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No Blade of Grass (1970)

When a deadly virus strikes London, John Custance takes his family to hoped-for safety in Scotland.

Director:

Cornel Wilde

Writers:

Sean Forestal (screenplay), Cornel Wilde (screenplay) (as Jefferson Pascal) | 1 more credit »
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1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Nigel Davenport ... John Custance
Jean Wallace ... Ann Custance
John Hamill ... Roger Burnham
Lynne Frederick ... Mary Custance
Patrick Holt ... David Custance
Ruth Kettlewell Ruth Kettlewell ... Fat Woman
M.J. Mathews M.J. Mathews ... George (as M.J. Matthews)
Michael Percival ... Police Constable
Tex Fuller Tex Fuller ... Mr. Beaseley
Simon Merrick Simon Merrick ... T.V. Interviewer (Fred Gray)
Anthony Sharp ... Sir Charles Brenner
George Coulouris ... Mr. Sturdevant
Anthony May ... Pirrie
Wendy Richard ... Clara
Max Hartnell Max Hartnell ... Lieutenant
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Storyline

A strange new virus has appeared, which only attacks strains of grasses such as wheat and rice, and the world is descending into famine and chaos. Architect John Custance, along with his family and friends, is making his way from London to his brother's farm in Scotland, where hopefully, there will be food and safety for all of them. Along the way, they encounter hostile soldiers, biker gangs, and all manner of people who are all too willing to take advantage of travelers for a mouthful of food. Written by Jean-Marc Rocher <rocher@fiberbit.net> (edited by TrivWhiz)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A virus of doom envelops earth! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

23 October 1970 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Death of Grass See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,500,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Theodora Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

The rape scene had nearly a minute and a half deleted from the final cut of the film before release and, to this day, remains lost or undiscovered. The reasoning for the heavy editing was because Lynne Frederick (who was one of the rape victims in the scene) was only 15 at the time and questions of the usage of a body double for Frederick remains a controversial question to this day. See more »

Quotes

Pirrie: Besides, the guilty don't deserve to die as quick as the innocent.
See more »

Alternate Versions

To receive a 'AA' certificate the UK cinema release was heavily cut by the BBFC to remove scenes of sex and violence, which resulted in the running time being reduced by over 15 mins. For the 15 rated MGM video most of the cuts were restored although 1 min 20 secs were still cut from the rape scene. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Inside the Tower (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

Lead Us On
By Charles Carroll
See more »

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User Reviews

 
This motion picture is not a documentary … but it could be. HA!
26 May 2017 | by CoventrySee all my reviews

In case there ever had existed a special type of award entitled: "best movie to make its audience feel guilty about their stupidity and reckless behavior", the price undoubtedly should go to Cornel Wilde's "No Blade of Grass"! Particularly during the opening sequences, but in fact also non-stop throughout the rest of the film, we are confronted with endless shots of pollution and starved animals. A stern voice- over also repeatedly states that only humanity is to be blamed for the destruction of our planet. I've never seen "An Inconvenient Truth" but I'm pretty sure it can't be as preachy as this one. Heck, I even started to feel very guilty and responsible for all the pollution, and I wasn't even born yet when "No Blade of Grass" was released! The first 10-15 minutes of the film solely exist of montages of factory chimneys producing thick clouds of orange smoke, airplanes spraying pesticides, overpopulation, oil spills, deforestation, enormous traffic jams, close-up of cars' gasses, nuclear testing and industries dumping waste into the sewers. Then the eerie voice-over suddenly states: "Then, one day, the polluted earth could take no more…" So, in case it wasn't clear yet, due to continuous pollution, a still unidentified virus destroyed all the earth's crops and the world's cities are rapidly becoming extinct. John Custance wants to lead his wife and daughter to safety, and together with his befriended scientist Roger Burnham, they sneak out of London and head towards Scotland where his brother David has a farming estate. The journey is long and – as they quickly discover – full of danger. They must confront villainous biker gangs that want to rape and murder them, but also regular and once- civilized people like themselves that are prepared to do whatever it takes to survive. "No Blade of Grass" constantly balances between vicious post-apocalypse exploitation and genuine human melodrama. Director Cornel Wilde clearly wants for his film to be a more intelligent and thought-provoking end-of- civilization drama, but it's actually one of the meanest and most violent ones of its kind. The title song is simultaneously powerful and depressing, but unfortunately there are also quite a few dull and unnecessarily slow-paced moments as well as shallow dialogues and stereotypical characters. "No Blade of Grass" is certainly a must-see for fans of bleak apocalyptic cinema, but in all honesty I still expected more from it.


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