The Day the Earth Caught Fire

Year: 1961

Production: British Lion / Pax / Universal

Director: Val Guest

Starring: Edward Judd, Janet Munro, Leo McKern

Screenwriter: Wolf Mankowitz, Val Guest

Novelization (1961) by Barry Wells

90 minutes; B/W

Val Guest, who had made The Quatermass Xperiment (The Creeping Unknown) (1956) and other sf/horror films for Hammer in the 1950s, excelled himself with this intelligent disaster movie about the Earth falling into the Sun after a reckless series of H-bomb tests have knocked it out of orbit. Only more nuclear explosion, properly placed, can save it. The film is made in a crisp, low-key, pseudo-documentary manner, with much of the action set in the offices of the London Daily Express newspaper (with former editor Arthur Christiansen playing himself). Les Bowie's low-budget special effects are surprisingly good, including shots of the Thames completely evaporating in the heat.

The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction

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