The Day the Earth Caught Fire

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Overview

Born in 1911, director Val Guest recorded the commentary track for The Day the Earth Caught Fire at the age of 90, and from the sound of it he was bright, lucid, and proud as he could be of his 1961 apocalyptic sci-fi classic. His running commentary with journalist and sci-fi movie expert Ted Newsom on this DVD is a highlight as Guest reflects on a career that includes enduring titles such as When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth, Casino Royale, and The Quatermass Xperiment. The widescreen disc gets a somewhat "deluxe" ...
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Overview

Born in 1911, director Val Guest recorded the commentary track for The Day the Earth Caught Fire at the age of 90, and from the sound of it he was bright, lucid, and proud as he could be of his 1961 apocalyptic sci-fi classic. His running commentary with journalist and sci-fi movie expert Ted Newsom on this DVD is a highlight as Guest reflects on a career that includes enduring titles such as When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth, Casino Royale, and The Quatermass Xperiment. The widescreen disc gets a somewhat "deluxe" treatment -- the theatrical trailer, four TV spots, four radio spots, a still gallery, and an abbreviated text bio of Guest -- and it's been remastered from "vault materials," according to the jacket copy, and includes the restoration of the orange-tinted scenes that begin and end the tightly paced, dialogue-driven film, which won the British Academy Award for best screenplay.
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Special Features

Widescreen presentation [2.35:1] enhanced for 16x9 TVs; Audio commentary with director Val Guest and journalist Ted Newsom; Theatrical trailer; TV spots; Radio spots; Still gallery; Val Guest bio
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
With no distracting special effects, no gigantic mutant creatures, no troublesome flying saucers, and not even a hideously charred body, The Day the Earth Caught Fire was certainly out of sync with the rest of late '50s and early '60s science fiction cinema. The straightforward story and hard-charging script were awarded with a British Academy Award for Best Screenplay, an indication that audiences didn't need visceral thrills to scare them -- thought-provoking dialogue could be just as chilling. Indeed, director/co-writer Val Guest lets speculation do the scaring in this one, and it works well thanks to the no-nonsense acting -- particularly by leads Leo McKern, Janet Munro, and Edward Judd -- and the realistic pace. The production does a superb job of conveying a sense of heat in every scene -- everyone sweats, everyone complains about the sweltering temperatures -- as the Earth heads for man-made disaster. There are a few scenes that are a bit arch (the whole rebellious beatnik sequence is rather camp), but the ideas imparted in the film stay with you long after you've hit "eject."
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 6/12/2001
  • UPC: 013131142990
  • Original Release: 1961
  • Rating:

  • Source: Starz / Anchor Bay
  • Region Code: 1
  • Aspect Ratio: Cinemascope (2.35:1)
  • Presentation: Wide Screen / Black & White / Dolby 5.1 / Mono
  • Sound: Dolby Digital, monaural
  • Language: English
  • Time: 1:39:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Janet Munro Jeannie
Leo McKern Bill Maguire
Edward Judd Peter Stenning
Bernard Braden News editor
Michael Goodliffe Night editor
Reginald Beckwith Harry
Peter Butterworth 2nd Sub Editor
Gene Anderson May
Arthur Christiansen Editor
Austin Trevor Sir John Kelly
Renée Ashershon Angela
Charles Morgan Foreign Editor
Edward Underdown Sanderson
John Barron Sub Editor
Geoffrey Chater Holroyd
Ian Ellis Michael
Jane Aird Nanny
Robin Hawdon Ronnie
Michael Caine Policeman
Marianne Stone Miss Evans
Technical Credits
Val Guest Director, Producer, Screenwriter
Buster Ambler Sound/Sound Designer
Stanley Black Score Composer, Musical Direction/Supervision
Les Bowie Special Effects
Clifton Brandon Production Manager
Beatrice Dawson Costumes/Costume Designer
Moray Grant Camera Operator
Frank Sherwin Green Associate Producer
Bill Lenny Editor
Wolf Mankowitz Screenwriter
Tony Masters Art Director
Monty Norman Score Composer
Tony Sforzini Makeup
Scott Slimon Set Decoration/Design
Harry Waxman Cinematographer
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Scene Index

Side #1 --
0. Chapter Selections
1. Program Start/ Main Titles [2:54]
2. The End Or The Beginning? [5:13]
3. "Alcoholics of the press unite" [3:50]
4. Sunspot Activity [4:26]
5. Special Edition [6:12]
6. Total Eclipse [4:44]
7. Some Like It Hot [4:23]
8. Fog Bound [4:27]
9. Room With A View [3:36]
10. Bill McGuire's Theory [4:08]
11. "I'm allergic to one night stands" [5:56]
12. Pillow Talk [2:33]
13. "Cyclone Horror" [5:22]
14. Inside Information [3:52]
15. "They've shifted the tilt of the Earth" [4:51]
16. Winds Of Change [4:25]
17. Scorched Earth [5:18]
18. Bad News [5:43]
19. "Water Is Life" [3:48]
20. Proclamation Of Doom [4:10]
21. Wild In The Streets [3:53]
22. Mankind's Epitaph [4:52]
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Menu

Side #1 --
   Extras
      Trailer
      TV Spots
         Spot #1 (:60)
         Spot #2 (:20)
         Spot #3 (:20)
         Spot #4 (:10)
      Radio Spots
         Spot #1 (:60)
         Spot #2 (:30)
         Spot #3 (:30)
         Spot #4 (:15)
      Commentary
         Commentary with Director Val Guest and Journalist Ted Newsom On
         Commentary with Director Val Guest and Journalist Ted Newsom Off
      Still Gallery
      Val Guest Bio
   Play
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 1 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Fantastic Dialogue!

    The dialogue in this film, along with the timing the cast shares makes this a great film. This film, in my opinion ranks high with 'The Thing From Another World' as one of the best screenplays for a Sci-Fi flick. If you like well timed dialogue, and Sci-Fi suspense... get this film!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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