Klaatu barada nikto. With those three words, Helen Benson (Patricia Neal) saved the world from certain destruction at the hands of the eight-foot robot Gort in the 1951 classic The Day the Earth Stood Still. Director Robert Wise’s film remains one of the most chilling and effective Cold War-era films, wrapping its plea for peace in a compelling, documentary-style sci-fi narrative. Chief among its assets was a score by maestro Bernard Herrmann (Psycho, Taxi Driver). Herrmann’s intense, exciting themes will soon be reissued on CD by Kritzerland in a newly-remastered edition which is currently available for pre-order.
Reissue producer Bruce Kimmel notes, “It’s no surprise that every fantasy filmmaker—including Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, John Carpenter, Peter Jackson, James Cameron and Christopher Nolan—has cited the influence of this picture upon their own. The film did everything right – from a superb screenplay by Edmund H. North (from a story by Harry Bates), to the beautiful cinematography by Leo Tover, to the stellar cast of Michael Rennie [as humanoid alien Klaatu, whose name later inspired a cult band – JM], Patricia Neal, Hugh Marlowe, Sam Jaffe and Billy Gray (having a cast of great actors playing the reality of the story is what helps ground the film and make it timeless). The Day the Earth Stood Still, simply put, is a masterpiece and one of the most important science fiction films ever made. “
To accompany the film, Herrmann crafted his score to utilize unusual instrumentation – and most notably for the composer renowned for Psycho, no traditional strings. Instead, Herrmann employed electric violin, cello, and bass, Hammond and pipe organs, various percussion instruments (including vibes, glockenspiels, marimbas, timpani and gongs) and brass (such as trumpets, trombones and tubas), and most notably – two theremins. Herrmann also eschewed woodwinds to create a score unlike any other.
Hit the jump for details on what to expect on this new CD!
The score to The Day the Earth Stood Still was issued on CD by Arista Records over twenty years ago in an edition that’s now long out-of-print. A more complete version of the score was available briefly as an extra with the laserdisc release of the film, and that version was later adapted for inclusion in Varese Sarabande’s sold-out, 14-disc Bernard Herrmann at Fox box set. Kritzerland’s release marks the first standalone CD since the truncated Arista issue and replicates the 22-track sequence of the complete Varese presentation. For this 2014 iteration, The Day The Earth Stood Still has been freshly remastered and also includes new liner notes by film score guru Mike Matessino.
The Day the Earth Stood Still is limited to 1,200 units. Pre-orders placed directly through Kritzerland are promised to ship by the first week of January, but the label is aiming to ship before Christmas. You can peruse the track listing and place your order below!
Bernard Herrmann, The Day The Earth Stood Still: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Kritzerland KR 20029-3, 2014)
- Prelude/Outer Space/Radar
- Gort/The Visor and The Ray/The Telescope
- Lincoln Memorial
- Nocturne/The Flashlight/The Robot/Space Control
- The Elevator/The Magnetic Pull/The Study/The Conference/The Jeweler/12:30
- The Glowing/Alone/Gort’s Rage/Nikto/Captive/Terror
- The Prison
- Solar Diamonds I & II (unused)
- Outer Space (without theremin track)
- The Magnetic Pull (without overlays)
- The Visor and The Ray (separated elements)
- Discrete Theremin Tracks
- Studio Rehearsals and Outtakes
Tracks 17-22 are bonus tracks
This sequence originally released as part of Bernard Herrmann at Fox, Varese Sarabande VCL 1211 1128, 2011