47 Years of Student Run Cinema
Student Film Society of the Year 2002, 2005, 2006
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Robert Wise, USA, 1951, 92 minutes
"Gort! Klaatu barada nikto!" Patricia Neal utters this timeless phrase to save the world from a vengeful robot, angered after his master's shooting.
It all started when a flying saucer, containing alien Klaatu and robot Gort, lands in Washington D.C. KIaatu is friendly and dignified, but as an emissary from the more advanced planets, brings a serious message: the nations of the Earth must stop messing around with atomic weapons. The alternative is that the world will be destroyed in order to stop it posing a threat in years to come to the civilised planets. Klaatu then mingles with the average Americans to escape a doubting FBI, meeting Helen Benson and her young son Bobby. They learn that he is the alien, and Billy naturally hero worships the long-distance lodger, until he must return and report to his federation. After meeting these wholesome, clean living people, he perhaps realises that there is hope for the Earthlings, but unfortunately he is shot dead, and then temporarily reactivated by Gort.
This allegorical film obviously contains several unsubtle messages about society, which is perhaps what makes it stand out from the standard 50's ray-gun flick. It an intelligent movie that makes you think not only about the nuclear industry, but also about xenophobia and the abuse of science.
Yorkshireman Michael Rennie played the alien in a refined way, in the role for which he is best remembered. The whole supporting cast put in good performances, paricularly Sam Jaffe as the benevolent scientist Dr. Barnhardt.
Robert Wise directed this film with spirit, injecting a sharp atmosphere with the aid of Bernard Herrmann's backing score. Wise also directed such classics as The Curse Of The Cat People, West Side Story and The Sound of Music.
Review by David Kuhne
Taken from EUFS Programme 1992-93