(aka "Le Jour où la terre s'arrêta" or "Ultimátum a la Tierra" or "Der Tag, an dem die Erde stillstand" or "Uhkavaatimus Maalle" )

directed by Robert Wise
USA 1951

The Day The Earth Stood Still depicts the arrival of an alien dignitary, Klaatu (Michael Rennie), who has come to earth with his deadly robot, Gort (Lock Martin), to deliver the message that earthlings must stop warring among themselves--or else. After being shot at by military guards, Klaatu is brought to a Washington, D.C. hospital, where he begs a sympathetic but frank Major White (Robert Osterloh) to gather all the world's leaders so he can tell them more specifically what he has come to warn them about. Losing patience, Klaatu slips into the human world, adapting a false identity and living at a boarding house where he meets a smart woman with a conscience and her inquisitive son. Both mother and son soon find themselves embroiled in the complex mystery of Klaatu, his message and the government's witch hunt for the alien.

***

Robert Wise (The original Haunting, West Side Story, The Sound of Music  and Star Trek: The Motion Picture are among his credits) knew how to make a film. Devoid of the multitude of CGI and special effects that seem necessary for today's fans, The Day the Earth Stood Still is quite a landmark in sci-fi films, especially for the 1950's. It bases its interest in suspense and the personality of the 'invading alien' as Michael Rennie's timeless character of Klaatu. Poignant dialogue is reflected in a positive absolute of our civilization and growth as a species as well as purporting our realization of not being alone in vastness of space. A marvelous and intelligent film that deserves its large fan base and place in cinema history. I intend to watch it, yet again, tonight! out of  

Gary Tooze

Posters

Theatrical Release: September 18, 1951 (USA)

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DVD Comparison:

20th Century Fox Home (Studio Classics series) - Region 1 - NTSC vs. 20th Century Fox - Region 2,4 - PAL vs. 20th Century Fox Home (2-disc Special Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC

Thanks to Jarkko Pienimäki for the Studio Classic and PAL screen captures!

1) 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment (Studio Classics series) - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT

2) 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment - Region 2,4 - PAL - MIDDLE

3) 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment (2-disc Special Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - RIGHT

 

DVD Box Covers

   

 

Distribution

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

Region 1 - NTSC

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Region 2,4 - PAL
20th Century Fox (2-disc SE)
Region 1 - NTSC
Runtime 1:32:02 1:28:24 (4% PAL speedup) 1:32:03
Video

1.33:1/4:3 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.51 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.33:1/4:3 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 8.84 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.33:1/4:3 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 8.22 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

 

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment (Studio Classics series)

 

Bitrate:

 

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

 

Bitrate:

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

 

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Dual Mono), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Dual Mono), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Dual Mono) English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), DUBs: French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Dual Mono), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Dual Mono), Italian (Dolby Digital 2.0 Dual Mono), German(Dolby Digital 2.0 Dual Mono)

English (Dolby Digital 5.1 Stereo), English (Dolby Digital mono) DUBs: French (Dolby Digital Mono), Spanish (Dolby Digital Mono)

Subtitles English, Spanish or none Dutch, English HoH, French, German HoH, Italian and Spanish or none English, Spanish or none
Features Release Information:
Studio: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1/4:3

Edition Details:
• Commentary by Robert Wise and Nicolas Meyer
• 70-minute "Making The Earth Stand Still" documentary
• Movietone Newsreel (1951)
• Restoration Comparison
• 5 Still Galleries
• Shooting Script
• Theatrical Trailer

DVD Release Date: 4.3.2003
Keep case

Chapters 16

Release Information:
Studio: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1/4:3

Edition Details:
• Audio commentary by director Robert Wise and Nicolas Meyer
• Theatrical Trailer
• Movietone News Segment
• Restoration Comparison
 

DVD Release Date: 4.3.2003
Keep case

Chapters 15

Release Information:
Studio: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1/4:3

Edition Details:
• Commentary by Director Robert Wise and Nicolas Meyer
• Commentary by Film & Music Historians John Morgan, Steven Smith, William Stromberg & Nick Redman
• Isolated Score Track 5.1
• The Making of " The Day The Earth Stood Still" (23:51)

• The Mysterious, Melodious Theremin (5:39)

• The Day the Earth Stood Still Main Title Live Performance by Peter Pringle (2:15)

• Farewell to the Master: a reading by Jameson K. Price

• Fox Movietonews from 1951 (6:21)

• 3 Trailers (teaser, theatrical, 2008 re-release)


Disc 2 (single-layered)

• Decoding "Klaatu, Barada, Nikto"; Science Fiction as Metaphor (16:13)
• A Brief History of Flying Saucers (33:59)
• Edmund North: The Man Who Made The Earth Stand Still (15:42)
• The Astounding Harry Bates
Farewell to the Master: An Audio Presentation of the Original Short Story (11:01)
• Race to Oblivion : A Documentary Short Written and produced by Edmund North (26:41)
• 7 Galleries
 

DVD Release Date: December 2nd, 2008
Keep case

Chapters 24

 

