Live Chat: The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)

Recently the live chat movie night has been reborn. Several movies have been watched and commented on. One recent one was the classic 1951 film “The Day the Earth Stood Still.”

Previous Live Chats were Star Trek TOS: Space Seed and Star Trek TOS: And the Children Shall Lead.

IMDB description.

An alien lands and tells the people of Earth that they must live peacefully or be destroyed as a danger to other planets.

tdtess01

Opening title scene.

Richard: Surely if the Earth stood still, we’d all go flying off?

Ixrec: Only if it was sudden. The real problem is that we’d lose the magnetic field generated by the rotation.
Jack B Nimble: This movie was filmed on location, on Earth.

tdtess02

The Army detects a UFO “It’s traveling at 4,000 miles an hour!”

Richard: Wow, tiny counters moving on a board. Slow down, movie.
Wad Cheber: Nice shorts.

tdtess02.5

Radio broadcasts from all over the world report the strange object in the sky

Richard: I remember this bit. This is where they blow up the ships over the White House.
Wad Cheber: The French have already surrendered to the flying saucer.
Richard: Signs of normalcy. Clearly he’s never been to America.
Wad Cheber: People in the 50’s were silly. Why wear a suit on the radio?

tdtess03

The flying saucer enters Washington D.C. airspace

Ixrec: Looks exactly like when I was last in Washington. Except half the men are in uniform.
Jack B Nimble: Destroys Washington Monument in 3..2..1
Ixrec: It’s a glowing Frisbee!
Richard: Run!
Wad Cheber: Damn those people run fast.

tdtess04

The flying saucer lands in a baseball field

Richard: Couldn’t fit on the White House lawn?
Ixrec: It does look a bit big for that lawn.
Wad Cheber: I come in peace to play baseball.
Richard: You’ll need some steroids. I can hook you up.
Ixrec: I’m sure Gort would be a great left fielder.

tdtess05

The military is deployed to the landing site

Jack B Nimble: I didn’t realize you could drift with a tank.
Ixrec: Oh there are loads of tanks that can drift.
Wad Cheber: Treads are awesome

tdtess06

Radio broadcaster reports the spacecraft has landed.

Richard: Who wears a hat on the radio television?
Jack B Nimble: It is important to look professional, even if you aren’t seen.
Wad Cheber: I’m wearing a fedora on the radio for no apparent reason.

tdtess07

An humanoid emerges from the spacecraft.

Richard: Something is happening!
Ixrec: I’m curious what the guy inside is thinking
Ixrec: Surely it doesn’t take two hours to power down enough to make opening the door safe.
Richard: It’s called “making an entrance”, darling. You wouldn’t understand.

tdtess08

The alien approaches the crowd and displays some kind of object in his hand. A soldier loses his nerve and fires his weapon.

Richard: Look out. He’s got a rampant rabbit!
Jack B Nimble: That Lt. just got a promotion. First one to bag an alien!
Wad Cheber: Shot after 20 seconds on the planet.
Richard: Welcome to ‘Murica.
Ixrec:Ok I can kind of understand why that device would provoke a shot.

tdtess09

A large robot emerges from the spacecraft and begins disintegrating the soldier’s weapons.

Jack B Nimble: Cylon.

Richard: Laser. Laser! Laser!! We get it.
Ixrec: That is an awesome laser. It only vaporizes melts weapons.

tdtess10

Recovering in a hospital, the alien meets a government official named Harley. The alien introduces himself as “Klaatu.” He says the object he was carrying was a gift for the President. Too bad it was ruined.

Wad Cheber: My name is Harley. I’m a douchebag.
Richard: Nice hat. Just Klaatu.
Wad Cheber: Did he just say 250 million miles?
Jack B Nimble: He said “250 million of your miles” It is possible Harley has his own miles.
Wad Cheber: That’s not even as far as Jupiter.

tdtess11

Klaatu requests a meeting with all the world leaders. Not just some of them as Harley suggests.

Richard: Frank with you Mr. klaatu.
Wad Cheber: Klatuu’s sling is terrible.
Wad Cheber: Seriously, what kind of hospital made that sling?
Wad Cheber: Is it made from bed sheets?
Jack B Nimble: Aliens don’t warrant the best doctors.
Richard: I think it’s a makeshift sling.

tdtess12

Meanwhile, back at the spaceship, the military is attempting to gain entry to the flying saucer.

Richard: Blowtorch guy is clearly crap at his job. How can you cut with a flame that big?
Wad Cheber: “Let’s sell the flying saucer for scrap!”
Ixrec: I’m amazed Torchwood hasn’t shown up and taken the saucer away
Wad Cheber: Everyone smoked. Everyone was cool.

tdtess12.5

After spending a day in the hospital, Klaatu is completely recovered from his gunshot wound.

