Marooned–The Movie


Ok, this film has a few faults. To be honest more than a few faults. But this film gets a bum rap, and based on sci-fi films of the sixties I can’t figure out why. Sure, the book was ho-hum so the source material was far from fantastic.  But the author of the book did not write the screenplay. If anything this is your atypical sci-fi film from the sixties. It’s an Academy award winner. It won for having the best visual effects of any other film in 1970. The novel the movie is based on originally depicted a single astronaut marooned in a one man Mercury capsule. That book was released in 1964. The movie, after many significant alterations, was released on November 10 1969, with its Los Angeles opening one month later.


Original Novel(1964)

The acting in this film is pretty bad most of the time. Gregory Peck, who plays Charles Keith, is either having the early onset of rigor mortis or he’s trying to emulate a tree. He’s so wooden and ridgid at times his performance is laughable. His primary job is to save three astronauts stranded in orbit. Three astronauts have just spent several  in the Apollo Applications Lab and it’s time to come home (this same lab would later become known as SkyLab). They are 280 miles up going 17,500 miles per hour. They have to fire the engine attached to the service module to slow the orbit  just enough for re-entry to begin. There’s just one problem. It refuses to work. The flight is designated as Ironman 1. For the movie the author, Martin Caidin, re-wrote sections of his original novel and expanded the crew from one man to three men, and he  added biographies of the crew which thankfully did not make it into the film. He kept the original premise – engine failure. A lot of Caiden’s dialog made it into the screenplay which was written by Mayo Simon. Some of the dialog is dry and cryptic. Unless you know what they’re talking about you’re going to be lost. But that’s was the language of the manned space programme in the sixties. The men that orbited the earth were test pilots and scientists.

             Richard Crenna   Gene Hackman  Jame Franciscus 

               Richard Crenna         Gene Hackman       James Franciscus

are the men stuck inside one of the most complex machines ever constructed, and they only have 43 hours of breathable oxygen and they’re dying. The chief astronaut,Ted Dougherty, played by David Janssen sticks his neck out and becomes a thorn in the side of Charles Keith. He helps organize a rescue of his three friends. Unknown to the Americans the Russians are organizing a rescue too. This movie was prophetic in that it correcting forecast the peaceful cooperation of space by the two countries. What a great many didn’t know was if anything went wrong with any American spaceflight in the sixties there was little, if any, hope of rescue.

Of all the space vehicles used in the film only one is fictitious. The American X-RV was created for the movie. The Russian vehicle is a Vostok/Voskhod. The movie tie-in book states its a Soyuz. The Russian government had yet to disclose to the west what it really looked like.

Cover_of__Marooned_,_the_1969_novelization_of_the_motion_picture_of_the_same_name,_by_Martin_Caidin       9780552083706-us

                              American print                British print

You either like the film or you hate it. Columbia pictures spent 8-10 million dollars and barely broke even get only 4.1 million at the box office. It became more successful when it went to video.

The following is from the American Film Institute catalog. The links work I hope.


G | 133 mins | Science Fiction | 1969

Gregory Peck

, Richard Crenna, David Janssen [ More ]


John Sturges


Mayo Simon


Mike Frankovich


Daniel L. Fapp


Walter Thompson

Production Designer:

Lyle Wheeler

Production Company:

Frankovich Productions, Inc.

Give it a try. I’ve read the American and British movie tie in books, had two VHS copies of the film, and I’ve ordered the remastered version of the film on DVD. I can’t get enough of this film.

Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice


I’d read the reviews. But I wanted to see the film first before I chimed in. This is truly a gawd awful film.  I have not been in a theater since early 2000 so I watched it on Netflix. Everyone above the age of 10, who has seen any Batman films, cartoons, or series knows Batman does not use guns. Yet there’s Ben in cape and cowl, blasting away. Then, to shatter any illusions that may still be standing, he brands people! At the beginning of the film I wasn’t sure what was going on, and I’m quite sure the film makers were in the same dilemma. At the beginning a young Bruce Wayne is scampering about and eventually falls down a hole or well. Are we told why? No. But I was pretty sure I seen this sequence in a previous Batman film. And I had in Batman Begins. Ben Affleck has got to be the worst possible choice for the role of Batman. Maybe he was trying to redeem himself for doing Daredevil. It didn’t work.

Wait. I’m not finished. Superman, the all American boy, walks in on Lois Lane while she’s taking a bath. I have no idea if these two are married, boyfriend/girlfriend, living together. All I know is Mr. red white and blue jumps Lois Lanes bones in the tub.

I lasted till there was an hour left and Supe and Bats were duking it out overs Supes mom being kidnapped before I bailed. Before I go to bed and try really hard to forget this cinematic atrocity what’s the story with Lex Luthor? The jerk is almost as annoying as Bats. Plus he has much hair as Wonder woman.

And I thought Plan 9 From Outer Space was bad. A new low has been reached in superhero films. Where’s Christian Bale when you need him. Not here. And he should thank his lucky stars.


Fail-Safe (1964)


A Situation Nobody Wants…

Nuclear war. Nobody wants one. And a lunatic just might start one. But in the early sixties it was a very possible reality. Released in October 1964, it showed us in gritty black and white just how easily the end could come to this planet. The film was based on the book Fail-Safe by Eugene Burdick and Harvey Wheeler which was released in serial format at the same time as the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.

Fail Safe Novel

What makes this film stand out is what it hasn’t got. There’s no soundtrack at all. There are no laughs. Its all deadly serious. If you’ve dealt with any kind of computer for the last ten or fifteen years you will have noticed how much sophisticated new computers are compared to their ten year old counterparts. I’m writing this blog post on a four month old laptop. And it’s so much better than a computer 20 years old. Yet it can’t do what a twenty year computer can do. The mistakes in this new laptop are so subtle compared to its electronic ancestors. Tiny errors slowly pile up, until they cascade down making life very, very, difficult. And that’s what happens this film. A computer develops a tiny error and  sends a signal to a bomber group to target and destroy Moscow. The Russians, who you never see, test a new radio jamming technique. Machines designed to protect us do the opposite – doom us.

