7.1/10
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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)
Reviews
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
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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:

GBP200,000 (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

Editor James Needs used stock footage from Hammer's The Quatermass Xperiment (1955), also directed by Val Guest, of a fire truck racing through the night past the patrol station in Bray. 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

Peter Stenning: Alcoholics of the press, unite!
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Referenced in Matinee (1993) See more »

Soundtracks

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

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User Reviews

May not sit well with some modern audiences
20 October 2015 | by Wizard-8See all my reviews

British actor Michael Caine (who has a bit role in this movie) once said that a problem with the British film industry is that instead of making "moving pictures" like the Americans often make, British filmmakers quite often make "talking pictures". He added that sometimes it gets worse, with some British films more or less being "illustrated radio".

Well, "The Day the Earth Caught Fire" is not illustrated radio, but for a large part it could be considered a "talking picture". After an admittedly interesting opening, the next hour or so of the movie is quite slow and talky. While it does feel like a more realistic take on a (slowly!) building crisis, I think some people will be severely bored by this section of the movie. An American movie would have thrown in some excitement and some more special effect sequences to make sure the first hour of the movie would hold the audience's attention. Personally, I wasn't really bored by this first hour, but I admit it sure seemed to be padded out at times.

The last half hour does pick up considerably, adding action, tension, and some pretty good special effects. Then there is an ending (which I won't reveal) that I'm sure will frustrate some viewers. I personally didn't mind the ending that much - it was another feature about the movie that made it interesting and unlike so many Hollywood disaster films.

But I'm not everybody. While I did kind of like the movie as a whole, I can see some people really hating it. I would suggest you read more about the movie before deciding whether to see it or not. Each to his own taste.


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