Wad Cheber: “His body is normal, except he’s missing all the vitamins and minerals provided by Lucky Strike filterless cigarettes.”
Ixrec: Gasp, he has a healing factor!
Ixrec: Gort should really vaporize everyone’s cigarettes, they do as much harm as any gun.
Wad Cheber: Smoking in hospitals ftw. Now Klaatu is a monk.
Richard: Where the hell is SHIELD in all this?
Jack B Nimble: He’s just an undocumented Canadian.

tdtess14

Harley returns to tell Klaatu that a number of nations refused the invitation to meet him on US soil. Klaatu states “I’m impatient with stupidity. My people have learned to live without it.”

Richard: Oh look, it’s Harley again. Stand by for non-stop action.

Wad Cheber: Michael Rennie has phenomenal cheekbones.
Jack B Nimble: He’s an alien, makes sense.
Ixrec: That feels like something I should try to work into a conversation one day.
Jack B Nimble: And yet, they sent him to Earth…

tdtess13

Klaatu takes some clothes and vanishes from the hospital.

Richard: He’s gone! What an amazing surprise!
Wad Cheber: That kind of stuff would be likely to get you blacklisted.
Jack B Nimble: That man from the spaceship? Come on, he has a name!
Jack B Nimble: I suspect the guy with the case, something about him says “alien”
Wad Cheber: Major Carpenter is gonna be pissed when he finds out Klaatu stole his threads.
Richard: And his identity

tdtess17.5

Klaatu enters a Bed & Breakfast and assumes the name Mr. Carpenter.

Jack B Nimble: Klaatu is a home invader.
Wad Cheber:“I’m Kla— I mean, I’m some guy who isn’t an alien”
Richard: An illegal alien who commits petty theft and identity fraud. He’ll fit right in.

Ixrec: Hopefully he took off the laundry tag at some point.
Wad Cheber: Bobby is an [obscenity]. That is NOT a New England accent.
Ixrec: A “terror” seems like an overstatement for a weapon that very precisely only harms other weapons.

tdtess19

Klaatu asks if Bobby can show him around town.

Richard: Hey, why not give your child to a complete stranger?
Ixrec: And eerily slow talking 50’s guy who is totally not an alien.
Wad Cheber: “Give me your human earth child– I mean, your child.” Bobby is a dork.
Richard: Say, Bobby. Have you even been to a Turkish sauna?

tdtess20

Klaatu trades two diamonds for $2 from Bobby

Jack B Nimble: For being intolerant of stupidity Mr. Carpenter sure is dumb.
Ixrec: Has he actually done anything “dumb”? he just seems baffled by our dumbness.
Jack B Nimble: He traded two diamonds for $2.
Richard: In the great American tradition.
Wad Cheber: $2 in 1951 = $50 billion today
Ixrec: Ok I guess the diamond thing could be dumb. It had to happen right after I typed that.
Jack B Nimble: Probably alien blood diamonds.

tdtess21

Klaatu and Bobby visit Lincoln’s memorial. Klaatu says he’d like to meet a man like Lincoln.

Wad Cheber: Who is this ugly giant, Bobby? That’s the kind of man I’d like to talk to. A hideous giant made of stone.

tdtess22

Klaatu and Bobby arrive at the site of the spaceship.

Ixrec: it looks like they’re building a carnival around the saucer
Jack B Nimble: World’s Fair
Wad Cheber: I bet you should shut the hell up, Bobby.
Richard: I’m at a loss why they don’t cover it in concrete.
Wad Cheber: Why is Bobby a Yankees fan?

tdtess23

A report asks Klaatu what he thinks of the alien. When he replies, the reporter wanders off.

Wad Cheber: “I’m the only TV person who dresses like a janitor”
Ixrec: “your opinion is weird, we’re not interested”
Jack B Nimble: “Yeah, we don’t want real opinions Mr. Carpenter, just fear mongering, thank you.”
Richard: Let’s go talk to a scientist. That’ll help.
Ixrec: “Screwball” does seem like the most accurate description of Carpenter right now.

tdtess24

Klaatu goes to the house of a prominent scientist and sees a complicated equation on the wall.

Jack B Nimble: At least he earned 3 checkmarks.
Wad Cheber: “I’m going to rob this [person], Bobby”
Ixrec: “I opened the unlocked door-sized window, that’s how I got in”
Richard: I think you’ll find that a ground-level door sized window is, in fact, a door.

tdtess25

A woman interrupts Klaatu adjusting the equation. Klaatu leaves a note for the scientist.