Doctor Strangelove and Fail Safe were put out by the same studio. Because of lawsuits it decided to release Doctor Strangelove first. Doctor Strangelove was a dark comedy which did very well at the box office. Fail Safe, a more down to earth suspense/drama, got rave reviews but did poorly at the box office. Its a sad commentary on our society when a comedy about the end of the world is received better than a film that really tries to depict things as they really exist.

The actors in the film deserve all the accolades. For almost all of the film scenes are confined to the presidential bunker, the war room in the Pentagon, Strategic Air Command in Omaha, and the cockpit of a Vindicator bomber. Please see the film.


Henry Fonda as the President of the United States

Henry Fonda is one of only a handful of actors who actually look like they could play the role of the President. Fonda played the secretary of state twice, and the president twice.


Larry Hagman as Buck the translator

Although many sources name this film as Larry Hagmans film debut they are incorrect. It may have been his break-out role, but he first appeared in the The Enemy Below with Robert Mitchum in 1957.


Dom Deluise as Sgt. Collins in a rare non-comedic role had only a handful of lines in the film.


Edward Binns as Col. Jack Grady worked with Fonda on the film 12 Angry Men. In this film he plays a soldier who follows his orders, and almost kills us all.


Walter Matthau as Prof. Groeteschele

The film is special as it is one of the very few filmed performances of Walter Matthau in a rare dramatic role. His role is that of advisor to the Pentagon. Used mainly because of his height (6 foot 3 inches), he is a sinister character with his own agenda.


Fritz Weaver. He made his film debut as Col. Cascio, who tries to be the perfect soldier, and fail because he forgets how to a person.

War Of The Worlds (1953)

Martian War Machine-War Of The Worlds

Never before have I seen humankind almost destroyed in such glorious color. The human stars are Gene Barry and Ann Robinson, but the real stars are the special effects. The Martian war machine you see above was made of copper, and forty-two inches across. There were three of them. Great big monsters. A love story slowly evolves between Dr. Clayton Forrester (the character played by Gene Barry) and Sylvia van Buren (the character played by Ann Robinson). The dialogue is steeped in language that says this film is from the fifties. “Gee whiz” and “Holy Cow” aren’t said that often, but when you hear either one of them you’ll know roughly when this film was made.

 vlcsnap-00001    Gene Barry

                                                             Ann Robinson    vlcsnap-00002

In the early fifties, while producer George Pal was working on his second live action film (When Worlds Collide), he was looking for an idea for a third film. He came upon a large pile of unproduced movie scripts for a film called The War of the Worlds. He was enthralled by the story, but was wise enough to know that to set the film set the film in Victorian England would be courting fiscal disaster. He had the idea to move the Martian invasion to modern day California. Pal  hired Barre Lyndon to write the script. The fact that Barre Lyndon loved H. G. Wells, and the original story was a extra little bonus. Lyndon poured his heart and soul into the script, and really wanted to do justice to Wells and his idea.

To bring bring the picture to the screen Pal hired Byron Haskin. George Pal knew the film would be dependant on the special effects, and Haskin used to be in charge of the effects department at Warner Brothers, so Haskin was a perfect choice.

Byron HaskinByron Haskin      vlcsnap-00012George Pal

But George also knew the effects would have to be spectacular. He employed Al Nozaki. Here he his making preliminary drawings of what the Martian can do.vlcsnap-00016

Al Nozaki

He was involved in every stage of the films production. He produced concept drawings, storyboards of almost every shot in the film, and most importantly he designed the awesome Martian war machines. Originally Pal wanted them to walk on tripod-like legs. This was achieved, and can be seen when the Martians rise out of the pit, but was discarded as too costly, and a potential fire hazard. This effect can only be seen for about five seconds. Alterations were not made to the script after this change, and some of Gene Barry’s dialogue reflects this. During the film he can be heard to say “There’s a machine standing right next to us.” The actors still thought the Martians would walk in the finished film.

Three large models were created for close-up shots. Smaller models were constructed for shots of the machine from a distance. Multiple camera exposures were needed when the Martian War machine fired its heat ray which was in reality sparks from a welders torch. The “skeleton ray” came from the wing tips of the war machine.


144 individual matte shots were created, and weeks spent, to create an effect that might last ten seconds. When the skeleton ray was used it was always accompanied by a sound effect that found itself used in countless kid shows. This sound effect was used to great effect in Star Trek in the sixties. Whenever the USS Enterprise fired a photon torpedo you heard the effect, and the sound of money falling into the coffers of Paramount Studios, who owned the effect.

Al Nozaki not only created the Martian War Machines, and the Martian camera, but he designed the Martian used in the film. ‘Pink’ as it was known, was originally planned to be over six feet tall. When it made its first appearance it became obvious to all that saw it that it simply wasn’t menacing enough. The suit was made by Charlie Gemora and his teen aged daughter Diana. ‘Pink’ went home with Charlie and Diana. Over night they constructed the Martian you see on screen. Diana Gemora, who assisted during the filming, disclosed after the films fiftieth anniversary that building the Martian that appears on screen was a rush job. It was made over night, from chicken wire, latex rubber, and rubber tubing. She also disclosed that if you watch the “Martian sequence” frame by frame you’ll see tape start to unravel, and an arm almost fall off.

When you see the film Gene Barry throws some debris at ‘Pink’. The plan was for the Martian to ease itself out of the scene. But that’s not what happened. Charlie Gamora was kneeling inside the Martian suit which was on a little trolley.  People off stage said they could see ‘Pink’ starting to come apart, and wanted to get Charlie out. Off stage musclemen pulled the rope that was attached to the trolley a little too vigorously, and Charlie nearly fell out the back of ‘Pink’. 


