The Day The Earth Caught Fire

Phew – what a scorcher!

SFX - - Dvd & blu- ray -

Re­lease Date: 17 Novem­ber

1961 | 12 | Blu- ray/ DVD Di­rec­tor: Val Guest Cast: Ed­ward Judd, Leo McKern, Janet Munro

“They’ve shifted the tilt of the Earth. The stupid, crazy, ir­re­spon­si­ble bas­tards!” Leo McKern’s sci­ence journo yells, neatly sum­ming up the plot of this grown- up sci- fi drama.

It seeks to show, on a mod­er­ate bud­get, what hap­pens when nu­clear test­ing sends the planet’s cli­mate hay­wire. Cue buses turned over in Pic­cadilly Cir­cus and “Let’s All Meet At The Pub” ads torn down by howl­ing winds, while trou­bled re­porter Peter Sten­ning ( Ed­ward Judd) at­tempts to keep his do­mes­tic life to­gether.

Judd’s ob­du­rate per­for­mance is a weak link – although for­mer real- life news­pa­per ed­i­tor Arthur Chris­tiansen is much worse – and the spe­cial ef­fects some­times fail to do jus­tice to the script. But the film crack­les with en­ergy, has ter­rific lo­ca­tions and rarely re­lents its grip.

Ex­tras: On DVD: com­men­tary with Val Guest and critic Ted New­som; an in­ter­view with Leo McKern ( nine min­utes); a doc­u­men­tary ( 34 min­utes); three vin­tage gov­ern­ment nu­clear films ( 85 min­utes); audio ap­pre­ci­a­tion by critic Graeme Hobbs ( nine min­utes); plus trail­ers, TV and ra­dio spots, im­age gallery, book­let and clas­sic PSA “Think Bike”. The Blu- ray ( rated) adds a 1988 Guest in­ter­view ( 63 min­utes). Rus­sell Lewin

Watch for a brief ap­pear­ance by a young Michael Caine as a po­lice­man help­ing Judd through the traf­fic in dense fog.

Looks like some­thing else is catch­ing fire. Eh. Eh?

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