Wad Cheber: “I’m Ms. Fussybritches, and I want you to leave!”
Jack B Nimble: “I used science”

tdtess26

Mrs. Benson and her gentleman friend sit in car. As she leaves to enter the house he proposes to her. She says she has to think about it.

Richard: My god. This film has everything. Smouldering passion too!
Wad Cheber: Cars were so beautiful back then.
Jack B Nimble: Her parents are already telling her “if you don’t accept this proposal another might not be coming”
Richard: She’s “courting”. After dark. In a parked car.

tdtess27

Klaatu meets with the scientist and explains his issues with the government officials. He says he has to do something dramatic to get Earth’s attention. He asks for the scientist to gather a diverse group at his spaceship the next day.

Richard: [Hostility towards], Bobby.
Richard: We’re an intergalactic menace. That’s actually kinda cool.
Jack B Nimble: Sinking the Rock of Gibraltar seems pretty random.
Richard: What the hell did Gibraltar ever do to him?
Jack B Nimble: It was BORN!!!
Richard: You might be a threat to interplanetary peace so we might have to destroy your planet

Jack B Nimble: I’m going to carve my face on Mt. Rushmore.
Ixrec: I like how he suggests levelling New York in a “would that get your attention?” way.

tdtess28

Back at the B&B, Mrs. Benson expresses concern about Bobby’s enthusiasm over Mr. Carpenter.

Ixrec: The alien likes our music boxes.
Richard: Bobby, I think your relationship with Mr Carpenter is deeply unhealthy. Show me on the doll…
Ixrec: “I don’t like the way he’s attached himself” makes me think of very different aliens.
Wad Cheber: Mom is wearing the ugliest shirt ever.
Ixrec: I like how mathematical notation is identical on all planets or he learned our notation via radio, somehow.

tdtess29

Klaatu borrows a flashlight from Bobby, claiming the light is out in his room (spoiler alert, it isn’t). Klaatu tells Bobby maybe he’ll tell him about a train that doesn’t require tracks in the morning.

Richard: Nice train set.
Wad Cheber: Worst train set ever. A train that doesn’t need tracks = a car.
Ixrec: I guess he could be referring to a maglev or something.

tdtess30

Klaatu tries to sneak away from the B&B. Bobby follows him.

Richard: Klatu is off to cleanse the streets

tdtess31

Klaatu returns to his ship. He sees that it is guarded. He uses the flashlight he got from Bobby to signal Gort (the robot).

Richard: Bizarrely, there are no crowds near the spaceship. When in reality, there would be a million people there.
Ixrec: I’m sure the crowds would subside every so often, it has been doing nothing for several days now
Wad Cheber: My spaceship…I miss you.
Richard: I’m reasonably sure there would be millions of people there to have a look. Maybe after a few months/years you might find the occasional quiet moment.
Ixrec: Then again the military has the whole thing walled off. Not that those walls would do anything.

tdtess32

Gort takes out the guards

Wad Cheber: Klaatu is screwing with Gort.
Richard: Bobby just watching as Gort kills the guards. What a jackass.
Wad Cheber: Vulcan nerve pinch
Richard: They ded. So ded

tdtess33

With the guards incapacitated, Klaatu returns to the ship. Bobby is horror struck by what he has seen.

Richard: What is thy bidding, my Master.
Wad Cheber: “I’m sick of taking orders from you, Klaatu. I’m the killer robot, and I’m in charge now. You merenga me for a change.”
Ixrec: Why cut out the part where Gort KO’s them? it’s not that hard to film a vulcan neck pinch.

tdtess34

Klaatu dictates some message into a device on his ship.

Richard: Mission report: All the people on Earth are jerks, apart from one small boy.
Richard: His name is Bobby and I’ll preserve him in aspic for the journey home.
Ixrec: Oooh, motion controls, and more responsive than the Kinect.
Wad Cheber: Are you boys cooking in there? “No” Are you building an interocetor? “NO!”

tdtess35

Mrs. Benson’s gentleman caller finds a diamond in Klaatu’s room

Richard: Ooh. A diamond. Shiny
Wad Cheber: Honey, look at this diamond I just stole from Carpenter’s room. Marry me!
Richard: She’s pregnant. She’ll have to marry him.

tdtess36

Bobby tries to tell his mother that Klaatu is the alien.

Ixrec: “Everything you say is wrong because you’re Bobby, I don’t care how plot-relevant it is”
Wad Cheber:“The diamond I just stole makes me think that Carpenter is a crook!” Mrs? Your husband is dead, you liar!
Wad Cheber: “I didn’t pay much attention. Bobby is such an [obscenity].”

tdtess37

Klaatu meets Mrs. Benson at her office. As they enter the elevator Klaatu’s ship shuts off eletricity for 30 minutes across the world. Klaatu tells Mrs. Benson who he really is.