‘Pink’ not quite ready for his close up

The film was made utilizing three strip Technicolor film. Each camera was


gigantic. They also had the habit of being deafening. So the cameras were encased in a special muffling blanket so the sound of the camera would not be recorded. This process was first utilized in 1932 for the production of a ‘short’ or a film of short duration. Memorable films that used this technique were Gone With The Wind, The Wizard Of Oz, The War Of The Worlds, and The Caine Mutiny. Films made with three strip method have sharp vibrant colors. In researching this particular post I learned that George Pal planned to film the final thirty minutes in 3-D. This idea had to be scrapped because of the cost involved.

When George Pal presented the first draft of the script to the Paramount office a major character did not yet exist. Dr. Clayton Forrester had recently become a widower. The Martians had killed his wife and child. The head office thought this was too much for the audience to handle, and ordered Pal to create “a love interest”. Under great stress and growing objections Pal wrote in Sylvia van Buren.


The Day The Earth Stood Still–Part 8

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Back in the stalled elevator Helen and Klaatu are finishing their little chat. Helen now knows there never really was a “Mr. Carpenter” in the rooming house, and that everything Bobby told her was true. All of a sudden the elevator comes back to life, and the lights come back on. Klaatu isn’t exactly sure what will happen at the meeting tonight so he finishes his little speech to Helen this way. “I’ve already told you more than I told Professor Barnhardt, because my life, in a sense, is in your hands. I thought if you knew the facts you’d appreciate the importance of my not being — apprehended, — before the meeting tonight. After the elevator reaches the ground floor Klaatu decides that the best place for him to hide is boarding house. Klaatu thinks the only other person who knows anything about him is there. Helen discloses that Tom Stephens was there in the living room when Bobby told her what he saw and heard. She walks towards a phone booth and calls his office. He’s not there, but the secretary is a bundle of raw fear. “He left before noon — before that awful electric business. I’m scared to death, Mrs. Benson. I — No, he wouldn’t tell me where he was gong. Said it was something personal”.


Newspaper headlines now scream “WORLD-WIDE POWER JAMMED”, “PRESIDENT DECLARES EMERGENCY”, and “STEP UP HUNT FOR SPACE MAN”. It’s now early evening. People have finished working and are trying to go home. But they can’t. The military have stopped all train and air traffic from leaving the city. And road blocks and checkpoints are popping up all over Washington.  Back at Tom’s office his secretary is talking to a friend when Tom charges in. “Call the Pentagon and find out whose in charge of this space man business. Whoever it is I want to talk to him”. As the secretary dials the Pentagon Helen enters quickly. The secretary announces her, and buzzes her in. While Tom’s waiting for the call to go through he announces to Helen “Helen, he’s the man from the space ship! I had that diamond checked at three different places. Nobody on earth’s ever seen a stone like that! After what Bobby told us, that’s enough for me. Why is it nobody knows anything about him? Why hasn’t he got any money?”.



Tom and Helen talk excitedly about the space man. And Tom is determined that he is the only person in the world capable of ridding the world of “this menace”. Helen is trying franticly to stop Tom from talking to anyone about Klaatu, the diamonds, Gort, or the spaceship. “I’d be the biggest man in the country. I could write my own ticket. Helen pleads with Tom. “The rest of the world, is involved!”. To which he replies “I don’t care about the rest of the world! You’ll feel different when you see my picture in the papers. Helen discovers that the man she thought she loved is only concerned about himself. Helen is disgusted. Tom utters his parting shot “You wait and see. You’re going to marry a big hero!”. Hearing this Helen says “I’m not going to marry anybody”. This catches Tom off guard, but it doesn’t stop him from telling all he knows to the military. As Helen takes a cab home she sees a massive build up of military might near the rooming house. When it arrives she grabs Klaatu by the hand and leads him into the cab. Jeeps with machines guns and officers wearing side arms are everywhere, at every intersection. Klaatu gets an expression of concern on his face. “I’m sure Professor Barnhardt can arrange to hide me until the meeting. Seeing more soldiers Klaatu gets more worried. “I’m worried about Gort. I’m afraid of what he might do — if anything should happen to me”. Puzzled Helen says that Gort is only a robot. Klaatu elaborates. “There’s no limit to what he could do. He could destroy the Earth. If anything should happen to me, you must go to Gort. You must give him this message: “Klaatu barada nikto.” Klaatu asks Helen to repeat the phrase. Jeeps suddenly descend on the area. Even the cab driver is getting concerned. “Hey, what’s this all about?”. With no warning the jeeps speed up, overtake them, and two proceed to cut the cab off, and bring it to a halt. Klaatu jumps out and makes a dash for the pedestrian underpass. But a burst from a machine gun cuts him down.





Klaatu lies dying in the middle of the road. A sea of soldiers soon surrounds Klaatu. No medical aid of any kind is offered this time. Helen somehow makes her way to Klaatu’s side. He looks up with smile of a dying man. His eyes focus, and he sees Helen. “Get that message to Gort. Right away”. Klaatu dies there, his last words are concern for another people, of another planet. As more and more soldiers arrive Helen is able to slip away, and make her way to the pedestrian underpass.

At the spaceship things are far from normal. A glow surrounds Gort and his plastic prison. A slight hum is heard as the plastic falls away. Two soldiers turn and face Gort. His visor rises and a laser beam strikes the soldiers weapons causing them, and the soldiers to simply vanish. It’s now Helen arrives at the spaceship.


But as she nears she sees the two soldiers enveloped in light and vanish. Terrified beyond description she somehow manages to keep walking forward, but as she does she becomes more and more afraid.


Gort sees Helen as another intruder to be dealt with. The glow that is destroying the plastic is almost at his feet. Suddenly the glow is gone, as is the hum. His roving eye bores into her. She’s is fighting the urge to flee but Gort is not making the task Klaatu has given her any easier. Suddenly Gort’s roving eye zeros in on Helen, as the robot begins to move towards her.


