Day the Earth Stood Still, The (1951): Herrmann’s Score

Robert Wise’s “The Day the Earth Stood Still,” one of the most influential sci-fi films of the 1950s (and perhaps of all time), benefits immensely from the musical score of the legendary artist Bernard Herrmann, still best known for his work for Alfred Hitchcock (“Vertigo,” “Psycho”).


The soundtrack, with a running time of over 60 minutes, was recorded in August 1951 and was released in 1993 by the Label Fox.

Significantly, the soundtrack was Herrmann’s first work after relocating to Hollywood.  He had previously scored Orson Welles’ masterly debut, “Citizen Kane,” in 1941, and won the Oscar that very year for RKO’s “All That Money Can Buy.”


His unusual instrumentation for the film includes violin, cello, bass (all three electric), two theremin electronic instruments (played by Samuel Hoffman and Paul Shure), two Hammond organs, a large studio electric organ, three vibraphones, two glockenspiels, two pianos, two harps, three trumpets, three trombones, and four tubas.


Fox later reused Herrmann’s title theme in the original pilot for Irwin Allen’s TV series, “Lost In Space.”


The score consists of:

“Twentieth Century Fox Fanfare”  0:12

“Prelude/Outer Space/Radar”  3:45

“Danger” 0:24

“Klaatu” 2:15

“Gort/The Visor/The Telescope”  2:23

“Escape” 0:55

“Solar Diamonds” 1:04

“Arlington” 1:08

“Lincoln Memorial” 1:27

“Nocturne/The Flashlight/The Robot/Space Control” 5:58

“Elevator/Magnetic Pull/The Study/The Conference/The Jewelry Store” 4:32

“Panic” 0:42

“Glowing/Alone/Gort’s Rage/Nikto/The Captive/Terror” 5:11

“The Prison” 1:42

“Rebirth” 1:38

“Departure” 0:52

“Farewell” 0:32

“Finale” 0:30


Herrmann’s Hollywood Career


Bernard Herrmann also received Oscar nomination for “Anna and the King of Siam” (1946).  The year he died, 1976, he received two posthumous Oscar nominations: Brian de Palma’s “Obsession” and Martin Scorsese’s “Taxi Driver.”


See Oscar Alert 
Review of Derrickson’s Remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still