The sci-fi classic: The Day the Earth Stood Still.

Dir. Robert Wise; writ. Harry Bates, Edmund H. North; feat. Michael Rennie, Patricia Neal, Hugh Marlowe, Sam Jaffe (G)

One of the early classics of science fiction, The Day the Earth Stood Still presents one of the genre's iconic images: a perfect silver saucer sits in the middle of a field, surrounded by soldiers and gawkers, and opens to reveal a mysterious visitor whose intentions are unknown. It also features a now-clichéd theme: The alien has our best interests at heart, but will be treated like a villain. Then there's that giant gleaming robot, and the immortal words "Klaatu barata nikto." All this from a director who would later stamp West Side Story and The Sound of Music on the collective cinematic psyche.

There are those sci-fi buffs who consider Day stilted and hokey, preferring the more adrenalized kicks of, say, a Harryhausen monster movie. But the film's preachy tone is endearingly sincere, and its pristine imagery complements it perfectly. And the filmmakers throw in a magnificently eerie Theremin score by Bernard Herrmann for free.

The Day the Earth Stood Still screens Tuesday, June 17 as part of Texas Public Radio's "Cinema Tuesdays" series. 7:30 pm at AMC Huebner Oaks, admission $10 members / $12 non-members, 614-8977 or tpr.org for reservations.


Dir. Juan Ibáñez; writ. Mauricio Wallerstein, Juan Fernando Pérez Gavilán; feat. Julissa, Enrique Álvarez Félix, Óscar Chávez, Ernesto Gómez Cruz (NR)

The second installment in the Instituto de Mexico's film series, 1966's Los Caifanes features a couple of aristocrats who decide to slum it, spending the evening with a group of street characters. Set in Mexico City, it was the first fiction feature for director Ibáñez.

Los Caifanes screens at the Instituto de Mexico, 600 Hemisfair Park, at 4 pm on Sunday, June 15. Info: 227-0130. •

More by John DeFore



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