The Day the Earth Stood Still
There's nothing quite so quaint as a past vision of the future. The Day the Earth Stood Still features a tres-'50s flying saucer, a hulking robot named Gort, and supersmooth Michael Rennie as alien ambassador Klaatu, emissary from a far-off planet where Brylcreem is the hairstyling product of choice. And yet the quaintest thing about this 1951 sci-fi war-horse is the notion that a highly advanced civilization would assume that we might listen to reason about our self-destructive ways, even after a nervous soldier busts a cap in Klaatu's arm right after he gives a little speech about coming in peace. Fortunately, Klaatu is, uh, highly advanced, so he takes the time to befriend an Earth lady (the always wonderful Patricia Neal) before giving the entire globe an ultimatum: Be nice or be destroyed. Quaint perhaps, but DESS still holds up, thanks in part to solid direction from journeyman's journeyman Robert Wise and a thrilling theremin-laced soundtrack from the great Bernard Herrmann, not to mention all that great retro space stuff.