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Seven Days to Noon (1950)

An English scientist runs away from a research center with an atomic bomb. In a letter sent to the British Prime Minister he threatens to blow up the center of London if the Government ... See full summary »


(screenplay), (screenplay) | 2 more credits »

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »
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Complete credited cast:
Olive Sloane ...
Superintendent Folland (as Andre Morell)
Sheila Manahan ...
Ann Willingdon
Hugh Cross ...
Stephen Lane
Joan Hickson ...
Mrs. Peckett
The Prime Minister
Marie Ney ...
Mrs. Willingdon
Wyndham Goldie ...
Rev. Burgess
Russell Waters ...
Det. Davis
Martin Boddey ...
Gen. Willoughby
Frederick Allen ...
Himself - BBC Newsreader
Victor Maddern ...
Private Jackson
Geoffrey Keen ...
Merrill Mueller ...
Himself - American Commentator


An English scientist runs away from a research center with an atomic bomb. In a letter sent to the British Prime Minister he threatens to blow up the center of London if the Government don't announce the end of any research in this field within a week. Special agents from Scotland Yard try to stop him, with help from the scientist's assistant future son-in-law to find and stop the mad man. Written by Jean-Marie Berthiaume <jiembe@videotron.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Thriller | Drama


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Release Date:

18 December 1950 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ultimatum  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The bomb is a UR12. See more »


The Special Branch dossier on Willingdon gives his forename as John Francis, with an 1893 birthdate (making him 57, as the film explicitly occurs in 1950). But his Wallingford security ID names him John Malcolm, aged 55; later David refers to him as Professor JT Willingdon. See more »

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User Reviews

Intelligent And Thought Provoking
20 January 2005 | by (Isle Of Bute , Scotland) – See all my reviews

Someone gets hold of an atomic bomb and decides to resort to blackmail . Boy I haven't seen a movie like this for almost a whole week . Can't story tellers think up something new ? Hey wait a minute the blackmailer is a white English guy called Professor Willoughby and SEVEN DAYS TO NOON was made in 1950 !

What can I say about this underrated British masterpiece ? It gives a whole new meaning to the word " Groundbreaking " , every time you see a movie like TRUE LIES featuring a bunch of nutters trying to nuke a city you know where they got the idea from . What makes SEVEN DAYS TO NOON stand out from the movies that followed it is the way it's written and directed . it'd be so easy for Willoughby to be a complete raving headcase but he's written in such a way you'll believe he existed in real life , he's someone who became a scientist to improve the lot of humanity and because of politicians he finds his work being used for destructive means . Do I see hints that this character influenced Nigel Kneale when he wrote his Quatermass stories ? Willoughby's well thought out arguments are interesting even though you might not agree with them .The scenario is helped even further by casting Barry Jones in the role , Jones being an actor who I'd no knowledge of hence I wasn't watching a well known face doing an acting performance I was watching a scientist with serious internal dilemmas . The reality is heightened even further by the Boulting brothers directing in the style of a documentary very similar to the way Fred Zimmerman later directed DAY OF THE JACKAL

As much as I've praised it there are one or two flaws . One is I couldn't take seriously the idea that the government would announce the truth and then evacuate London . Of course Willoughby not being a terrorist is essential to the plot , he won't detonate the bomb if alerted but again the government of the day would know this so why evacuate ? Think about it: Would he be more likely or less likely to press the button if there's ten million Londoners still in the city . I also found Prof Willoughby's ultimate fate very contrived

One other point of interest of this movie is that you're aware of how everything is different in Britain over the preceding decades . They'd be no need to stick posters all over London because television has become the medium for communication , ration books disappeared in 1952 and Britain still had a big enough army to spare four divsions to search for one man , so as a period piece alone SEVEN DAYS TO NOON makes interesting viewing

As a footnote the montage scenes of the soldiers combing London for Willoughby were reused for Hammer's cinema version of THE QUATERMASS EXPERIMENT . What makes this even more interesting is that the screenwriter of SEVEN DAYS TO NOON James Bernard ( Who won an Oscar for this screenplay along with Paul Dehn ) composed the music for THE QUATERMASS EXPERIMENT

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