They are both within the enclosure. Folding chairs for Professors Barnhardt’s meeting cover the area. Helen starts to run to the rear of the enclosure. She stumbles, screams, and looks right at Gort and says “Gort–! Klaatu — barada – nikto”.



She says the phrase again making sure to enunciate each word as well as she can. Gort pauses, then continues to plow through the chairs. He bends down and picks up Helen. If you look at the edge of the wall you’ll notice the camera shifts ever so slightly. Lock Martin had to put on another Gort costume and is seen coming out from behind a wall. It looks as if Gort is carrying Helen towards the spaceship,but if you look at her feet you’ll notice they aren’t moving. Lock was too weak to carry Patricia Neal (Helen) so a dummy held up by wires was substituted. This photo from the film shows the wires that supported the dummy.


She’s taken side to a small room. She tries to get out, but can’t get the door to operate. Gort makes contact with someone somehow, then goes to a local police station to collect the corpse of Klaatu.


At the police station he destroys the wall to the body of Klaatu and brings it back to the spaceship.

The day the earth stood still - 12

Every time I watch this film I am amazed that not that not one person saw or heard anything. Gort rumbles about making enough noise to wake the dead. And his laser eye is far from silent. Yet nobody sees or hears Gort. Gort bends down and gently lifts the body of Klaatu (and in this case it’s another dummy). He brings the body of Klaatu back to the spaceship where he is revived. When Helen sees this procedure she can barely stand the sound.





When Gort is finished reviving Klaatu we see him start to breathe. Then his eyelids flutter. Then his eyes open and he looks around. Helen isn’t sure what just happened. So she simply stammers out some words hoping they’ll make sense.”I — I thought you were” she says looking at Klaatu and then his blood stained jacket. “I was” says Klaatu. Helen points at Gort “You mean he has the power of life and death?” she asks. Klaatu is mildly amused at her bewilderment. “No — that is a power reserved to the Almighty Spirit. This technique, in certain cases, can re-stimulate life for a limited period. It’s a refinement of scientific principles known to your own people”. Helen asks him just how long he’ll live. Klaatu simply says “How long will I live?” He walks a bit to stretch his legs. “That no one can say”. He moves towards a doorway, waves his hands over some lights, and leaves to change.

Outside Professor Barnhardt and friends are gathering for the meeting. All of a sudden a jeep roars up. A soldier, a high ranking one, tells the Professor to cancel the meeting. The Professor protests saying he had permission from the Army. “I know you did. But the robots on the loose now and it isn’t safe around here. You’ll have to get your friends out of that building”.  The Professor is about to address his friends when all of a sudden a small ramp appears coming out of the side of the spaceship. Klaatu, Gort, and a woman come out the ship. The woman seats herself in an empty chair. The robot is nearest the opening, when Klaatu begins to speak. “I am leaving soon and you will forgive me if I speak bluntly. The Universe grows smaller every day — and the threat of aggression by any group — anywhere — can no longer be tolerated. Your ancestors knew this when they made laws to govern themselves — and hired policemen to enforce them.  We of the other planets have long accepted this principle. We have an organization for the mutual protection of all planets — and for the complete elimination of aggression. A sort of United Nations on the Planetary level… The test of any such higher authority, of course, is the police force that supports it. For our policemen, we created a race of robots”, Klaatu points to Gort, while Helen looks on with hope.


Klaatu continues. “Their function is to patrol the planets — in space ships like this one — and preserve the peace. In matters of aggression we have given them absolute power over us. At the first sign of violence they act automatically against the aggressor. And the penalty for provoking their action is too terrible to risk. The result is that we live in peace, without arms or armies, secure in the knowledge that we are free from aggression and war — free to pursue more profitable enterprises. We do not pretend to have achieved perfection — but we do have a system — and it works. I came here to give you the facts. It is no concern of ours how you run your own planet — but if you threaten to extend your violence, this Earth of yours will be reduced to a burned-out cinder. Your choice is simple. Join us and live in peace. Or pursue your present course — and face obliteration. We will be waiting for your answer. The decision rests with you”.


Klaatu and Gort disappear inside the spaceship. The engines come on, and the ship quickly ascends. The message has been delivered. Will listen to it ?. I think the jury’s still out on that one.


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The Day The Earth Stood Still–Part 7

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It’s a office, with a great many desks. Its also lunch time, and Helen is preparing to go to lunch. Suddenly Mr. Carpenter appears. Her telephone rings. Helen tries her best to terminate the phone call without offending the person at the other end of the call, or making Mr. Carpenter suspicious.

Tom, who is calling her from a high end jewelry store, wants to have lunch. Helen says she’ll call him back. Mr. Carpenter accompanies Helen to the elevators. Waiting for the elevators is a large number of people. Helen says she knows of another elevator, and leads Mr. Carpenter to it. It’s the freight elevator, and nobody is waiting for it. Mr. Carpenter asks Helen to tell him what Bobby told her. He also asks if she believed him. She balks at the question. “I — I didn’t really pay much attention–Bobby has such an active imagination”. She’s is scared. but not of Mr. Carpenter. The freight elevator arrives, and they enter.


As the doors close close Helen asks “What is it you want ?”. Before answering her question Mr. Carpenter decides to take a chance, and be totally honest. “Before I ask you to be honest with me, perhaps I should be completely honest with you—”. Just then the elevator stops moving and gives out a groan. Then the lights fail. Mr. Carpenter asks for the correct time. Helen moves about in the elevator trying to get a tiny beam of sunlight on her watch. “Just turned twelve” . Mr. Carpenter announces with matter-of-fact tone that they’ll stuck there for “thirty of your minutes”. She suggests they try pressing the other buttons. She is told it won’t work. “You see — the electricity’s been neutralized — all over the world. It’s then she realizes something. “Bobby was telling the truth — wasn’t he ?”.

Outside almost all traffic has come to a halt, and horns replace the sound of engines. Hospitals and airplanes are unaffected, but almost every mode of transport that uses electricity has been stopped in its tracks. Police on motorcycles furiously try to start their bikes. Trucks, which were running one second ago, are dead the next. People are milling about wondering what has happened, while theories fly through the air.



