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The Day the Earth Stood Still

(The Day the Earth Stood Still)

April 26, 2005

Pretty good film on its own, but SF fans who do not know the novella on which it is based are missing out on one of the greatest stories ever written in the genre: Harry Bates' "Farewell to the Master." The story and the film both start with the premise that a spaceship lands and its human-looking pilot or passenger is almost immediately shot down...and there is a robot. After that, the film completely diverges from Bates' story, whose ending (which I will NOT divulge) is nothing less than electrifying. As for the film, it has some nice touches, generally good acting by some fine actors, and good production values. Best moment for me: Michael Rennie, as the alien, meeting Samuel Jaffe, as Earth's Great Scientist. Worst moment: The Alien's pious reference to Universal Spirit having the ultimate power of life and death, as a sop offered to avoid offending those who would be incensed at the idea that the aliens' superior technology could resurrect the dead. An annoying but forgiveable lapse in an otherwise good film. It's not Bates' story, but it's good.

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