Sunday, June 06, 2010

Science Fiction Double Feature

I saw the original "Day the Earth Stood Still" and "It Came From Outer Space" last night at the Stanford Theater. I wasn't planning to go as I have little money at the moment, but was convinced and treated.

Anyway, the two films kind of typify what was good and what was bad about 50s sci-fi (or sci-fi in general). "Earth" is a strong story with generally excellent acting about an alien warning us to mend our war-like ways. It is probably the best science fiction picture of all time. For those who think "Star Wars" or "Star Trek" is, then you don't really know what sci-fi is all about.

"Earth" would have been a good entry for a "Twilight Zone", had it existed back in 1951, and that's my point of what good sci-fi is, a strong intelligent story that makes you think.

So since "Earth" comes across as strong, anything else is bound to be a disappointment. "Space" really tries, but it suffers from some corny dialogue and acting and too many shots of a guy in a rubber suit. It's still a very good film, despite all this, but comes up short especially in comparison to the former film. The story was written by Ray Bradbury.

"Space" would have been a good entry for "The Outer Limits", had it existed back in 1953, so you can tell the difference if you know the difference between those two TV shows.

The funnest part about both films is playing "Spot the future TV Star". "Earth" has Frances Bavier (Aunt Bee from "The Andy Griffith Show") and "Space" has Russell Johnson (Professor from "Gilligan's Island").

Ringo Starr loves "Earth" because he adapted it for the cover of his "Goodnight Vienna" album and the music video for the song "Only You" from the same album. Starr actually used the image above and pasted his head over Klaatu's on the album cover.


Joe Torcivia said...


If “The Day the Earth Stood Still” isn’t the best sci-fi movie of all time, then “Forbidden Planet” is. 1 and 1A, as they say! Both influenced sci-fi TV for many years!

Did you notice that much of Bernard Herrmann’s score for “The Day the Earth Stood Still” was periodically reused in LOST IN SPACE and VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA!

So much so, it was even mentioned on one of the commentaries on the “The Day the Earth Stood Still” DVD!

I knew it from those shows before ever seeing “The Day the Earth Stood Still”.

PERFECT analogy, on your part, Re TWILIGHT ZONE and OUTER LIMITS!

Those were the days!


Mark Arnold said...

"Forbidden Planet" is great, too!

Yes, I did know those scores and did see those shows long before I saw "The Day the Earth Stood Still".

I didn't think of the analogy until I saw both films back to back like I did.