7.2/10
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70 user 67 critic

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

Production Co:

Pax Films See more »
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

Edward Judd receives 'and introducing' credit. See more »

Goofs

The solar eclipse could not possibly be advanced in time by eleven days, unless the moon was accelerated along its orbit. What would happen, and what would have been believably portrayed in the movie, was for the track of the eclipse to be shifted to another part of the Earth. The eclipse would have been expected much further south, but since the earth's axis was shifted, moving London closer to the monsoon belt, it also shifted it under the eclipse path so that London, instead of not being in the path at all, ended up in at least the path of partiality, if not the center of the path where totality would occur. See more »

Quotes

Peter Stenning: Hello, Pat.
Pat Holroyd: Well.
Peter Stenning: It's a bit better than Picture Post, isn't it?
Pat Holroyd: Stenning, what the hell do you want?
Peter Stenning: A quote on sun-spots.
Pat Holroyd: Sun-spots?
Peter Stenning: Look, just tell me that the static, the monsoon, the compass trouble, and the terrible shows we get on television are all caused by sun-spots, and that the sun-spots are caused by bigger bomb experiments, and I'll leave you in peace.
Pat Holroyd: Well, there usually is a bit of extra sun-spot activity this time of year, old boy, but I don't think it has much to do with ...
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Alternate Versions

Although listed as cut by the BBFC, the then censor John Trevelyan passed the film uncut according to his memoirs. The 'X' certificate was given due to the subject matter, and occasional tough language, being unsuitable for anyone under the age of 16. Video and DVD releases are now rated PG. See more »

Connections

References Annie Get Your Gun (1950) See more »

Soundtracks

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

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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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