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The Day the Earth Caught Fire (1961)

Unrated  |   |  Drama, Sci-Fi, Romance  |  May 1962 (USA)
7.2
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 3,014 users  
Reviews: 59 user | 65 critic

When the USA and Russia unwittingly test atomic bombs at the same time, it alters the nutation (axis of rotation) of the Earth.

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Title: The Day the Earth Caught Fire (1961)

The Day the Earth Caught Fire (1961) on IMDb 7.2/10

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Won 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Jeannie Craig
...
Bill Maguire
Edward Judd ...
Peter Stenning
...
'Jacko' Jackson - Night Editor
Bernard Braden ...
'Dave' Davis - News Editor
Reginald Beckwith ...
Harry
Gene Anderson ...
May
Renée Asherson ...
Angela
Arthur Christiansen ...
'Jeff' Jefferson - Editor
Austin Trevor ...
Sir John Kelly
Edward Underdown ...
Dick Sanderson
Ian Ellis ...
Michael Stenning
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Storyline

Hysterical panic has engulfed the world after the United States and the Soviet Union simultaneously detonate nuclear devices and have caused the orbit of the Earth to alter, sending it hurtling towards the sun. Written by Fernando <diamond@argenet.com.ar>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

THE PICTURE THAT GIVES YOU A FRONT SEAT TO THE MOST JOLTING EVENTS OF TOMORROW...TODAY! (original U.S. print ad - all caps) See more »

Genres:

Drama | Sci-Fi | Romance

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

May 1962 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

...e la Terra prese fuoco  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Color:

(with tinted sequences)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The realistic newspaper footage was shot in the Fleet Street offices of Express Newspapers and gives a vivid picture of the "old" London Fleet Street industry (most British newspapers have now moved out of this area, which was famous as a press centre). "Express" editor Arthur Christiansen plays himself in the film. See more »

Goofs

We see a copy of the "New York Daily Record" - but a later edition of the "Daily Mail" is dated to June. (The Express detailing water rationing plans is dated Friday July 27th 1962.) See more »

Quotes

[Jeannie is working as a telephone operator; this is the first time she's talking with Peter Stenning]
Peter Stenning: Look, just tell Mr. Holroyd!
[aside to Leo]
Peter Stenning: This girl's a bigger threat than radiation!
Jeannie Craig: I heard that remark.
See more »

Crazy Credits

There are no end credits whatsoever (not even a "The End" caption); merely a fade to black. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Matinee (1993) See more »

Soundtracks

Camptown Races
(uncredited)
Composed by Stephen Foster
See more »

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User Reviews

 
O-oh, the weather outside is frightful...
11 December 2005 | by (the Draconian Swamp of Unholy Souls) – See all my reviews

Good old-fashioned, black & white Science Fiction/disaster-movie classic that effectively emerges two giant contemporary fears at once, namely the Cold War and the rapidly evolving nuclear science. Whereas most other 60's Sci-Fi movies used the versatile side-effects of nuclear testings for grotesque apocalypse stories, involving mutated animals or even people, the premise of "The Day the Earth Caught Fire" is much more realistic and genuinely disturbing. A duo of Daily Express reporters discover, with the help of a weather girl, that the earth has been tilted off its axis because both the Russians and the Americans ignited their H-bombs simultaneously. The unusually high temperatures in Londen, as well as other inexplicable weather phenomenons, indicate that our planet is moving towards the sun very fast. Despite an obvious lack budget, director Val Guest (creator of other genre milestones such as "The Quatermass Experiment" and "The Abominable Snowman") did everything possible to make this film look like a captivating and paranoid drama. The images of a dying Londen, enshrouded in fog and heat, are truly atmospheric and there also are some very intelligent extra elements added, like new epidemics as a result of water shortness. Surprisingly enough, there's even room for an honest (and credible, for once) love-story between the cynical reporter and the overly-emotional weather-girl. Personally, I didn't really like the ending but it does typify 60's cinema greatly. The acting performances are splendid, with Leo McKern ("X-the Unknown"), Edward Judd ("Island of Terror") and the adorable Janet Munro (former child star of "Swiss Family Robinson"). The Day the Earth Caught Fire is a vastly underrated Sci-Fi gem, probably because it wasn't a Hammer production, and genre fans should urgently re-discover it. Highly recommended!


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