6.0/10
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31 user 29 critic

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 »
Reviews
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! No room to run! No place to hide! 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 last film shot at MGM's Borehamwood Studios. Actress Wendy Richard joked, "I successfully closed down Borehamwood Studios. See more »

Quotes

Fat Woman: George, do you know what I think caused the virus? It's 'cause them Chinese fertilize everything with human shit!
[husband George, sitting by her side, ignores her, so she elbows him]
Fat Woman: George, ya hear what I said?
George: [turning to look directly at her] Yes, I did. And if it's true, I could sell you to them chinks for a blooming fortune!
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 »


Soundtracks

No Blade Of Grass
By Cornel Wilde (as Louis Nelius), Mike Curb and Charles Carroll
Sung by Roger Whittaker
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Reverting back to survival.
23 January 2010 | by lost-in-limboSee all my reviews

A bleak and uncompromising straight-laced minor b-grade apocalyptic sci-fi survival tale that's crudely made, but is grippingly constructed (despite a heavy-handed script and typically projected characters) and with committed acting led by the likes of a hardened Nigel Davenport, exuberant Jean Wallace and an unforgettably concentrated Anthony May.

John Custance, his family and friend decide to leave London to stay at his brother's farm in the Lake District, as just like the rest of the world Britain is plagued by a destructive virus caused by pollution that's destroying earth's crops and causing unstoppable panic. On their journey they pick up another couple Pirrie and Clara, but also come across a lot of obstacles and anarchy that would change the way they see things.

I wouldn't call it great, as it's an interestingly uneven production and somewhat cautionary tale that has its moments, but there are some problems evident that stop it being better than what it could have been. The two things that do stand out is the use of quick, fragmented flash forward sequences that take away any real sense of building upon surprises and suspense, to only confuse. Secondly it could have been a little more powerful in it theories of civilised society falling apart, as no one is better than anyone else in their primitive state to keep alive. What it feels like is over-the-top melodramatics and struggles, which aren't boring or emotionally forced but could have used a bit more weight. However what director Cornel Wilde develops is an effective apocalyptic vision of a dying world of dreary images (dead corpses --- humans and animals, decaying plant life and destruction of civilisation) covering brooding forlorn landscapes. Even what should be a peacefully desolated countryside, still provides looming threats outside the chaotic cities. Strangely moments had me thinking of M. Night Shyamalan's 2008 eco-thriller "The Happening". The violence has that exploitative, gritty touch with moments of relentless surges and unsettling intensity. It's not graphic, but it doesn't hold out. Wilde does use some odd, if static filming techniques that show its low budget but add to the moodiness, so does the haunting title song. The score can be harrowing when complementing the visuals, but could find it clunky and overdone. The performances are reasonably brought across, even with the black and white shadings.


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