The Day the Earth Caught Fire

( 1 )

Overview

Despite its come-on title, The Day the Earth Caught Fire is an intelligent, disturbing piece of speculative fiction. Through the eyes of British reporter Peter Stenning Edward Judd, we learn that both the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. have simultaneously set off nuclear explosions to test their efficiency. The twin blasts have caused the Earth to go off its axis. The result is a disastrous upheaval in the balance of nature; floods and fires being the principal plagues. With the end of the world staring everyone in the ...
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Overview

Despite its come-on title, The Day the Earth Caught Fire is an intelligent, disturbing piece of speculative fiction. Through the eyes of British reporter Peter Stenning Edward Judd, we learn that both the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. have simultaneously set off nuclear explosions to test their efficiency. The twin blasts have caused the Earth to go off its axis. The result is a disastrous upheaval in the balance of nature; floods and fires being the principal plagues. With the end of the world staring everyone in the face, chaos reigns. The only hope lies in another massive nuclear explosion, which will hopefully rebalance the Earth. The film ends ambiguously, with viewers allowed to decide for themselves whether or not the world has been saved. In the original prints of The Day the Earth Caught Fire, the opening and closing reels were tinted yellow, representing the scorching heat beating down on the frightened populace.
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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: 013131157635
  • Original Release: 1961
  • Rating:

  • Source: Starz / Anchor Bay
  • Format: VHS

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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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
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews