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The Day the Earth Stood Still

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During the heart of the cold war films often illustrated anti-communist themes by masking the "communist" as an outside alien entity. The Day the Earth Stood Still used this masking technique as many films of it's period did. In this classic Science Fiction film an alien craft arives and lands on Earth. A historic meeting with the ship and its occupants occurs in Washington, DC.

The greeting is basically one of military might with full battle tanks, machine gun wielding soldiers and other "pleasantries" that man offers all which is unknown. The alien vessel's doors open and out walks a humonoid being in a space suit. He marches a few steps toward the men on the ground to meet with them. A nervous soldier fires his gun at the being by accident, wounding him. The being hits the ground from his wounds.

Out of the ship steps a humanoid like machine which immediately aims a beam of energy from his eyes at all offensive weapons in the area. The weapons immediately vanish, including rifles, and even full size battle tanks. Then the machine assumes an at ease status. The wounded humanoid alien is taken to a military hosptial but soon escapes. He appears perfectly human, his mission and purpose is still unknown.

The world waits in fear not knowing the purpose of this visitor. For the entire Earth on this day time stood still. The visitor from afar mingles with people of Washington DC including a young child named Bobby. He learns about the nature of the world including its history and leaders. During his brief time in captivity the alien visitor discovered how difficult it would be to get all the nations of the world together for the important matters he needs to discuss with man. He discovers that a demonstration of power is necessary to illustrate the immediacy of his mission beyond that of the petty squables of nation or of man.

On one day he shuts off all means of electrical and mechanical power for the entire world for a few minutes. Power is left on for planes, hospitals and other things for which the lack of power would lead to death. This illustration of power galvanizes the world in fear. The film ends with the alien visitor proclaiming that man's entry into the atomic age spells a threat for the universe; a threat that will not be allowed to remain. He offers man a choice; allow the emotions of fear, hope, and revenge to be regulated by all powerful machine like centurians or be eradicated. He states that his world is governed by such machines, and there are no wars, no hate, and no fear.

The movie basically speaks against communism and its lulling effect on those who want certainty from fear, hate, and war. The machines of his world such as Gort use force for the greater good, rather than individual good. Such is the path of the group thinker which this film so eloquently speaks to in the hopes of changing their thinking in the days of fear and communist uprisings which were the 1960's.

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