Thursday, 21 October 2010

The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)

The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) is a film directed by Robert Wise, in which a strange humanoid alien being of a far greater race lands on Earth to bring the message of great warning. Throughout the film we see the character of the humanoid alien named 'Klaatu' or as his name 'Mr.Carpenter' develop into a like able character as well as the story.

As Alan mentioned this films is surrounded by the question upon whether it is a b-movie or not. On first impressions i believed in the idea, that yes the film is a b-movie, it fits into all the categories needed to be a b-movie. But as the film further developed, as well did my understanding of the film. In my opinion now, i believe in the opposite answer to my first impression, i now believe that the film 'The Day the Earth Stood Still' does not at all fall into the category of the b-movie.

Its true the film was released around the same period as other b-movies, and in retrospect does include many of the themes from other b-movies surrounding it, but its the films overall quality, budget, and special effects, which to me take the film out of the b-movie category. Just to give an idea of budget; The Day the Earth Stood Still had a grand budget of $1.2 million, whereas 'The Quatermass Xperiment' only had a budget of £42,000, a great difference which is obviously noticeable between the two films. This great budget allowed far more than just on overall more expensive film to produce, it gave Hollywood a chance create a great hit of its time, by allowing better special effects and script writing.

Due to the films classically great script, and for its time, high end special effects, the film did not suffer at all with any boring scenes, allowing the viewer to have a more enjoyable experience of it. Some great special effects included the arrival and departure of the space ship, the robot accompanying klaatu named 'Gort's' lazer vision which seemed to melt and disintegrate the enemy (human) weaponry and vehicles. Another notable scene within the film which aids in its success would be the multiple appearances of multiple famous landmarks around the world, a scene which you would not normally view in any other b-movie.

Although having said this, at one part of the film, the idea of the film being a b-movie soon sunk straight back in as the use of music was used to express tension within some scenes. The classic brass instrument backing music which is used to accompany high tension scenes within many other b-movies. But overall i enjoyed the film very much, i might even say it would be the best b-movie/non b-movie i have yet seen.

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