A cabbie in Manhattan is seen saying “My ol’ lady was right. We shoulda got a place in the country. A posh London business man wearing a bowler and carrying an umbrella can seen looking at his pocket watch and heard muttering. While in another part of London two cockney men with their hands in their pockets stare at the static traffic. One summons up the courage to declare “It’s that space man — that’s wot it is. Back in Washington at Professor Barnhart’s residence his secretary is far from pleased. “You should see it, Professor Barnhardt! You should go out and see it for yourself!”. The Professor is enjoying the view quite nicely from his study. “What a brilliant idea. I never would have thought of it” he mutters quietly to himself.  Then he asks her “Tell me, does all this frighten you — does it make you feel insecure?”. “Yes, sir — it certainly does!” she replies. The Professor continues to look outside when he says “That’s good, I’m glad. She shoots her boss a dirty look. On a completely different note he asks about who will be attending. What about the people who are coming to the meeting tonight? Have they all arrived?”. She checks her notes and says she’s talked to most of the guests, and that Mr. Klaatu will arrive at 8:30 P.M.


Just because I haven’t mentioned anything of the Army doesn’t mean that doesn’t mean they’ve been sitting on their hands. At an undisclosed meeting Gen. Cutler (the chap in the photo above) and fiends are discussing what to do. “As far as we can tell, all power’s been cut off everywhere — with a few exceptions: hospitals, planes in flight — that sort of thing. I wish I could be more specific but, as you now, all communications are out telephone, radio, cable – everything. I can tell you that the President is prepared to declare a state of national emergency. Before we start discussing plans, I want a report from Colonel Ryder. What about the robot, Colonel?”. The colonel is a rather ordinary looking fellow. His primary purpose is to contain something so the military can proceed to create mayhem. Col. Ryder rises and grabs a small block of ordinary looking plastic.”When it was discovered last night that the robot had moved, I was directed by the Joint Chiefs to find a means of immobilizing him. We accomplished that this morning by encasing him in a block of KL 93. It’s a new plastic material — stronger than steel”. Gort is seemingly frozen inside this substance. General Cutler then makes a chilling decision. “Up till now we’ve agreed on the desirability of capturing this man alive. We can no longer afford to be so particular. We’ll get him alive, if possible — but we must get him!”. Across town the blackout continues. Tom and a jeweler talk about the diamond. Naturally Tom asks about it’s monetary value. “Is it worth anything?”. The jeweler gets the diamond in the sunlight, and examines it. After uttering hmmm and ahhhhh he comes to the conclusion “I have never seen such a stone. There are no diamonds like this — any place in the world”. The jeweler tries to get Tom to sell the diamond with no success.

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The Day The Earth Stood Still–part 6

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Klaatu and Professor Barnhardt agree the “demonstration” should take place at noon the following day. As Klaatu departs the Professor is uneasy, and almost wishes the “demonstration” would not take place.

When Klaatu gets back to the boarding house he finds resumes the character of Mr. Carpenter. Once inside he finds everybody ill at ease. Some people are trying to play cards, Helen Benson, mother of Bobby, is leafing through a magazine. Tom Stephens has asked to marry her so she already has a lot on her mind. Mrs. Crockett almost collides with Mr. Carpenter while passing through the dining room.  He sits beside Helen and tries to ask a question. When words fail him he shakes his hand nervously. Helen supplies the word he’s searching for. “Jittery is the word. She adds “Bobby’s the only person I know who isn’t – Jittery”.


The space man still has not been caught, Gort is still standing by the space ship, and the space ship alone is a rather uncomfortable reminder that all is far from normal in Washington D.C. Helen asks about the gov’t agent, and Mr. Carpenter barely launches into his answer only to have the doorbell ring. Tom Stephens has come to collect Helen. They’re going on another date. Tonight Tom’s in a bad mood, He’s annoyed that Helen isn’t ready and waiting for him, plus he admits to being tired of hearing about “Mr. Carpenter”.


Helen quietly files that little piece of information in her head for future reference. Mr. Carpenter hears Toms complaints, says good evening to Tom, and slips upstairs. Helen quietly admonishes Tom for acidic behavior. Before leaving she goes upstairs to check on Bobby. Mr. Carpenter is helping him with his math homework. When Helen appears she goes into his room and asks that Bobby stop doing his homework and get ready for bed. Bobby sits on the bed, undoes one shoe, and lets it fall to the floor before there’s a knock at the door. It’s Mr. Carpenter with a question. “Bobby — have you a flashlight?”. Bobby goes to get his, and informs Mr. Carpenter “It’s a real Boy Scout flashlight. Not quite sure why anyone would need a flashlight inside a house he asks Mr. Carpenter why he needs it. “Why — the light in my room went out. Thank you, Bobby. Goodnight.”. To Bobby that seemed like a good answer – until he noticed the light in Mr. Carpenter’s room still worked.


Then Mr. Carpenter appeared, and Bobby ducked inside his own room. His mind was on fire with thoughts. Why did Mr. Carpenter lie to me, why is the light is his room still working, and what does he need my real Boy Scout flashlight for ? Before Mr. Carpenter moved he checked that nobody was watching him. Satisfied that nobody was he turned off lights in his room, closed the door, and went downstairs. Quietly Bobby watched as Mr. Carpenter went through the front door. As Mr. Carpenter reached for the door Bobby darted into his room, put the shoe he had taken off back on, and put on his jacket.  Mr. Carpenter was like a man on a mission. looking this way and that, going up and down side streets.  Bobby wanted to know where he was going, but more than anything he wanted his real Boy Scout flashlight back ! Before he knew it he was back at the same park that housed the spaceship and Gort.


