The Day The Earth Caught Fire
Phew – what a scorcher!
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?