The Day of the Triffids

Year: 1963

Production: Security Pictures / Allied Artists

Director: Steve Sekely

Starring: Howard Keel, Nicole Maurey, Janette Scott, Kieron Moore

Screenwriter: Philip Yordan

Based on The Day of the Triffids (1951) by John Wyndham

94 minutes; Color


This unsuccessful version of a good novel had a moderately generous budget, but no sense whatever of how sf works. Thus there is plenty of preaching, lots of florid love interest, but only intermittent attention paid to the basic situation, which, while silly, should have been interesting: most of England's population blinded by light from a meteor shower, and a small group, still sighted, trying to cope with attacks from lethal 7ft (2.1m) mobile vegetables. The triffids are more absurb than frightening.

The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction

The most lavish of the adaptations of the works of John Wyndham (which include Village of The Damned [1960] and Children of The Damned [1963], both derived from The Midwich Cuckoos, and Quest for Love [1971]), this is an overblown, turgid film, full of heavy moralizing and out-of-place romantic interludes. Matters were made even worse by the film's stop-start production: it was only completed a year after major filming was finished. Accordingly, in place of Wyndham's typically British response to the notion of the Battle of Britain and a concern with the imminent collapse of a certain (rather prim middle-class) way of life, the film transforms the novel into a simplistic adventure story.

Keel (who rewrote his own dialog, he thought Yordan's was so bad) is the American naval officer (whose eyes are bandaged when a shower of meteorites blinds most of humanity) who leads an ill-assorted group of sighted people (including Scott, Maurey, and Faye's little girl) against the Triffids. The Triffids, 7-foot-high galloping broccoli (an English monster, if ever there was one) are simply ludicrous and the climax, Keel, having discovered the giant vegetables are attracted by sound, luring them to a saltwater grave over a cliff top, is remarkably similar to that of The Beginning of the End (1957).

The Overlook Film Encyclopedia - Science Fiction

Related links:
Classic Science Fiction Reviews at scifi.com


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