Bobby remembered the Army had built some sort of temporary structure for the space ship and Gort. Mr. Carpenter moved quietly towards the wall that had a small window in it. He moved quietly like a cat. When he was in position he used the flashlight to shine light in front of Gort. Using a code Gort knew, was instructed to dispose of the guards. Slowly Gort walked towards the soldiers who watched in bewilderment.


Gort reaches out, grabs them, and violently pushes them together. They aren’t killed, but just knocked out. Seeing this Bobby is terrified, but screws up the courage to follow along the wall to the tiny window.


Not quite believing his own eyes, he watches as Mr. Carpenter speaks to Gort, then enters the space ship. Not quite sure what to do next he runs as fast as his legs will go back to the boarding house in sheer terror and fright.

Mr. Carpenter walks through the ship, eventually arriving at an area covered



with dials, and seemingly ordinary lights. He contacts someone and outlines his plan, yet he does this in language we cannot understand.

Bobby is back at the boarding house. He’s confused, terrified, and angry. A person he thought was his friend has disappointed him in the worst way imaginable. His mother Helen, and Tom return from their date. Helen is more than surprised to discover her son still up, sitting in a chair, with a foul look on his face.


Bobby–! What are you doing up at this hour?”. Bobby proceeds to tell his mother just what has transpired. Helen thinks her son has been dreaming of the space man, the space ship, and Gort. “I like Mr. Carpenter — but I’m scared, Mom”.

Mustn’t be frightened, darling — It was just a bad dream. Here – we’ll prove it to you”. Surprised at his degree of insistence she asks Tom Stephens to go upstairs to fetch Mr. Carpenter. She tries her best to convince her son it was all a bad dream. Bobby is very disappointed with Mr. Carpenter, and now his mother is making a truly horrifying night a great deal worse. He gives her a really dirty look than says “I’d never call you a liar. While Helen tries to push the “bad dream” theory Tom does some unauthorized snooping. He knocks softly at Mr. Carpenter’s door. Getting no answer, he tries the door, pushes it open and peers in. Then he steps into the darkened room. Tom snaps on the light and looks around the empty room. Glancing around, Tom’s eye is caught by a flash of something bright on the floor below the dresser. He stoops down and picks up a fair-sized diamond. He studies the stone curiously from various angles, and holds it up to the light. Thoroughly puzzled, he keeps the stone in his hand, switches off the light and goes out. Like any good Retriever he goes back down stairs to show off his discovery. “He’s not there. But look what I found in his room”. Helen asks if it’s real. Tom’s expression says he doesn’t have a clue. Then Bobby pipes up that Mr. Carpenter has a lot of diamonds, then digs into his pocket to show them two more. Tom offers up the simplest theory available. “I think he’s a crook”. Not knowing what to believe Helen has Bobby sleep in her room. As Bobby starts up the stairs she notices his shoes are soaked. Bobby has the last laugh. “Yeah — the grass was kind of wet.

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The Day The Earth Stood Still–Part 5

Any text in brown comes from

After the visit to the Professors their next stop was one of some reverence. The next stop was Arlington National Cemetery. Mr. Carpenter was astonished to see so many graves, and saddened that there were so many crosses. He asks Bobby “Did all these people die in wars?”. When Bobby answers it’s apparent that most did die in some sort of military conflict. Mr. Carpenter is saddened that Bobby will have to grow up without his father. On to cheerier matters, Mr. Carpenter announces he would like to take Bobby to the movies. “Do you have to have money to go there?”. For a while Bobby wonders if Mr. Carpenter has any money. “My mother gave me two dollars”. Mr. Carpenter pulls what look like diamonds out of his pocket. Bobby gawks at them in disbelief. “Some places that’s what people use for money. They’re easy to carry — and they don’t wear out”. They agree to trade the diamonds for the two dollars.


Bobby suggests not telling his mother about this little transaction. “She doesn’t like me to steal from people”. When Bobby gets up from the park bench they’d being sitting on he comes to the conclusion that he got the better deal.

Mr. Carpenters prediction came true. The request of Professor Barnhardt to see Mr. Carpenter came in the form of a burly gov’t agent appearing at the front door that very evening to collect Mr. Carpenter, and to take him to the residence of the Professor. Even though the Professors secretary told him that a small boy had been in his study, and Bobby answered the door when the gov’t agent arrived, the “invitation” was for Mr. Carpenter only.


The actor playing the gov’t agent is given some of the most used, almost stereotypical dialog in the entire film.  “Mr. Carpenter come home yet?”,Tell him I’d like to see him”, “Your name Carpenter?”, and my personal favorite “I been looking for you all afternoon”. How many times have you heard some celluloid detective say these words or variations of them ? Probably too many. Well back to the movie…Mr. Carpenter is handed over to the military police, who in turn deliver him to Professor Barnhardt. An MP deposits Mr. Carpenter in the custody of Professor Barnhardt. The professor points to the blackboard and asks “You wrote this?”. Mr. Carpenter takes a deep breath and says “It was a clumsy way to introduce myself — but I understand you’re a difficult man to see. I thought you’d have the solution by this time. All you have to do now is substitute this expression at this point. The Professor nods his head in agreement, then asks about the other expressions. He also asks if he has tested this theory. Mr. Carpenter takes a gigantic leap of faith by saying what he does next.”I find it works well enough to get me from one planet to another.


