The Day the Earth Stood Still is one of those movies that leaps immediately to mind when one thinks of great classic sci-fi. Naturally, modern movie makers must try to better it with a remake. Here I will compare the original and the remake of this particular sci-fi standard.
The original, made in 1951 starring Michael Rennie, Patricia Neal, Hugh Marlowe, Lock Martin, and Frances Bavier, has become more than a classic: it has become an icon of classic Sci-fi. This is a bit odd because the movie does not contain any of the usual hallmarks of early Sci-Fi: no massive explosions, no creepy monsters, no flying saucers whizzing around destroying things. This film made its mark because of superior writing and some truly memorable performances by the cast.
To be clear, there is a flying saucer; but it lands on a park in Washington DC and stays there (in a very non-threatening manner) throughout the movie until its departure at the end. There is a fairly fearsome robot that could be considered the “monster” of the film except it does not go on a rampage; its role is purely defensive. And there is an alien, but he’s not some tentacled monster with eight eyes. In fact, once he gets out of his space suit he is able to walk around the city unnoticed because he looks so human. Read the rest of this entry »