klaatu barada nikto

I was checking out these excellent photos from Martin Kay and they had me waxing all nostalgic for the original
The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951), the film that gets my vote for the best sci-fi flick ever. (BTW, I've not seen the remake and I don't plan to, even though it features the luscious Jon 'Don Draper' Hamm. But again, why bother? Nothing could compare with the original. Care to disagree?)

The title of this post, Klaatu barada nikto, is a phrase from the film (the original!). Klaatu is the name of the humanoid alien protagonist (Michael Rennie) who arrives in Washington, DC, via flying saucer accompanied by an awesome silvery-foam-clad robot, Gort. We learn that Gort is a member of a race of super-robot enforcers invented to keep the peace of the galaxy. Gort will destroy the Earth if provoked.

Klaatu befriends Helen Benson (Patricia Neal) and commands that, were anything to happen to him, she must utter the phrase, "Klaatu barada nikto," to Gort. In fact, Klaatu is taken to be a threat and, subsequently, he's hunted down and fatally shot. Helen reaches Gort (see YouTube clip below) and utters the three key words in that inimitably seductive voice of hers. Gort aborts his attack on the Earth, retrieves Klaatu's body, transports him to the saucer and revives him from death. Phew.

After Klaatu is "brought back," he steps out of the saucer and delivers the following ultimatum:
I am leaving soon and you'll forgive me if I speak bluntly. The universe grows smaller every day and the threat of aggression by any group anywhere can no longer be tolerated. There must be security for all or no one is secure. Now this does not mean giving up any freedom, except the freedom to act irresponsibly. ... It is no concern of ours how you run your own planet, but if you threaten to extend your violence, this Earth of yours will be reduced to a burned-out cinder. Your choice is simple: join us and live in peace, or pursue your present course and face obliteration. We shall be waiting for your answer. The decision rests with you.

I think Hillary Clinton and Janet Napolitano should have a girls' night out and share a private screening of the film (the original!) in the situation room. Just sayin'.

:martin kay, UFO images, modelled in modo, lighting by environment only, comped in photoshop;
klaatu & gort image via virgin media


secretfragileskies said...

Love your comment.

Susana said...

It is a brilliant film... last time I watched it was years ago... thanks for the reminder. It is a fantastic film and the pics are great. Cheers!

Janelle said...

classic.. x j