HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
American Fiction
Poor Things
Thunderclap
Zeiram
Legend of the Bat
Party Line
Night Fright
Pacha, Le
Kimi
Assemble Insert
Venus Tear Diamond, The
Promare
Beauty's Evil Roses, The
Free Guy
Huck and Tom's Mississippi Adventure
Rejuvenator, The
Who Fears the Devil?
Guignolo, Le
Batman, The
Land of Many Perfumes
Cat vs. Rat
Tom & Jerry: The Movie
Naked Violence
Joyeuses Pacques
Strangeness, The
How I Became a Superhero
Golden Nun
Incident at Phantom Hill
Winterhawk
Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City
Maigret Sets a Trap
B.N.A.
Hell's Wind Staff, The
Topo Gigio and the Missile War
Battant, Le
Penguin Highway
Cazadore de Demonios
Snatchers
Imperial Swordsman
Foxtrap
   
 
Newest Articles
3 From Arrow Player: Sweet Sugar, Girls Nite Out and Manhattan Baby
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
   
 
  Day the Earth Caught Fire, The Global Warming
Year: 1961
Director: Val Guest
Stars: Edward Judd, Janet Munro, Leo McKern, Michael Goodliffe, Bernard Braden, Reginald Beckwith, Gene Anderson, Renée Asherson, Arthur Christiansen, Austin Trevor, Edward Underdown, Ian Ellis, Peter Butterworth, Pamela Green, Michael Caine, Marianne Stone
Genre: Science FictionBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Peter Stenning (Edward Judd) is a Daily Express journalist awaiting the biggest story the world has ever seen, but then, so are the rest of the planet. The atmosphere is unbearably hot as he stumbles through the near-deserted streets of London until he reaches the offices of his newspaper and makes his way up to his desk. Sitting at his typewriter, he finds it has jammed due to melting plastic, and calls for someone to take down his story. It was only ninety days ago and the British summer was in full swing, and two events took place that would change things forever...

It caused quite a stir at the time thanks to Cold War fears, but nowadays British science fiction The Day the Earth Caught Fire is almost forgotten. Fuelled by worries that the nuclear arms race was spiralling out of control, the script by Wolf Mankowitz and director Val Guest tapped into a common unease which went beyond simple "Ban the Bomb" slogans and into a warning that if the powers that be didn't take account of themselves and weren't held responsible for their potentially destructive actions, a disaster on a scale that threatened life on Earth might be the end result.

With the emphasis on the word "end". Taking for granted that we know what the story is about before it's even started Guest places us right at the climax and jumps back to the beginning of a season that was drenched in rain, typical of British weather in contrast to what is to come. So if we are already aware that the Earth has heated up dramatically at the start, the question is really about how we ended up in this predicament, and the simple citizens are not the ones to blame. We are represented by the journalists trying to uncover the scandal, and by one of the workers at a government building who finds out more than she should.

She is Jeannie Craig, played by Janet Munro in a performance that has caught the eyes of many male viewers over the years, and not solely because of her out of character for the times nudity. Of course, she and Peter are destined to be together, although we get the impression near-alcoholic divorcée Peter is keen for any female company he can lay his hands on. Yet it's Jeannie who lays a hand on him first when she gives him a slap for being rude to her on the telephone. She soon defrosts after he meets her by the Thames and amps up the charm, just as the river evaporates into a heat mist that sends the capital into confusion.

One thing you'll notice about The Day the Earth Caught Fire is that there's a hell of a lot of talk in lieu of action, but Judd, Munro and the man on the science desk, Leo McKern, help to keep it lively. It doesn't quite stave off theatricality, but with the massive tragedy approaching the tension is sustained. What has happened is that the East and the West superpowers have conducted huge bomb tests and not only has the Earth's axis shifted by a few degrees, but we have been sent hurtling into the very sun itself. And that's why it's getting hotter, and the weather has gone haywire. Occasionally over-symbolic - Peter and Jeannie's passion erupts the night of a cyclone - the film commands attention and valuably depicts a world of Fleet Street journalism from a bygone age. If it were made today, the two Express headlines prepared: "Earth Doomed" and "Earth Saved" would doubtless include something about Princess Diana too. Music by Stanley Black.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 5653 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Val Guest  (1912 - 2006)

British writer, director and producer, best known for his science fiction films, who started on the stage, graduated to film scriptwriting (Will Hay comedies such as Oh! Mr Porter are among his credits) in the 1930s, and before long was directing in the 1940s. He will be best remembered for a string of innovative, intelligent science fiction movies starting with The Quatermass Xperiment, then sequel Quatermass II, The Abominable Snowman and minor classic The Day the Earth Caught Fire.

He also made Frankie Howerd comedy The Runaway Bus, Cliff Richard musical Expresso Bongo, some of Casino Royale, When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth, 1970s sex comedies Au Pair Girls and Confessions of a Window Cleaner, and his last film, the Cannon and Ball-starring The Boys in Blue.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Louise Hackett
Mark Le Surf-hall
Andrew Pragasam
Mary Sibley
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: