"They're here! They're here! They've landed!"
It’s 1951 and an extraterrestrial flying saucer is tracked around the Earth before it lands in
This is very much a film of its time. Its overriding theme of Cold War tensions is now part of history and its religious themes have much less importance today. The fact that an alien has travelled millions of miles to warn humanity about its own as well as the Universe’s destruction must have been a major talking point back in 1951. The idea that the alien could also be viewed as Jesus takes the warning even further. The film delivers a stern but important message about what a threat we can be to ourselves. The fact that the film came just six years after the world’s most bloody war is no coincidence either.
The story is fairly mundane by today’s standards. Klaatu’s major set piece in which he gets the world’s attention isn’t to blow up Big Ben, the
and the White House as it would be
today but instead he turns off all electricity. This in itself would be extremely
problematic and worrying today but in 1951 the film shows the problems
associated with this to include a woman who has to take wet washing out of a
tumble dryer, someone unable to make a milkshake and some people trapped in a
lift. It’s actually quite a funny scene. Eiffel Tower
Other unintentionally funny moments include when two doctors are pondering how Klaatu is able to live so long they light their cigarettes and Klaatu’s sparkly outfit. The only thing that distinguishes him from a human is that he wears a glittery jumpsuit, rubber gloves and a gimp mask. Time hasn’t been kind to this film. The robot, Gort looks incredibly unrealistic, even for the 1950s. Although he is meant to be metallic, his costume is obviously some sort of fibrous material. The acting also feels very dated and of its time. It’s not bad but just not very realistic. Michael Rennie though has a somewhat other worldly feel to him and his accent is quite good.
Overall this is an interesting historical film which brings to life the tensions and fears of the Cold War. In some aspects it has dated badly but it’s still worth watching if you have any affinity to 50s Sci-Fi or B-Movies.