The Professor stares at him with awe. “My name is Klaatu. I spent two days at your Walter Reed Hospital. Room 309. My doctor’s name was Major White. If you are not interested – or if you intend to turn me over to your Army — we needn’t waste any more time”. The Professor, now convinced of Klaatu’s credentials, thanks the MP still in the hall, and tells him that he knows Klaatu. He moves to the comfort of the chair behind his desk. Klaatu thanks the Professor for his faith in him. “It isn’t faith that makes good science, Mr. Klaatu. Its curiosity. Sit down, please. I have several thousand questions to ask you. Klaatu pretends he didn’t hear the offer to sit down. “I would like to explain something of my mission here”. The Professor is thoroughly engrossed in what Klaatu has to say, and simply nods in agreement. The Professor is like a child who has found the door to the candy store unattended. Klaatu continues on. “We know from scientific observation that you have discovered a rudimentary kind of atomic energy. We also know that you are experimenting with rockets”. The Professor agrees thus far. “So long as you were limited to fighting among yourselves – with your primitive tanks and planes — we were unconcerned. But soon you will apply atomic energy to space ships — and then you become a threat to the peace and security of other planets. That, of course, we cannot tolerate”. The Professor thanks Klaatu for the history lesson, and asks  Klaatu for the real purpose for his journey to Earth. “I came here to warn you that, by threatening danger, your planet faces danger — very grave danger. I am prepared, however, to offer a solution. The Professor suggests a meeting encompassing the greatest minds on Earth, “Educators — philosophers — church leaders — men of vision and imagination”. He suggests this particular people because “It is not enough to have men of science. We scientists are too easily ignored — or misunderstood”. He asks what would happen should this group reject the offer. “I’m afraid you have no alternative. In such a case the planet Earth would have to be-–eliminated.


Professor Barnhardt suggests a small demonstration might be used. Klaatu responds to leave the matter with him. He’ll think of something. The Professor emphasises the demonstration be dramatic, and not destructive. What he doesn’t say is that he’s very uneasy about what Klaatu will plan.

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The Day The Earth Stood Still–Part 4

Any text in brown comes from

The Tour

Just watching this segment was tiring. Bobby has so much pent up energy. That kid is really something. It’s also in this segment that we encounter one the first instances of product placement. You will notice Bobby’s hat has the logo of the New York Yankees (I think that’s the team). Also you’ll notice people all over Washington D.C. are drinking Coca-Cola. And if they aren’t drinking it you’ll see signs displaying the word “Coca-Cola”.



One thing you should know is that the actors Billy Gray and Michael Rennie never left the state of California. The city of Washington D.C. was filmed in part on the 20th Century external sound stages and on its studio back lot (now located in Century City California). A second unit did go to Washington to shoot background scenes. Film of the actors in the studio and of the Lincoln Memorial, and Arlington National Cemetery were blended together to create the effect they were in Washington.

Bobby takes Mr. Carpenter on a tour of the city that would make a tour guide blush. First stop was the Lincoln Memorial. Tourists are walking about as Mr. Carpenter reads the words of the Gettysburg Address. When Mr. Carpenter says “those were great words, spoken by a great man” Bobby looks at him like he had just heard of Abraham Lincoln. To add to Bobby’s confusion Mr. Carpenter says “That’s the kind of man I’d like to talk to”.


While Bobby is busy demolishing an ice cream cone Mr. Carpenter asks him some very important questions. When he asks who is the greatest man in America is Bobby responds “Gee — I don’t know… The space man, I guess”. The man from outer space smiles, then he rephrases the question. “I was speaking of earth men. I meant the greatest philosopher – the greatest thinker” Bobby still isn’t sure what Mr. Carpenter means. So he asks him “You mean the smartest man in the whole world?”. Mr. Carpenter knows he is finally near answer he seeks.”Well — Professor Barnhardt, I guess. He’s the greatest scientist in the world”. After a little more probing Mr. Carpenter learns Professor Barnhardt lives nearby, near where Bobby’s mother works. But the next stop on the agenda is the spaceship, and Bobby can barely contain himself.

Army engineers have erected a temporary structure to house Gort and the space ship. Mr. Carpenter can barely contain his amusement. Bobby is fascinated by Gort. “Boy, I’ll bet he’s strong. I bet he could knock down a whole building”. There is mild agreement from Mr. Carpenter, and amusement at the fact that the army hasn’t figured that out. Bobby turns his attention to the ship. He asks about its method of propulsion. Mr. Carpenter hazards a guess making sure it sounds like he’s not sure. Bobby wonders about its speed. Mr. Carpenter lowers his voice when he notices two men listening intently, and slowly getting closer. Mr. Carpenter loosely opens the subject of celestial mechanics when he notices the two men have come closer still. He stops talking altogether and glowers at the two men.Keep goin’, Mister. He was fallin’ for it” they say. Irritated Mr. Carpenter take Bobby’s hand and leads him away from the two men who are now laughing out loud. As they walk away newspaper boys hawk the latest edition by shouting out the headlines. Army put in charge!”. “Space man still at large!” In a few moments its a mob scene as people clamour to get the very latest edition. Bobby wonders aloud if anybody will ever catch the space man. Mr. Carpenter can’t help but offer his opinion. “I don’t know, Bobby. I’m inclined to doubt it”.

As they walk away Bobby asks a question related to one of Mr. Carpenters earlier answers. “Mr. Carpenter — what does velocity mean?”. The answer goes so far over Bobby’s head his eyes glaze over. Then he remarks “I’ll bet that’s the way Professor Barnhardt talks”. Mr. Carpenter then suggests that Bobby and he pay Professor Barnhardt a visit. Bobby pays Mr. Carpenter the ultimate compliment. “I like you, Mr. Carpenter. You’re a real screwball”.Image0011

When they arrive at Professor Barnhart’s house they walk right up to the front door and ring the doorbell. When nobody answers Bobby goes to the window and looks in. In an important looking room the is a blackboard with all sorts of equations on it. Bobby hasn’t a clue what its all about, but Mr. Carpenter says it’s a problem in celestial mechanics. He adds that he won’t solve it that way.Image0012

Bobby moves to another window for a better vantage point. Bobby comes to the conclusion that he wouldn’t have been able to see the Professor even if he was home. Dejected he turns away from the house and the locked French doors they’d been peering through. “If he’s that difficult to see, perhaps we ought to leave a calling card”says Mr. Carpenter. Bobby turns around and finds the French doors, which were locked, now open. Mr. Carpenter holds a piece of chalk and leaves large checkmarks on the board. Bobby then watches Mr. Carpenter write an equation just as mysterious as all the others. When the Professors secretary returns, she finds a tall man with a small boy in the Professors study. She announces herself by firing questions at the two at an almost break neck pace. “What are you doing in here? How dare you write on that blackboard! Don’t you realize the Professor has been working on that problem for weeks?”. Mr. Carpenter says that he and the boy simply came to visit the Professor. He points to the blackboard, and adds the Professor will soon have the solution. He write his name on a scrap of paper and hands to the secretary. “You might want to keep this.I think the professor will want to get in touch with me”. The secretary looks at the blackboard, and debates whether she should erase what the stranger has written. She picks up the eraser, glares at the blackboard, when Mr. Carpenter suddenly says “I wouldn’t erase that. The Professor needs it very badly”. He points at the blackboard.

