The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) [Blu-ray]

Genre(s): Science Fiction
Fox || NR - 92 minutes - $34.99 || December 2, 2008
Reviewer: Brad Lowenberg || Posted On: 2008-12-24

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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.

.:: A U D I O ::.

B L U - R A Y

Blu-ray Exclusives

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Director: Robert Wise
Writer(s): Harry Bates (story), Edmund North (screenplay)
Cast: Michael Rennie, Patricia Neal, Hugh Marlowe, Sam Jaffe, Billy Gray, Francis Bavier

Theatrical Release Date: September 28, 1951

Supplemental Material:
  • 2 Feature Commentaries
  • Interactive Theremin: Create Your Own Score
  • Interactive Game
  • Isolated Score Track
  • Featurettes
  • Farewell to the Master
  • Fox Movie to News (1951)
  • Trailers

Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Full Frame (1.33)
  • English (DTS-HD MA 5.1), English (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: NA

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.::THE FILM::.

One of the greatest Sci-Fi films ever has finally hit Blu-ray in a shameless attempt to plug the 2008 "remake". While I don't have any issues with Fox taking this marketing approach (I'd rather have the film then not), I hate the fact they put so much effort into tying this release into the remake (free ticket, preview, cover art). With that said...

Without a moment passed the film starts directly off in mass hysteria. A space craft is coming into our orbit and plans to land at any moment. With a few minutes the UFO has landed and people gather by to see what - if anything - may come out. After what appears to be hours the UFO eventually cracks open a door and stairs fall where something, resembling a human, slowly walks out. Men armed with guns, tanks, everything is pointed at this creature. When he makes a move for his pocket one of the men freak and shoot him in the shoulder... all he was trying to give them was a gift, he was coming in peace.

The Alien, who we later find out is named Klaatu (Michael Rennie) is rushed back to a hospital/laboratory where he is quickly patched up and healed. He came to earth to warn them of something, but will only speak to leaders of various important nations - something the United States simply can't pull off. Klaatu then uses this as an example of why he is here - they are too busy bickering over small, stupid things that they will never be in peace. Klaatu eventually makes his escape and finds rest at a small apartment complex where he rents a room. He quickly befriends a young boy named Billy and the two set off to teach Klaatu what humans are really like and why they should be spared.

The Day the Earth Stood Still has a very simple, yet effective plot. Klaatu comes to Earth to warn them that if they don't stop their ways that his people will be forced to destroy them. With ongoing wars and petty differences, it causes some concern to Klaatu's people because the humans they will eventually find a way to destroy what Klaatu's people have come to terms with: peace. With the help for Gort''s, Klaatu's people live in harmony because they are essentially police offers; willing to destroy anything that may cause harm to others.


All features are presented in HD unless otherwise noted.

Commentary with Director Robert Wise and Nicholas Meyer

Commentary with John Morgan, Steven Smith, William Stromberg and Nicholas Redman

Interactive Theremin: Create Your Own Score - For the life of me I couldn't figure this thing out. Why, Fox, why? ** Blu-ray Exclusive **

Gort Command! Interactive Game - Fox once again feels the need to spend time and money to create useless games and here we are yet again. Use your remote to "kill" people. Wow. This is exactly what I want to do with my shiny Blu-ray player. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **

- Farewell to the Master (Roughly 2 Hours)
- Making of The Day the Earth Stood Still (65 Minutes)
- The Mysterious, Melodious Theremin (6 Minutes)
- Main Title Live Performance by Peter Pringle (2 Minutes)
- Decoding Klaatu Barada Nikto (16 Minutes; SD)
- A Brief History of Flying Saucers (34 Minutes)
- The Astounding Harry Bates (11 Minutes)
- Race to Oblivion (26 Minutes; SD)
- Edmund North: The Man Who Made the Earth Stand Still (15 Minutes)

- - Lumping all of these together; any fan of the movie will enjoy not only some of the original 2002 DVD features but some of the newer ones created exclusively for the 2008 re-release on DVD and Blu-ray. I sampled bit and pieces of each one and found the "Making of" and "Brief History of Flying Saucers" to be by far the best items on the disc. The others only touch on a few things and given the longer running time, the two I mentioned are the winners here.

Also included is an Isolated Score Track, Interactive Press Kit, Various Still Galleries and Trailers.

This release also includes a free ticket to see the yourself a favor, throw it away. Worst Movie of 2008.


The Day the Earth Stood Still is presented in its Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 (AVC/MPEG-4) on a 50GB Disc. For a film that is almost 60 years old, this looks damn good. The previous DVD release looked really good as well, but the Blu-ray easily trumps that. Grain is untouched - yet at the same time the picture looks cleaner, sharper, and Blacks maintain a great balance. There are still marks here and there along with several instances of hair - but c'mon, this film is probably old then you! Fox dug deep into their vaults for this release and itís worth it.

Fox has included an English 5.1 DTS MA release as well as (thankfully) the original 1.0 Mono track. I opted to go for the DTS MA for the first twenty minutes and then re-started the film again with the 1.0 Mono. I felt the DTS MA sounded nicer (cleaner dialog; more impact) but the rear speakers were rarely used and I wanted to go with the "original" experience. While that's no dig at DTS MA, I simply didn't want to pollute the film with useless background noise.


Fox has released a classic title on Blu-ray and itís clearly a welcome addition to a library that is generally filled with random action films. With incredible Picture for an older film and hours upon hours of bonus features this title is recommended for those that want to see a classic Sci-Fi film.