Beginning with a documentary style that immediately hooks the viewer, THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL, based on the Harry Bates short story "Farewell to the Master," becomes as much a human interest story as it does a sci-fi B-movie classic. The film soberly depicts the arrival of an alien dignitary, Klaatu (Michael Rennie), who has come to earth with his deadly robot, Gort (Lock Martin), to deliver the message that earthlings must stop warring among themselves--or else. After being shot at by ignorant, panicky military guards, Klaatu is brought to a Washington, D.C., hospital, where he begs a sympathetic but frank Major White (Robert Osterloh) to gather all the world's leaders so he can tell them more specifically what he has come 250 million miles to warn them about. Losing patience, Klaatu slips into the human world, adapting a false identity and living at a boarding house where he meets a smart woman with a conscience, Helen Benson (Patricia Neal), and her inquisitive son, Bobby (Billy Gray). Both mother and son soon find themselves embroiled in the complex mystery of Klaatu, his message, and the government's witch hunt for the alien. Made during the cold war--when Americans were obsessed with the destructive capabilities of the atomic bomb--THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL, thanks to its beautiful pacing, excellent dialogue, and haunting score by Bernard Herrmann, is still a treat for contemporary audiences.