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The Day the Earth Caught Fire (1961)

Unrated | | Drama, Romance, Sci-Fi | May 1962 (USA)
When the U.S. and Russia unwittingly test atomic bombs at the same time, it alters the nutation (axis of rotation) of the Earth.

Director:

Val Guest

Writers:

Wolf Mankowitz (written for the screen by), Val Guest (written for the screen by)
Reviews
Won 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Janet Munro ... Jeannie Craig
Leo McKern ... Bill Maguire
Edward Judd ... Peter Stenning
Michael Goodliffe ... 'Jacko' Jackson - Night Editor
Bernard Braden Bernard Braden ... 'Dave' Davis - News Editor
Reginald Beckwith ... Harry
Gene Anderson Gene Anderson ... May
Renée Asherson ... Angela
Arthur Christiansen Arthur Christiansen ... 'Jeff' Jefferson - Editor
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Storyline

Hysterical panic has engulfed the world after the United States and the Soviet Union simultaneously detonate nuclear devices causing a change to the nutation (axis of rotation) of the Earth. 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 | Romance | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was made in black and white but in some original prints, the opening and closing sequences are tinted orange-yellow to suggest the heat of the sun. It was shot with 35 mm anamorphic lenses using the French Dyaliscope process. See more »

Goofs

The "Daily Mail" piece headlined "Met. office girl on secrets charge" seems to be about former US President Eisenhower. See more »

Quotes

[Scientist Sir John Kelly speaks to quell public fears on TV, watched by journalists in a pub:]
Sir John Kelly: When one considers the Moon is 240,000 miles away and the Sun ninety-three million, it is an extraordinary thing that astronomers can tell with such a degree of accuracy what their movements will be many years ahead.
Bill Maguire: Now, what does that mean?
Peter Stenning: It means he doesn't know what it's all about.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The credits say introducing Edward Judd, but he has 39 listed credits before this movie. See more »

Alternate Versions

According to director Val Guest, there were two versions of the film. The original version had a topless scene with Janet Munro, and "one for the Americans" in which she has a strategically placed towel around her neck. See more »

Connections

Featured in Mark Kermode's Secrets of Cinema: Disaster Movies (2019) See more »

Soundtracks

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

User Reviews

 
An underrated sci-fi classic
30 March 2004 | by vmwritesSee all my reviews

This 1961 classic is truly underrated. Performances by Janet Munro and the great Leo McKern (Rumpole of the Bailey) are quite good, and Edward Judd, whose career is introduced in this movie come together to create a create a sense of building tension as the audience finds out the reason for the strange changes in weather.

Judd plays his character a little roughly, but that is to be understood, given his problems with his divorce and visitation with his young son.

Leo McKern's dialogue and facial expressions are superb and create the perfect persona of the seasoned veteran science writer who interprets and unravels the mystery for us.

Janet Munro, who died prematurely in her thirties gave a very acceptable performance for a young starlet, who keeps reporter Pete Stenning (Judd) at bay, then feeds him the critical information that blows open the story. I have two copies - One I taped from TV in the 80's, and another that I bought new. My sci-fi collection wouldn't be complete without it.


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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

May 1962 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Day the Earth Caught Fire See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

GBP200,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Pax Films See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Black and White (with tinted sequences)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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