The Day the Earth Stood Still

  • Thur Sept 4
The Day the Earth Stood Still

introduced by Prof. Charles Van Loan (Computer Science)

Robert Wise
Michael Rennie, Patricia Neal, Hugh Marlowe

The world is thrown into hysterics when a spaceship lands in Washington, D.C. and from it emerges a human-looking alien, Klaatu, and his intimidating robot, Gort. Klaatu comes in peace to deliver a message of great importance to the world’s leaders, but is imprisoned by the U.S. government. He must flee a military hospital and evade capture long enough to warn the world about the perils of violence and war. “…its timeless warnings about violence, nuclear confrontation and the difficulties of policing the planet have made it an enduring cultural classic.” (Michael Booth, Denver Post)

The film features a classic sci-fi score by master film composer Bernard Herrmann. The music features two Theremins (considered the first widespread electronic instrument), three organs, two pianos, two harps, three timpani, four tubas, strings, guitar and more, and to this day, the score still conjures up images of robots and spaceships. “The original theremin was developed in 1919 by Lev Sergeyevich Termen (aka Leon Theremin), a Russian cellist-physicist-inventor who purportedly derived inspiration from listening to the weird intermodulation noises that occur when tuning between broadcast frequencies…. Dr. Robert Moog, whose innovative voltage-controlled synthesizer, the Minimoog Model D, helped revolutionize rock, classical and jazz-fusion, [began] building theremins as a hobby in 1954, and later produced both a professional Ethervox MIDI theremin, and an affordable, eminently playable commercial version, the Moog Music Etherwave theremin.” (Chip Stern,

Cosponsored with Dept. of Computer Science

DCP bw
1 hour 32 minutes
release year/country
1951 USA