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The Day The Earth Stood Still–Part 3

Any text in brown comes from

The Plot (Continued)

A couple of days pass, and Mr. Harley (with his ever present briefcase) return. And the news is not good. Country A will attend but only if the meeting is held in country B. Country B will not attend unless the meeting is held in country C. And country D will not attend unless the meeting is held in country A. Klaatu is annoyed and angered at the child like behavior being displayed, and astounded their very existence would take a back seat to their petty bickering. Mr. Harley make one more pitch for his president. “Now that you understand the situation more clearly, perhaps you’d like to discuss the matter with the President”. Klaatu still refuses to speak with the leader of any one nation. And to a certain degree he loses his temper. “I am impatient with stupidity. My people have learned to live without it”. Mr. Harley verbally wishes his people could do the same.

Image0003    Image0004

Klaatu moves to the window, looks the people below, and begins to really wonder if all the people on Earth are really so narrow minded. In a last ditch attempt to get his message across Klaatu makes a request of Mr. Harley. “Before making any decisions, I think I should get out among your people — become familiar with the basis for these strange, unreasoning attitudes”. Mr. Harley balks at that idea. “Under the circumstances I’m afraid that will be impossible. I must ask that you don’t attempt to leave the hospital. Our military people have insisted on this. I’m sure you’ll understand”. After Mr. Harley departs Klaatu shakes his head in wonder at the level of stupidity of this planet. He chuckles as he hears his door being locked.

A few hours later a  nurse delivering medication and a military policeman stand outside the room where Klaatu is. The MP tries to unlock the door, but finds it already unlocked.  He the and the nurse rush in. The bed is unmade and the room is empty. Klaatu has vanished. It isn’t long before word leaks to the press. Banner headlines about his “escape” are on newspapers all over Washington.


Radio announcers chatter wildly warning people of the escape. Mothers corral their kids, and usher them off the street. Commuter trains are stopped and searched.

At night we see a very ordinary looking man carrying a suitcase walking on the sidewalk. It isn’t long before before we see it’s Klaatu. As he passes the houses we hear radio and television reports about the escape, and about the alien. One report has him at eight feet tall. Another is a report of sightings in Chicago, Florida, and Des Moines. Another is drowned out by the sound of very nervous people chattering. He stops to observe sometime, and notices his coat has a tag on it that identifies its true owner. He tears the tag from the jacket and disposes of it


He notices one of the houses has a small sign in the window that says “room for rent”. He approaches the house now using the name “Mr. Carpenter”. A number of people are huddled around a television set. They are too engrossed in TV reports to notice him. He stands in the hallway waiting to see the owner of the house.


All of a sudden one the people who has been watching the TV report turns it off.  A woman, a Mrs. Crockett, and owner of the boarding house, complains that all the reports and tension are driving her crazy. Another person – a young boy, notices a stranger standing in the hallway. Klaatu, now going by the name of Mr. Carpenter, says he’s looking for a room to rent. Mrs. Crockett finds everything in order, and introduces Mr. Carpenter to the rest of the house guests. Mr.Carpenter is introduced to to everybody, and after the appropriate hellos and shaking of hands Mrs. Crockett is satisfied Mr. Carpenter will make a fine addition to the house. Of the people Mr. Carpenter meets that evening he will have the most interaction with Helen Benson (played by Patricia Neal) and her son Bobby (played by Billy Gray). Bobby starts peppering Mr. Carpenter with questions. He’s a bit excited by al the “space man” news and his mother sends him to bed.

The next morning everyone in the boarding house communes around the breakfast table. Mrs. Barley, a heavy set no nonsense woman, is plowing through the paper when she happens upon a cartoon in the paper.


She is far from amused. The radio is reporting, but does not report fact. It’s reporting pure conjecture. Where is the space man, why is he here. One theory is that he’s hiding out in the sewers which displeases and annoys Mr. Carpenter. Only Helen Benson offers any opinion of any importance. “This space man — or whatever he is. We automatically assume he’s a menace… Maybe he isn’t at all. After all, he was shot the moment he landed here. I was just wondering what I would do”. Mr. Carpenter makes a comment of his own which leads to some hilarity. “Perhaps before deciding on a course of action, you’d want to know more about the people here — to orient yourself in a strange environment”. Mrs. Barley crows sharply “There’s nothing strange about Washington, Mr. Carpenter”. Mr. Carpenter counters with “A person from another planet might disagree with you”. A small degree of tension is relieved, and for just a small moment thought are not on the space man.

Mrs. Crockett, who left the kitchen a few minutes earlier returns, and tells Helen Benson, that Tom Stephens is waiting for her in the hall. Tom Stephens sells insurance, and is fond of Helen and Bobby. Helen and Tom had planned to picnic together but admits to Tom he hasn’t got a sitter for him. Tom’s smile all but disappears. Then Mr. Carpenter volunteers to look after Bobby. Tom is all smiles again. Mr. Carpenter adds “Bobby and I had a fine time yesterday afternoon. We talked — and listened to the radio. I thought today he might show me around the city”. Helen is surprised, but given his optimistic attitude at breakfast, gives her consent. Mr. Carpenter suggests they ask Bobby what he thinks.  Helens likes Mr. Carpenter a bit more because he wanted to include Bobby in the conversation.

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