Starring: Patricia Neal, Michael Rennie, Hugh Marlowe
Director: Robert Wise
Running Time: 92 mins
The Day The Earth Stood Still is an American film about an alien being that lands on Earth, coming to deliver the decree to all of humanity that it must learn to live in peace or be destroyed as it poses a threat to the rest of space.
Well, if you’re looking for really blatant American Cold War propaganda, this is a treasure trove. Invasion Of The Body Snatchers was pretty obvious, but this just has such a clear message, however it does succeed in not being that patronising or pushy in its message. There’s also a cool sci-fi story here too, with some interesting characters, however I struggled to get really interested in this film mainly due to its slow pacing.
One of the most impressive things about this film is that it is a fantastic display of brilliant special effects for its time, that are neither too lavish nor too plasticky, and don’t ever seem that dated nowadays. The brilliance of this film is to utilise simplistic effects to create a very clear image of the aliens, and that was very refreshing and enjoyable for me to watch.
Also, the story in this film is quite a bit of fun. Away from the message and the pacing, it’s an interesting sci-fi story, bordering on the edge of thriller, and you can enjoy it quite a lot even if you take the story completely literally, because it’s done so simplistically.
The message of this piece of propaganda is anti-Cold War, using the aliens as a symbol for the atomic bomb potentially destroying everything we have come to know and live in if we don’t learn to live together in peace, and the lucky thing about this film in comparison to some other US propaganda movies is that whilst this message blatantly comes across, it’s not too pushy that it gets annoying, which I was pleased by.
However, the main issue I found with this film was its poor pacing. It’s got an enjoyable story and convincing characters, but it’s not really put together all that well, with some periods of the film feeling far too drawn-out, and definitely not thrilling at all, which caused me to lose interest at points.
Overall, this gets a 6.9, because despite its good story, special effects, characters and lack of didacticism, its slow pace meant that it lost the capacity to be properly enjoyable or exciting.