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The Day of the Triffids (1963)

Approved | | Horror, Sci-Fi | 27 April 1963 (USA)
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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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An epic tale of mankind's self-annihilation in the wake of a cosmic event leading to global blindness. His legacy in genetic engineering changed the hierarchy of nature, toppling mankind's place atop the world's food chain.

Director: Mike Newell
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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:

Fantastic, frightening, but entirely plausible. John Wyndham's famous story of a world dominated by monstrous, stinging plants catches the imagination like the best of HG Wells. See more »

Genres:

Horror | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

27 April 1963 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Invasion of the Triffids See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$750,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor) (uncredited)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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

Goofs

When Bill counts the chimes of Big Ben (the iconic bell in the clock tower of the Palace of Westminster), he is in Moorfields Eye Hospital. This hospital is 2.5 miles from Big Ben and the chimes cannot be heard at that distance. 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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Connections

Referenced in Star Trek: The Trouble with Tribbles (1967) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Realistic, Atmospheric and Memorable Adaptation of John Wyndham's Novel
1 November 2007 | by silverscreen888See all my reviews

This is a well-told film that lacks post-1994 incredible special effects expenditures and massive overspending. What it has is a very solid story line, a number of memorable scenes and a feel of realism about it that adds a great deal I suggest to its eerie sci-fi atmosphere. Its central character, Bill, a career seaman played expertly by Howard Keel, is a man facing an nightmare. The film begins in a small typical and beautifully-presented small London hospital where he has to wait one more day before removing bandages to ensure that his vision will return to normal. Banter with a lovely nurse and his doctor turn into a prescient strangeness the next morning--when Keel awakes to find the hospital abandoned, all floors silent amid signs of damage and swift departure...Telephones are not working either. He removes his bandages to find a world without people. We learn, through his adventures and those of a couple in an isolated lighthouse off the coast, where the husband does scientific experiments and drinks too much, that a shower of meteors watched by billions, have destroyed their optic nerves and thus rendered nearly everyone blind. We soon learn that this is a worldwide phenomenon. In addition, a species of plants called triffids have developed from being small insect eating plants into towering and motile monstrosities that can sting and paralyze then absorb human beings as food. They spray small spores to propagate, are reproducing in millions and thus threaten all remaining human life. Keel picks up a young girl who can also see; and after escaping a crowd of the desperate in London and witnessing an attempt at an airliner landing turning into a massive explosion, they escapes from the city. Thereafter, their adventures deal with the plants' attacks, attempts to reach the continent and a rendezvous in Paris and then one in Spain; but the bulk of the film involves the couples' lonely battle with the triffids on their isolated island, and Keel's final escape from a doomed French haven with Nicole Maurey and the young girls as they make for a submarine pickup, the last scheduled for Europe's remaining sighted persons. The great task that everyone faces during the film is striving against all odds to find some way of defeating the plants as well simply escaping. The piece's screenplay by veteran Philip Yordan, adapted from a good John Wyndham novel, I find to be rather satisfying. Steve Sekely directed in swift-paced and intelligent style. The competent cast besides Keel, a most underrated leading man, include strong Kieron More and Janette Scott as the couple in the lighthouse, Mervyn Johns, Alison Leggatt, Geoffrey Mathews, Ewan Roberts, Janina Faye as the young girl picked up by Keel, Gilgi Hauser, pretty Carol Ann Ford, Colette Wild as the lovely nurse and Victor Brooks, among others. This estimable film was produced by Yordan, with George Pitcher as line producer assisted by Bernard Glasser. Rod Goodwin's musical score is powerful and well-above-average at all points. the cinematography by Ted Moore and Cedric Dawe's gritty art direction are also noteworthy. The film looks back I suggest to previous 1950s color sci-fi efforts; but its plants also became the model for the Star Trek "This Side of Paradise" spore-producing vegetation.. And its generally serious feel was copied many times thereafter, both the lighthouse sequence and the cross-country adventures of keep and his companions. But these achievements have seldom been approached let alone bettered. Anyone viewing the film today I assert should respond to its unusual realism; complaints about a lack of multi-million dollar graphics are undoubtedly more than misplaced. The storyline was a difficult one to capture in a brief film even in the 1960s. I suggest that the makers have done this exacting task rather admirably. Scenes such as the surrounding of an electrified yard by the carnivorous plants, the airliner's approach and crash, and the escape of Keel, Faye and Maurey from her house when it is taken over by convicts deserve critical acclaim. I judge this effort to be one of the most underrated of sci-fi films of all time.


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