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Invasion of the Triffids (1963)

The Day of the Triffids (original title)
Approved | | Horror, Sci-Fi | 27 April 1963 (USA)
Trailer
2:21 | Trailer
After an unusual meteor shower leaves most of the human population blind, a merchant navy officer must find a way to conquer tall, aggressive plants which are feeding on people and animals.

Directors:

Steve Sekely, Freddie Francis (uncredited)

Writers:

Bernard Gordon (screenplay), Philip Yordan (front for Bernard Gordon) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Howard Keel ... Bill Masen
Nicole Maurey ... Christine Durrant
Janette Scott ... Karen Goodwin
Kieron Moore ... Tom Goodwin
Mervyn Johns ... Mr. Coker
Ewan Roberts ... Dr. Soames
Alison Leggatt Alison Leggatt ... Miss Coker
Geoffrey Matthews Geoffrey Matthews ... Luis de la Vega
Janina Faye ... Susan
Gilgi Hauser Gilgi Hauser ... Teresa de la Vega
John Tate John Tate ... Captain - SS Midland
Carole Ann Ford ... Bettina (as Carol Ann Ford)
Arthur Gross ... Flight 356 Radioman
Colette Wilde Colette Wilde ... Nurse Jamieson (as Collette Wilde)
Ian Wilson ... Greenhouse Watchman
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Storyline

A shower of meteorites produces a glow that blinds anyone that looks at it. As it was such a beautiful sight, most people were watching, and as a consequence, 99% of the population go blind. In the original novel, this chaos results in the escape of some Triffids: experimental plants that are capable of moving themselves around and attacking people. In the film version, however, the Triffids are not experimental plants. Instead they are space aliens whose spores have arrived in an earlier meteor shower. Written by Murray Chapman <muzzle@cs.uq.oz.au>, edited by Triffid Fan

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Beware the triffids... they grow... know... walk... talk... stalk... and kill! See more »

Genres:

Horror | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The novel, published by Penguin Books, sold over a million copies by 1981. It's been translated into several languages. John Wyndham wrote the novel in 1951; by 1981 it had been reprinted 34 times. See more »

Goofs

Tom and Karen are on a lighthouse situated on rocks when triffids appear. Tom turns a fire hose on them spraying the with salt water which causes them to melt in which case hoe did they survive the spray from the waves crashing on the rocks. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Narrator: [narrating voice over] In nature's scheme of things, there are certain plants which are carnivorous, or eating plants. The Venus Fly Trap is one of the best known of these plants. A fly drawn to the plant by its sweet syrup, brushes against triggered bristles. Just how these plants digest their pray has yet to be explained. There is much still to learn about these fascinating eating plants. This is a newcomer: Triffidus Celestus, brought to earth on the meteorite during the Day of ...
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Alternate Versions

On some video versions, Bernard Gordon's name has been inserted into the writing credits. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Dead End (1985) See more »

User Reviews

 
Spectacularly campy.
2 June 2005 | by lost-in-limboSee all my reviews

A intensely colourful and bright meteor shower covered the sky one night blinding most of the world's population and making people defenseless to man eating plants called "Triffidus Celestus'' that were grown from meteor-borne spores. Though, there are some people that can see. An American seaman whose eyes were bandaged during the meteor shower is battling his way through triffids and helping out people. While, a couple in a lighthouse are fending off Triffids and trying to find a way to stop them.

John Wyndham's novel was brought to the big screen in this classic Sci-Fi with an A-grade story with b-grade effects, but it holds up fairly well. This is incredibly engaging kitsch with a nice idea that's very imaginative and it gives us a thrilling enough adventure. The film might be rough around the edges, but still it's rather effective because of a riveting story that we don't know what to expect and a solid lead performance by Howard Keel.

It's a film of two halves making it fairly uneven. The opening half creates such a grand apocalyptic feel, becoming quite unsettling at times with good location photography of an eerie London that captures such a mysterious vibe. It's indeed very atmospheric. While the second half slows down a bit and kinda goes berserk with its stars "The Triffids". It's rather amusing when they're moving about and springing out of nowhere, but because of that it drifts away from the edginess of the opening half and becomes rather padded.

Throughout the story we follow an American seaman trying to get to safety and helping blind people on his way and then there's a couple stranded in a lighthouse. While the first of the two is definitely the most interesting, but after a while it starts to fizzle out and leads to anticlimax. While the sequences with the couple (there weren't many) were mostly dull because of the bland dialogue and her constantly screaming and him constantly yelling, but the set-up for them was interesting enough. However, the climax involving the lighthouse couple is tense and exciting.

The special effects were rather ordinary, cheap and shoddy. Visually wise it was quite stunning and vibrant, with the lights in the sky as the meteor shower were fairly hypnotizing. There was good composition with colour and lighting. Though, the plants don't look terribly great and will cause a chuckle, but still they are a sight to see, as they look wicked and rather horrendous in nature or maybe just plain ridiculous. Most of the violence happened off screen/implied. The music score was rather enforcing and good in keeping such downbeat mood. There are some incredibly well staged sequences and there are scenarios in the story that lacked logic and cohesion, but it didn't bother me too much.

Howard Keel was fairly spirited and witty in his role. There are some fair if mundane support roles from Nicole Maurey, Alison Leggatt, Mervyn Jones and Janina Faye. While Kieron Moore and Janette Scott as the couple were rather shallow in their portrayals and that's mostly because they aren't given much screen time.

The mysterious opening 45-minutes is engrossing and builds tension and uneasiness nicely. The pretty routine mid-section gets bogged down and is far less involving. Some interesting sub-plots add some life and another dimension in the slow mid-section. While leading up to the ending it has some bizarre visuals of the triffids and some entertaining moments. Though, when it came to the ending for me it just came across forced and hard to swallow.

It's really nothing fancy, but overall it's an entertaining effort with ordinary special effects and cheesy dialogue that seem to add a lot of charm too it all.


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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

27 April 1963 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Day of the Triffids See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$750,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor) (uncredited)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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