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 5

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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

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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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