STRANGER FROM VENUS
Stranger from Venus incorporates many of the themes that ran through these British alien invasion films the recurrent image of small sleepy country villages being closed off and isolated from the outside world. There is also the theme of British authority that sits between being benevolent and a facelessly sinister force. Like Devil Girl from Mars, Stranger from Venus is almost entirely contained within the environs of a British country pub for the duration, drawing in a crosscut of regular everyday characters.
Stranger from Venus has largely been construed as a British version of The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951), a US-made effort that was one of the first films of the 1950s science-fiction boom, featuring Michael Rennie as an alien visitor who arrives to offer a dire warning that humanity should stop nuclear proliferation, only for his entreaties to run up against trigger-happy US military. Indeed, the connection between Stranger from Venus and The Day the Earth Stood Still is made overt by the casting of Patricia Neal who plays the role of the woman who befriends the alien visitor in both films (although here this is made into more of a romantic connection). There are very similar scenes in both films where the alien visitor asks for a meeting of government heads and delivers the same message that humanitys inherent capacity for atomic self-destruction must be halted. There is a slight difference of focus when it comes to the theme of military paranoia in The Day the Earth Stood Still, the trigger-happy military shoot first and the rest of the film is about Michael Rennie defusing their distrust; here all of that occurs at the end where the government heads agree to the aliens terms but are then more duplicitously revealed to be plotting to steal the aliens technology when they arrive.
Stranger from Venus suffers from a pedestrian and plodding dullness to its direction. It is like a very talky, domestic version of The Day the Earth Stood Still. There is a lack of large scale to the action all the conferences with the military and heads of government take place with the parties sitting around a table in the pub, for instance. There is a dreadfully unconvincing UFO model that turns up at the end.
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