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The Day the Earth Stood Still
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Cast:Robert Wise, Michael Rennie, Patricia Neal, Hugh Marlowe

"Klaatu, Barada, Nikto." This phrase rings bells for all fans of American science fiction, as it is so crucial to salvation in the 1951 classic The Day the Earth Stood Still. A landmark in 20th-century sci-fi, the film follows an alien named Klaatu (Michael Rennie) who travels millions of miles to earth to deliver a message of universal peace. Paranoia breeds irony, however, and the ignorant humans are so frightened by the alien that they aim to capture him, that is until Klaatu arranges for a worldwide shutdown of electricity, or a "stand still." Costarring Sam Jaffe (Ben-Hur) and Patricia Neal (Hud) as Klaatu's benevolent human conspirators, the film benefits from intelligent direction by Oscar-winner Robert Wise (The Sound of Music), who helped to establish the social mores of '50s sci-fi -- atomic consciousness, cold war anxiety, and theremin music. The Day is still a thoroughly influential film 50 years later, and prime evidence is Sam Rami's Army of Darkness, which features Bruce Campbell's hilarious send-up, "Klaatu, Barada, Nikkhuharshenhar." Greg Kalleres

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