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The Day the Earth Caught Fire (1961)

Unrated | | Drama, Sci-Fi, Romance | 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)
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Won 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »

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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 Reginald Beckwith ... Harry
Gene Anderson Gene Anderson ... May
Renée Asherson ... Angela
Arthur Christiansen Arthur Christiansen ... 'Jeff' Jefferson - Editor
Austin Trevor ... Sir John Kelly
Edward Underdown Edward Underdown ... Dick Sanderson
Ian Ellis 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 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 INCREDIBLE becomes Real! The IMPOSSIBLE becomes Fact! The UNBELIEVABLE becomes True! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Sci-Fi | Romance

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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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:

£200,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

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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Did You Know?

Trivia

Saturday Review magazine cover story, issue date February 10, 1962. Review by Hollis Alpert. See more »

Goofs

Only the extreme left-hand side of Peter Stenning's article "If you find your TV set has developed a nasty measle rash" is about sunspots, as per the dialogue. The remainder is a review of a newly-released book on jazz, referencing John Dankworth and Benny Green. See more »

Quotes

Editor (Jeff): I don't care a tinker's damn about this eclipse of the sun as such; the evening papers will cane it, it'll be dead by tomorrow morning. But what I do care about is why there was an eclipse of the sun ten days before it was due. Bill, this is your department.
Bill Maguire: I don't know why everybody regards me as Nostradamus. Your guess is as good as mine.
Editor (Jeff): Yes, but I don't want guesses, I want facts. Try someone on top. Sir John Kelly...
Bill Maguire: Stenning got in to see Kelly.
Peter Stenning: He had twenty-eight armed guards around ...
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Referenced in Matinee (1993) See more »

Soundtracks

Camptown Races
(uncredited)
Composed by Stephen Foster
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User Reviews

 
Ambiguous Conclusion
30 May 2018 | by Claudio CarvalhoSee all my reviews

After the explosion of nuclear bombs by the United States and the Soviet Unions, the weather in London and in the rest of the world changes. The Daily Express alcoholic reporter Peter Stenning (Edward Judd) meets the telephonist Jeannie Craig (Janet Munro), they fall in love with each other and have a love affair. When Jeannie overhears a conversation, they learn that the explosions have altered by 11 degrees the Earth nutation, changing its orbit. Now the only chance to mankind is to explode bombs again so that the rotation shaft returns to its position. Will Earth be saved or doomed?

"The Day the Earth Caught Fire" is a disaster movie with an interesting storyline and an ambiguous conclusion. Peter Stenning is a non-likable character and his behavior betraying his girlfriend is the weakest part of the story. The conclusion with the newspaper showing two front pages written "World Saved" and "World Doomed" is fantastic. My vote is six.

Title (Brazil): "O Dia em Que a Terra se Incendiou" ("The Day the Earth Caught Fire")


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