guess that means academics. I don’t know if I’d trust the future of the earth to my existentialist philosophy professor from university. He moved into the Life Sciences building after his house caved in. We’d see him roaming the halls at night all boogley-eyed when we pulled all-nighters at the study carrels. We called him Mouldy. Hey! That’s Aunt Bea from Mayberry!
BUD: Yup. And guess who else is sitting at that table?
BRIDEY: I don’t recognise–
BUD: It’s Captain Janeway.
BRIDEY: Impossible. But that is her voice. That would put her in her sixties or seventies when she did Voyager.
BUD: They girdered up her face lifts with duct tape.
BRIDEY: I just love black and white films. Check out those gleaming whites, those deep, enigmatic blacks, the light sparkling in the falling rain —
TOM: I don’t care about the rest of the world. You’ll see; you’ll feel different when you see my picture in the paper. You’re gonna marry a big hero
BRIDEY: Ain’t that just like a man. As if there’s gonna be papers! Don’t marry him, Captain Janeway–he’s foolish!
BUD: Well, there, they’re aiming to shoot the messenger. Earth is done for now.
BRIDEY: Bud, I want you to go to George Bush and say these words: “Klaatu barada nikto!” You must say these words to George so that he does not destroy the world.
BUD: I think “Klaatu barada nikto” means “Me so horny.”
BRIDEY: The robot must think so — look, he’s hauling her away in his arms.
HELEN: He has the power of life and death?
KLAATU: No. That power is reserved by the Almighty Spirit. This technique, in some cases, can restore life for a limited period.
BRIDEY: I’m sensing a messianic undertone.
KLAATU: …and the threat of aggression by any group can no longer be tolerated. There must be security for all or no one is secure. Now this does not mean giving up any freedom except the freedom to act irresponsibly.
BRIDEY: I take it back. This speech is starting to sound like an infomercial for global totalitarianism. Our ancestors, my big cushy arse. Bud, you ain’t said much.
BUD: Pretty typical sci-fi message: buddy warns us, we don’t listen.
BRIDEY: What does Maltin say?
BUD: Four stars. Great acting. “Timely message.”
BRIDEY: He’s right for once.
BUD: So what’s this in your top fifty?
BRIDEY: It’s beautiful, it’s delightful, it’s well-crafted, and it’s instructive. But it don’t speak to my soul, so it don’t make the top fifty. I think I’ll make it number four on my sci-fi list.
Bud and Bridey only watch old movies. If you’re looking for reviews of more recent films, check out Laura Seymour’s Flicks and Folios Film Review
By Wanda Waterman St. Louis, with Steven St. Louis.