Read a Movie club to present 'The Day the Earth Stood Still' May 8

April 27, 2013
Michael Rennie stars in “The Day The Earth Stood Still.” SOURCE SUBMITTED

The Rehoboth Beach Film Society and the Rehoboth Beach Public Library invite film and literary enthusiasts to a special screening of the 1951 film “The Day the Earth Stood Still,” starting at 4 p.m., Wednesday, May 8, upstairs at the Rehoboth Beach Public Library.

The screening is part of the monthly Read a Movie club, in which members are invited to read a short story in advance of the screening, and then gather to watch the film version and engage in lively discussion about how the film compares to its original inspiration.

All of Washington, D.C., is thrown into a panic when an extraterrestrial spacecraft lands near the White House. Out steps Klaatu (Michael Rennie), a handsome and soft-spoken interplanetary traveler, whose "bodyguard" is Gort (Lock Martin), a huge robot who spews forth laser-like death rays when danger threatens.

After being wounded by an overzealous soldier, Klaatu announces that he has come in peace and he has a message of the gravest importance for all humankind, which he will deliver only when all the leaders of all nations will agree to meet with him. World politics being what they are in 1951, Klaatu's demands are turned down and he is ordered to remain in the hospital while his wounds are treated.

However, Klaatu escapes, taking refuge in a boarding house, where he assumes the alias Mr. Carpenter, the name he finds on the cleaner’s tag on the suit he borrowed. There the benign alien gains the confidence of a lovely widow (Patricia Neal) and her son (Billy Gray).  Klaatu endeavors to make the world “stand still” so he can deliver the urgent and momentous message to world leaders.

“The Day the Earth Stood Still” was directed by Robert Wise, who edited “Citizen Kane” and directed such major 1960s musicals as “West Side Story” and “The Sound of Music.” The screenplay written by Edmund North was based on the story “Farewell to the Master” by Harry Bates. Michael Booth of the Denver Post says, "'The Day the Earth Stood Still' may at first look like goofy, outdated science fiction, but its timeless warnings about violence, nuclear confrontation and the difficulties of policing the planet have made it an enduring cultural classic.”

The Read a Movie club meets on the second Wednesday of each month from September to May. Members receive an email link to the short story in advance, and copies of the story are also available at the front desk of the Rehoboth Beach Public Library. After the film is screened, members share thoughts about how well - or not so well - the story was expanded to the big screen. Membership in Read a Movie is free. To sign up and receive the stories in advance email Sue Early, executive director of the Rehoboth Beach Film Society, at or call the Rehoboth Beach Public Library at 302-227-8044.

For more information on this series, other events, or to become a member, visit or call 302-645-9095.


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