Kritzerland is proud to present a new limited edition soundtrack to one of the most iconic science fiction films ever made:
THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL
Music Composed by Bernard Herrmann
Conducted by Bernard Herrmann, Alfred Newman and Lionel Newman
To say that the 1951 film The Day the Earth Stood Still is a benchmark of its genre is an understatement. Along with The Thing From Another World, released earlier that same year, The Day the Earth Stood Still ushered in a steady flow of pictures where flying saucers and monsters reflected the Cold War paranoia of the atomic age. But director Robert Wise’s film stands above them all. 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, 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.
Deserving of equal credit for the film’s uniqueness and success, is, of course, the music score by Bernard Herrmann. The Day the Earth Stood Still stands among Herrmann’s most memorable achievements (in a career filled with them), and may possibly be his most innovative. At the fore, of course, is the use of the theremin (two, actually, one “high” and one “low,” played by Samuel Hoffmann and Paul Shure). But that’s not all that makes this score unique – in contrast to Herrmann’s famous strings-only score for Hitchcock’s Psycho, The Day the Earth Stood Still utilizes none—unless one counts the meticulous punctuations of harp, piano (two of them) and cinema’s first use of the electric violin (performed by Felix Slatkin). Also absent are woodwinds, a choice that allows the score’s evocative brass clusters to take center stage. The sound field is further dominated by the versatile resonances of the Wurlitzer pipe organ, offset by percussion instruments sitting in the extreme high and low ends of the frequency spectrum.
The Day the Earth Stood Still was previously available on Arista over twenty years ago. That edition is obviously long out of print. A complete version of the score was available briefly as an extra in the laserdisc release of the film, and that version was also included in the multi-disc and very expensive Bernard Herrmann at Fox box on Varese Sarabande – that release sold out instantly. Given the limited availability of the box, we felt it was very important to make this classic score available again for the fans who missed out on it. It has been given a new, fresh mastering and sounds absolutely incredible in that wonderful early Fox stereo sound that was as unique as the Herrmann score. New liner notes by Mike Matessino.
The Day the Earth Stood Still is limited to 1200 copies only and priced at $19.98, plus shipping. CDs will ship by the first week of January, although we do hope to have it shipped before Christmas.