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The film begins with radar crews all over the globe tracking an unidentified flying object – a UFO. American and British crews track the UFO. Excitement grows as the UFO goes deeper and deeper into our atmosphere. As it descends it slows, eventually flying over Washington. It eventually slows enough to where it can land. People in the area where it appears to be landing stampede to get out its way. It eventually lands an area reserved for games of
baseball. After it lands nothing happens prompting television and radio commentators to simply speculate as to why the UFO is here. Commentators of the day such as Drew Pearson, H.V. Kaltenborn, and Elmer Davis are either shown or heard. As Drew Pearson recounts events for the umpteenth time the UFO begins to open, and a human looking person wearing some sort of helmet emerges. The Army (it’s actually the National Guard) is by now pointing every weapon in their arsenal at the mysterious visitor from outer space. He
extends his arm in peace to show he doesn’t carry any kind of offensive weapon. As he reaches into his spacesuit he slowly pulls out a strange looking device. It suddenly expands, and he’s shot by some mildly terrified military type. He collapses. It’s now that a robot named Gort appears. Everybody is astounded as Gort is 8 feet tall.
The extra-terrestrial stranger, now lying on the ground, struggles to stay conscious. Gort comes closer to the soldiers, and when he does his visor rises up to to reveal a roving, deadly eye. A beam of light shoots out of his helmet and destroys all offensive weapons. The rifles, machine guns, tanks,
and other methods of destruction are quickly enveloped in Gorts beam, and quickly vanish to be replaced by smoldering heaps of molten metal. The alien sees what he has done and says “Gort! Deglet ovrosco!”. Gort ceases firing his deadly ray of death, while the alien struggles to stand. He informs the army platoon leader that the object that was shot and destroyed “It was a gift. For your President. With this he could have studied life on other planets.”.
As the alien stands a jeep comes roaring onto the scene where a colonel asks how badly the alien is hit. When he’s informed by the platoon leader about the shoulder wound he barks that the alien should be taken to Walter Reed Hospital.
Klaatu gets an education in Earth politics
The next section shows just how child-like the human race still is. The head honcho of the hospital and an unnamed General are discussing the aliens physical and metal state. Nothing of great import is exchanged except this one line. Most of it is pretty boring small talk, or chit-chat.
General to the major – “How is he?”. “He’s all right, General… Blood pressure’s a little high, but it could be aggravation”. General “Can’t blame him. I always get mad when somebody shoots me”.
Apparently he has been requesting to see the president rather insistently. Hoping to avoid an interplanetary incident the White House sends a secretary to the president over to the hospital. They send a Mr. Harley played by Frank Conroy. Frank Conroy does a splendid job of portraying someone who is nothing but a high priced courier in wing tipped shoes. It is in this sequence we get our first good look at the man from outer space.
After entering the room Mr. Harley looks right at the man from outer space, and says “My name is Harley — Secretary to the President. I’ve been told that you speak our language — that your name is Mr. Klaatu.” Before Mr. Harley can continue the person in the hospital bed corrects him. “Just Klaatu”. At this point Mr. Harley looks decidedly uneasy. No doubt he’s been informed about Gort, and is wondering if the metal behemoth will come lumbering into the room. Gripping his hat he apologises to Klaatu. “The President asked me to convey his deepest apologies for what has happened. We all feel—”. Klaatu asks him to sit down. Mr. Harley does his best to engage Klaatu in small talk, and to a certain degree Klaatu reciprocates. At the same time the army is trying to gain entry into the saucer with spectacularly dismal results. Back in the hospital Klaatu is growing visibly impatient with Mr. Harleys endless questions. Finally lays his request in Mr. Harleys lap. “I want to meet with representatives from all the nations of the Earth.”. Mr. Harley gets flustered, and gives Klaatu a boatload of excuses, to which Klaatu says “My mission here is not to solve your petty squabbles. It concerns the existence of every last creature who lives on Earth.”. His candor piques Mr. Harleys interest and asks him to elaborate. “ I intend to explain. To all the nations — simultaneously. How do we proceed, Mr. Harley?”. Mr. Harley suggests calling a special meeting of the United Nations, but adds that not all nations are members. Klaatu counters with a meeting for all chiefs of state. Mr. Harley shoots that idea down by stating some nations won’t even sit at the same table. Growing more than a little impatient at the child-like attitude of some nations Klaatu states very matter of factly “I don’t want to resort to threats, Mr. Harley. I simply tell you bluntly that the future of your planet is at stake… I suggest you transmit that message to the nations of the Earth”. Mr. Harley gathers up his hat and briefcase and says he’ll let the president know what has been said, but that he’s very pessimistic about a positive outcome. Klaatu expresses a certain degree of optimism, and yet must wonder about this planet.
After Mr. Harley leaves the hospital floor some hospital personnel are discussing Klaatu. The major points to an x-ray and says that most of the skeletal system is the same as the human system and most of his internal organs are basically the same too. He asks the captain for an estimate of his age. The captain responds that he thinks Klaatu is about forty-five. The major says Klaatu says he’s seventy-eight. The major continues “He says their medicine is that much more advanced. He was very nice about it. But he made me feel like a third-class witch doctor”.
A Major White approaches the pair shaking is head. “I just examined the wound and it’s all healed.” When asked to explain Major White says “Said he put some salve on it — some stuff he had with him”. Asked what he going to do with the small tube contain the salve he says “Take it downstairs and have it analyzed. Then I don’t know whether I’ll just get drunk or give up the practice of medicine”. Major White goes through some doors and continues to shake his head.
Stay Tuned for part 3 !