Comments

ADDITION: Fox 2-disc Special Edition DVD: For many patiently awaiting the Blu-ray - this is kind of anti-climactic. Firstly, I should state that our initial comparison (Studio Classics vs. PAL edition) was done a long time ago - yes, its been over 5 years since we've had a new edition of this sci-fi masterpiece in NTSC! - I have no recollection as to why Jarkko, the original contributor, resized his captures to 800 pixels wide (when the native is ex. 720 for the Studio Classics).  Regardless, I don't think it indicates much of a difference with the new Special Edition along the lines of image. It will certainly be considered dramatically less different than the upcoming 1080P transfer (you think?). So while I believe this new SE is a marginal improvement, better and more pure contrast, over the Studio Classics edition - it's going to seem like nutt'in next to the eventual Blu-ray. Come on Fox - we're salivating here...

More significantly than the image improvement is the audio with a new 5.1 bump. Now, as you know, this is a fake mix but it sounds okay to me. It has a couple of more aggressive moments but not a lot of subtle action for the rears. Another area where I expect the Blu-ray may advance. What is paramount is that they left the mono option in available to purists. There are also two mono foreign language DUBs and subtitle options slightly differently rendered for this DVD (see samples below.)

Okay onto the 'meat' - there are plenty of extras to feast on - with a few duplicated - including the Wise/Meyer commentary and 'Making of..." (although edited on the SE?). Now we get a second optional commentary covering some of the music and other production detail minutia. The participants are film and music historians John Morgan, Steven Smith, William Stromberg and Nick Redman. Redman is knowledgeable and the only one I believe that I have heard previously. I *think* I still prefer the original more 'basic' commentary although this has some definite merit. Bernard Herrmann's isolated score is a great idea and despite owning so much of the composer's soundtracks on CD - this is a new keepsake for me. There is some filler here - but it may appeal to some classic sci-fi aficionados - include in that category The Mysterious, Melodious Theremin with Peter Pringle for about 5 minutes, plus the audio only presentation of the original short story and even Pringle conducting The Day the Earth Stood Still Main Title in a Live Performance for about 2 minutes (I admit to enjoying this a great deal). The 30 minute Race to Oblivion: A Documentary Short Written and produced by Edmund North on disc 2 is in rough shape but very cool with Burt Lancaster. Geeks, (like moi?) will get a kick out of Decoding "Klaatu, Barada, Nikto"; Science Fiction as Metaphor (16:13) and there are two separate featurettes - one on Edmund North (15 minutes) and the other on Harry Bates (11 minutes). There are trailers and quite a few galleries with stills.

So, this new SE is the definitive DVD presentation of this classic at a fabulous price considering the film value and supplements.... and we'll get to the Blu-ray as soon as we can folks. Klaatu, Barada, Nikto.   

***

 

ON THE STUDIO CLASSIC AND PAL EDITION: The image differences are pretty small, but in the final tally the NTSC version inches ahead with slightly better contrast, black levels and is minimally sharper with some film grain showing. Both have noise evident. In the audio, the NTSC offers 2 versions of the original English as well as some DUBs also offered by the PAL (which also includes Italian). The Region 1 also has better extras with the "Making of.." documentary. Both issues have the same commentary track. Menus are a wash, but we will give it to the PAL for being widescreen (although the film is not.)

Some films are not worth upgrading, but I believe that this one would be worth if not for the improved image, then for the extra featurette.

- Gary Tooze

 



DVD Menus

(20th Century Fox Home Entertainment (Studio Classics series) - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT vs. 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment - Region 2,4 - PAL - RIGHT)
 

 

Special Edition

Disc 2

 


 

Subtitle samples

 

1) 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment (Studio Classics series) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment - Region 2,4 - PAL - MIDDLE

3) 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment (2-disc Special Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM

 

 

Screen Captures

1) 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment (Studio Classics series) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment - Region 2,4 - PAL - MIDDLE

3) 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment (2-disc Special Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM

 


1) 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment (Studio Classics series) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment - Region 2,4 - PAL - MIDDLE

3) 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment (2-disc Special Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM

 


1) 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment (Studio Classics series) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment - Region 2,4 - PAL - MIDDLE

3) 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment (2-disc Special Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM

 


1) 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment (Studio Classics series) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment - Region 2,4 - PAL - MIDDLE

3) 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment (2-disc Special Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM

 


1) 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment (Studio Classics series) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment - Region 2,4 - PAL - MIDDLE

3) 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment (2-disc Special Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM

 


1) 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment (Studio Classics series) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment - Region 2,4 - PAL - MIDDLE

3) 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment (2-disc Special Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM

 

 


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Report Card:

 

Image:

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Sound:

SE

Extras:

SE

Menu:

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DVD Box Covers

   

 

Distribution

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

Region 1 - NTSC

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Region 2,4 - PAL
20th Century Fox (2-disc SE)
Region 1 - NTSC



 

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Gary Tooze

Mississauga, Ontario,

   CANADA

Many Thanks...