The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951, dir. Robert Wise)
“Number one, it was (for once) an alien from outer space who was not an evil alien. Also, it was a science fiction film set on Earth here, and I thought that was marvelous. I liked the setting, the fact that it was in Washington, the heart of our country. I thought that made it very real, very believable, very mundane. I tried to heighten that with my casting, too. I wanted to make it just as credible and believable as it could possibly be, and I think that is one of its strengths.”
-Robert Wise, quoted in Tom Weaver’s It Came from Weaver Five
Bernard Herrmann - The Elevator/Magnetic Pull /Study/Conference /The Jewelry Store (The Day The Earth Stood Still: 20th Century Fox Film Scores)
Bernard Herrmann - Prelude/Outer Space/Radar (The Day The Earth Stood Still: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
“[Herrmann’s score for the sci-fi classic The Day The Earth Stood Still] was another scoring milestone that anticipated the era of electronic music with its then unheard of instrumentation for electric violin, electric bass, two high and low electric theremins, four pianos, four harps and a ‘very strange section of about 30-odd brass.’…What the film needed was an extraterrestrial strangeness, a sense of the bizarre and unsettling; this Herrmann achieved through his wisely sparse electronic soundtrack.
If the music’s impact is lessened today, the reason is not the score itself but the host of inferior imitations its success spawned.”
-excerpted from A Heart at Fire’s Center: The Life and Music of Bernard Herrmann by Steven Smith