Friday, July 30, 2010

Vintage Movie Fun! "The Day The Earth Stood Still"

When the husband and I turned on the TV this morning to catch up on the day's headlines, our TiVo was recording the 1951 classic, "The Day the Earth Stood Still." It was directed by Robert Wise and featured Michael Rennie as the 'spaceman' Klaatu who masqueraded as "Carpenter" and Patricia Neal as war widow, single mother, and Washington, DC secretary Helen Benson. Even Francis Bavier, known later as "Aunt Bee" on the "Andy Griffith Show" makes an appearance as the landlady/boarder. The movie was shot on location in Washington and I love watching it not only for the fashion, but to see how much DC has changed.

The story is a compelling tale warning mankind against the ills of violence and war. Spaceman Klaatu and his gigantic robot servant, Gort, land one day in the middle of the city and the world it set alight with wonder, curiosity, and panic. Klaatu comes with an important message and he needs to get the world leaders together in one place so he can deliver his words of caution. Can Klaatu do it? Will he get through to the human race? Watch and see!

I also love this movie (and most classics) for the hair and fashion! The clothing in this movie, particularly that of Helen (Neal) represents the late fashion of the 40s and early 50s well. For the majority of the film, Helen is seen wearing a dark, solid-colored rayon dress with a white point collar. The dress also boasts a self belt. I also adore Helen's white day gloves, sleek black handbag, red lips, and Middy hairstyle. As the husband and I ate our breakfast, he looked over at me and said, "Hey, that your hair!" I was so flattered.

So, if you are in need of a great sci-fi classic with a great story, then this is the movie for you!


  1. I just love this film! One of my favourites. I read a really interesting article about this in reference to Imperialism and how the British (and German) are always the bad guys in Hollywood films.
    -Andi x

  2. I love this film too! It's great cos it combines mine & husbands love of that period and his love for 50s crazy sci fi which always makes me giggle!

  3. Andi,

    I have heard about that hypothesis too. In this movie, however, the 'big bad guy' was the threat of war itself and the dialogue also makes hints that the spaceship was actually a Russian ploy.

    During the post-war period, America was experiencing a second "Red Scare." (The first one took place in the late teens/early 1920s). In the 1950s, all things communist were bad and scary. There were blacklists, the McCarthy trials, and atomic bomb fears. In 1951, when this movie came out, the United States was fighting the Korean War (mostly against North Korean and Chinese forces). The actual fighting lasted from 1950-1953 but the battles only stopped due to a ceasefire. The war is actually still officially on-going.

    Anyway, this film captures the fear of the unknown very well. It is amazing but the new re-make starring Keanu Reeves was just bad!

  4. Straight Talking Mama,

    I love the fashion and I also love old sci-fi too! "This Island Earth," "Plan 9 from Outer Space," and "It Conquered the World" are all great campy films that totally capture the era so well! I am also a huge Star Trek fan. I used to have a crush on Kirk! lol!

    The husband also loves old sci-fi and monster movies. And, we both love the Japanese monster characters like Godzilla, Gamera, Mothra, and Rodan! In most scenes, you can tell the 'monster' is actually a guy in a bad-fitting suit! lol! Love it!