Tonight, first contact will be made! A beautifully-crafted tale of a superior being from Venus who has the power of life and death at his touch. Academy Award-winning actress Patricia Neal’s glowing and sensitive performance as a woman caught up in the biggest event in history is complemented by Helmut Dantine’s powerful, moving portrayal as the Stranger. Suggested by events in the sci-fi classic “The Day the Earth Stood Still,” this film is a touching, humanizing and haunting story of “first contact” with a peaceful and advanced intelligence from another planet coming to Earth with an ultimatum and out-of-this-world powers to back it up.
A strange craft is spotted flying over Britain. Despite the hysteria, the army is confident of a simple explanation
The same night Susan North (Patricia Neal) is driving on a country road when she hears reports of the object on the radio. The report then fades to static as the appearance of a bright light dazzles her, causing her to lose control of her car. The camera then tracks the lower torso of a figure approaching the car and checking on Susans condition.In the bar of a nearby guest house, the owners daughter Gretchen Harding (Marigold Russell) is worried about Susans whereabouts after receiving a call from Arthur Walker (Derek Bond) Susans fiancé, looking for herGretchens father, Tom (Willoughby Gray) tells her not to worry and to serve the bars only patron Doctor Meinard (Cyril Luckham). As she does so, a stranger (Helmut Dantine) enters the bar, Gretchen offers him food and drink, he shows no interest in anything other than a glass of beer.
Tom introduces himself to the stranger, who after tasting the drink, comments he does not like its taste. The stranger then asks about accommodation, but admits he has no money. At the urging of Gretchen, her father agrees to allow him to stay in return for work in the garden. When the stranger is asked his name he claims not to have one. Doctor Meinard becomes curious in the conversation and suggests the must give his name when paying taxes. The Stranger replies hes never done that. The doctor is concerned the stranger may be suffering some sort of mental illness and begins to examine him. Hes shocked when he cant locate a pulse.Meanwhile the police along with Arthur arrive at the crash site to find Susan missing. The officers are concerned because the severity of the accident suggests she could not have survived let alone walked away from the crash.Later at the hotel, Arthur, and the police are on the phone organizing search parties for the morning when the stranger reappears. He overhears the conversation and tells Arthur that Miss North is relatively safe. The police immediately become suspicious and question him about Miss Norths whereabouts.The stranger continues to be evasive with his answers and ultimately the police at the urging of the doctor decide to arrest him. As they attempt to do so, Susan suddenly appears, dazed but otherwise in good health, with the exception of some well healed scarsShe recalls little of the incident, other than being forced off the road by an intense light. She recalls her reaction to the intense physical pain and the knowledge she was dying. Then someone came
Susan sees the stranger and recognizes him as the someone, and thanks him when she realizes he is the one who helped her. The doctor asks how he knew what to do, but the stranger ignores the question going on to explain hes traveled a very long distance in his craft, and it was the landing lights from his ship that caused Susans near fatal accident.The stranger finally reveals he is from Venus, Arthur and the police officers think he is crazy, but the doctor suggests he might be telling the truth after explaining the lack of pulse in the man. Arthur reacts to this new information by contacting the Ministry Of War to appraise them of the situation.Later that night as everyone is asleep, the stranger enters Mr Hardings room. He leaves a few minutes later just as Gretchen and Arthur arrive. They wake Tom to check if he is alright. Tom is surprised and delighted a limp hes had for many years is gone. Arthur goes to look for the stranger and finds him just in time to see him concealing a small device in his roomNext morning Tom is still buoyant over the condition of his leg. He gives Miss North a message that Arthur had to drive into the city first thing. She finds the Stranger working the garden. In the middle of the conversation he tells her he cant teach others how to cure people, she looks at him puzzled till he admits he has limited capacity to read minds.Doctor Meinard then joins them and questions him about compensating for the differences in atmospheric conditions between Earth and Venus. The Stranger explains the training he undertook to condition him for survival on Earth, and he only has another 100 hours on Earth before he will die.Later while driving to a medical appointment, the doctor is stopped by a military roadblock, hes then told the whole area is quarantined, and to go home to wait the situation out. As he returns to the hotel his car is overtaken by Arthurs car returning from London with a delegation. Chief Of Police Richards (Graham Stuart) and Charles Dixon (Kenneth Edwards) from Associated Press, have come up from London to get a better understanding of the Strangers mission. Taking the Strangers fingerprints, Richards becomes convinced the Stranger is definitely not from Earth. The rest of the party agrees with Richards following a language test that the Stranger passes easily. The Stranger explains Venus has been watching Earth for a very long time, and is concerned about Earths fumbling attempts to maintain peace. He then tells them that his superiors will be arriving in two days and he expects the leaders from all the world governments should be present.After the discussion Susan takes the Stranger to a quiet spot. She seems to be developing a romantic attachment to the Stranger and he appears to be responding in kindLater Charles Dixon tries to make a call from the hotel, but discovers the phones are monitored by the army. Dixon then tells him that the public doesnt know about his arrival, the government has a full embargo on the story. The Stranger then explains how their spacecraft workLater in the evening Susan begs Arthur to allow her to cross the army blockade, he says no. Although the public have been convinced there is nothing to be concerned about, but other governments may take an interest in her. She becomes increasingly annoyed at Arthurs refusals. She then tells Arthur she is starting to have feelings for the Stranger. Arthur tells her to wait till after the Stranger is gone before deciding how she feels about thingsThe next day, further members of the government arrive, the Stranger is upset that his demands were not met and no other nations are present. He is concerned at mans obsession with nuclear power, and how we underestimate the damage could be caused. He points to the asteroid belt as evidence of a civilization that did not remain cautious. He then explains the danger to Venus, if too many bombs were detonated at the same time; the Earth could move an inch in its orbit over time this amount could grow till a point is reached in which Venus itself could be threatened.The Strange leaves the meeting after telling the men he knows what they are thinking, and no, the Venusians leadership will not freely give their secrets away. Returning to the lake he finds Susan and kisses her. He then tells her he is leaving in the morning. She is sad and begins to question him about life and love on Venus.
As they continue to talk the Stranger becomes suddenly concerned and rushes back to the house. A car is leaving, and without explanation he chases it down the driveway until he collapses with exhaustion. It is then revealed that the disk hed previously hidden has been stolen and without it he cant communicateNight falls and the army being building up forces around the hotel. Arthur then tells the occupants of the hotel that there is going to be an attempt to capture the Venusian craft when it lands. The Stranger warns that attempting the attack will lead to the death of everyone in the hotel, when the mother ship from Venus will incinerate a wide area around the hotel.Arthur contacts the Minister Of War in London. The man seems unconcerned about the possibility of retaliation and demands Arthur to continue to prepare the ambush. Susan realizes the sacrifice the Strange may be making when he suggests he should warn his leaders not to land.At the hotel everyone is waiting for what they assume is death. A phone call for the doctor causes laughter when he prescribes 5 days of rest for someone about to dieOverhead a ship from Venus prepares to land, although some are concerned, the intention is to still to allow the craft to land. At the last minute the Stranger gets his communicator and alerts the ship, which immediately changes course and returns to space. Realizing any hope of being evacuated is now gone, the Stranger resigned to his fate returns to the lake to await his death, which comes [email protected]