Richard: Hmm. About 10 million people just died.
Wad Cheber: Klaatu is smarter than that.
Richard: If he’s turned off the electricity then every plane in the world just fell out of the sky
millions of car accidents.
Richard: Oh, Hospitals and planes were exempted
Richard: State of national emergency
Ixrec: So, if he has the power to do this, how are atomic missiles a threat to his people?

tdtess38

Mrs. Benson attempts to get in contact with her gentleman friend to tell him about Klaatu.

Ixrec: “Call the phone company” wow, I thought no one made that kind of mistake until we had ISPs with support websites
Wad Cheber: Why was she sitting in the dark? Are operators unworthy of light?

tdtess39

Mrs. Benson finds her beau and tells him about Klaatu. He insists on alerting the military so he can be famous.

Richard: Silence woman, men are speaking
Wad Cheber: “How do you know?” “I had sex with him in an elevator”
Wad Cheber: “I don’t care about the rest of the world”. Best line ever.

tdtess40

The military mobilizes to find Klaatu

Wad Cheber: “According to Plan B” So, trapping an alien in the downtown Washington DC area is literally the second plan they made?
Wad Cheber: “ATTENTION ZONE 5, A LITTLE BOY SAYS WE SHOULD DO WHAT HE SAYS”

tdtess41

The institute “Plan B” which is to barricade D.C. so that the “space man” can’t escape.

Ixrec: Good thing this is the 50’s, they’d have found him in no time with today’s technology.
Richard: Thrill as we watch stock footage of cars.

tdtess42

Klaatu attempts to flee in a cab with Mrs. Benson. He figures he might be caught so he tells her if Gort goes “Crazy Eddie” to give him the command “Klaatu barada nikto.”

Richard: Klaatu barada nikto = “Avenge my death!”
Wad Cheber: “I’m worried about Gort. He’s been so homesick lately”
Wad Cheber: “Klaatu Barada Nikto”. The most iconic line in science fiction history.

tdtess43

Klaatu is cornered and he flees his cab…and is subsequently shot. He is pronounced dead at the police station.

Wad Cheber: “All vehicles close in on the indestructible robot overlord”
Wad Cheber: Three days on earth and already shot twice.

tdtess44

Gort escapes the plastic containment and attacks some guards. Mrs. Benson ceases his mad rampage with the magic phrase. Gort grabs her and takes her into the spaceship.

Richard: He’s quite clearly going to laser you. See? Morons.
Ixrec: Oh yes, walk up to the robot as he melts his super-plastic cage.
Richard: Klaatu barada nikto unfortunately means “kidnap this woman”
Wad Cheber: Apparently the actor who played Gort was suffering from giantism and had trouble trying to pick up Patricia Neal and Michael Rennie. They had to set up a crane behind him to bear the weight.

tdtess45

Gort leaves Mrs. Benson in the ship and goes to retrieve Klaatu’s body from the police station. “I’m a friend of Mr. Klaatu, can I see him please?”

Wad Cheber: She is now what Klatuu’s people refer to as a “Robot Bride.” Soon she will birth a brood of Gortlings.
Wad Cheber: Why are there chairs set up around the flying saucer?
Wad Cheber: The effects on the saucer door are pretty cool.

tdtess46

Gort returns Klaatu to the ship and places him in a special bed. Klaatu is revived in his ship.

Wad Cheber: “What happened? Are my cheekbones alright?”
Wad Cheber: The almighty spirit = Bobby

tdtess47

Klaatu gives the gathered scientific dignitaries a speech about how the other planets will not allow Earth to let their violence spread to other planets. The robots like Gort were designed to destroy people who would wage war against the stars.

Richard: I came here to give you these facts. But instead you kept shooting me.
Jack B Nimble: You’ll notice my murder bot is just behind me. That is because I’m tired of being shot.
Wad Cheber: Best speech in science fiction history.
Jack B Nimble: These robots are basically Manhunters from Oa.
Wad Cheber: And the “forced choice” is “don’t try to kill us or Gort will vaporize you”
“Now get the hell away from my spaceship, you jerks!”

tdtess48

Klaatu and Gort enter the ship and it leaves the planet.

Jack B Nimble: And the crowd scatters as Klaatu’s ship spewes radition everywhere during take off.
Wad Cheber: We literally shot him 20 seconds after he arrived.
Richard: He had a weird thingie
Wad Cheber: The only thing he had said was “I come in peace”
Richard: Shoot to kill!

tdtess49

“The End”

Jack B Nimble: And…the credits roll, leaving Earth to wonder when those murder bots are going to return to destroy them.

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