Friday, 4 March 2011

15 Genre Gems That You Probably Missed #2 The Day The Earth Caught Fire

THE DAY THE EARTH CAUGHT FIRE was made in 1961 when nuclear hysteria and the cold war were in full swing, but it has lost none of its ability to chill.

Two nuclear tests take place on opposite sides of the globe within a short time frame and the combined effect of the blasts shifts the axis of the Earth's rotation. This in turn means that the orbit is shifted into a slow fall towards the sun.

This manifests itself in freak weather conditions, temperature rises, water rationing and the threatened breakdown of all human civilisation.

The very human people at the heart of this tale are a floundering newspaper reporter (Edward Judd, never better), the girl he meets through the story and who might just be able to save him from himself if someone else can save the world (the very sexy Janet Munro) and a crotchety old hack with a heart in the right place under the cynical exterior (the inestimable Leo McKern).

The story plays out in almost documentary style as the reporters dig into the story of freak weather conditions and slowly learn the horrifying truth. The arrival of equipment to set up communal showers and water rationing is brilliantly chilling and the ending - oh that terrible tease of an ending.

This is out on DVD and at a good price, so rush out and buy it now. You won't be disappointed that you did.

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