A Guide to Apocalyptic Cinema

By Charles P. Mitchell | Go to book overview

The 27th Day (1957)

Rating: *** Threat: Alien weapon

Columbia. Written by John Mantley based on his novel The 27th Day; Photographed by Henry Freulich; Special effects (uncredited) by Ray Harryhausen; Edited by Jerome Thomas; Music arranged by Mischa Bakaleinikoff; Produced by Helen Ainsworth & Lewis J. Rachmil (executive); Directed by William Asher. B & W, 75 minutes.


ANNOTATED CAST LIST

Gene Barry (Jonathan Clark, LA newspaper reporter); Valerie French (Eve Wingate, British tourist); Arnold Moss (alien spokesman); George Voskovec (Klaus Bechner, German scientist); Azenath Janti (Ivan Godofsky, Soviet soldier); Marie Tsien (Su Tan, Chinese peasant); Stefan Schnabel (Soviet premier); Frederick Ledebur (Dr. Karl Neuhaus, U.S. nuclear scientist); Ralph Clanton (Ingram, U.S. national security advisor); Paul Birch (U.S. admiral and head, Joint Chiefs of Staff); Grandon Rhodes (UN secretary-general); Paul Frees (Ward Mason, television broadcaster); Mel Welles (Russian field marshal); Don Spark (Harry Bellows, a painter, Eve's friend); David Bond (Dr. Schmidt, Bechner's associate); Ed Hinton (commander); Mark Warren (Pete, news copy-boy); Monty Ash (Soviet prison doctor); Peter Norman (Soviet prison interrogator); Theodore Marcuse (Gregor, Soviet colonel); Sigfrid Tor (Zamke, Soviet general); Eric Feldary (Russian officer); Weaver Levy (Chinese officer); Robert Forrest (U.S. Air Force general, Joint Chiefs of Staff member); Charles Evans (U.S. Army general, Joint Chiefs of Staff member); John Dodsworth (British broadcaster); Jacques Gallo (French broadcaster); Mark Bennett (Gorki, Soviet spy); Arthur Lovejoy (Bracovich, Soviet spy); John Bryant (FBI agent assigned to protect Beckner); Michael Harris (younger FBI agent); Walda Winchell (hospital nurse); Tom Daly (Joe, bartender in LA); John Mooney (military police captain); Paul Bowker (U.S. Army doctor); Emil Sitka (newspaper hawker); Philip Van Zandt (cab driver).


SYNOPSIS

This modestly budgeted Columbia feature could be basically described as an intellectual cliff-hanger, relying on a strong, well-conceived proposition. There are only a few action scenes in the entire story, but instead of becoming a boring “talking heads” drama, the film is a compelling tale about moral choices, and it generates a fair degree of tension. The apocalyptical threat is fairly unconventional. An alien doomsday weapon, designed as small capsules, is distributed to five earthlings, apparently at random. These weapons will remain active for twenty-seven days and will only destroy human life, leaving animals, buildings and plants unaffected. This premise sets up a well-crafted little thriller.

-3-

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A Guide to Apocalyptic Cinema
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Overview: Cinematic Visions of the Apocalypse xi
  • A Guide to Apocalyptic Cinema: Fifty Films in Depth 1
  • The 27th Day (1957) 3
  • Armageddon (1998) 10
  • Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970) 17
  • Crack in the World (1965) 22
  • The Dawn of the Dead (1978) 27
  • The Day the Earth Caught Fire (1961) 33
  • The Day the Sky Exploded (1958/61) 40
  • Day the World Ended (1956) 44
  • Deep Impact (1998) 48
  • Deluge (1933) 54
  • Doomsday Machine (1967/72) 59
  • Dr. Strangelove Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) 63
  • The End of the World (1930/34) 70
  • Five (1951) 74
  • Holocaust 2000 (1978) 78
  • The Horn Blows at Midnight (1945) 83
  • Kronos (1957) 88
  • The Last Man on Earth (1964) 93
  • The Last War (1961) 98
  • The Last Wave (1977) 103
  • The Last Woman on Earth (1960) 108
  • Lifeforce (1985) 112
  • The Lost Missile (1958) 117
  • The Magnetic Monster (1953) 122
  • The Man Who Could Work Miracles (1936) 127
  • Mars Attacks! (1996) 133
  • Meteor (1979) 139
  • Moonraker (1979) 145
  • The Night the World Exploded (1957) 152
  • Noah's Ark (1929) 157
  • No Blade of Grass (1970) 162
  • No Survivors Please (1964) 168
  • One Night Stand (1984) 172
  • On the Beach (1959) 177
  • Quiet Earth (1985) 184
  • Robot Monster (1953) 189
  • Runestone (1991) 194
  • The Satan Bug (1965) 199
  • The Seventh Sign (1988) 205
  • Solar Crisis (1990) 210
  • Star Trek—the Motion Picture (1978) 214
  • Target Earth (1953) 221
  • Them! (1954) 226
  • Virus (1980) 231
  • Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (1961) 238
  • The War of the Worlds (1953) 243
  • When Worlds Collide (1951) 249
  • Where Have All the People Gone? (1974) 255
  • The World, the Flesh and the Devil (1959) 259
  • Zarkorr the Invader (1996) 265
  • Appendices 269
  • Appendix A 271
  • Appendix B 279
  • Appendix C 283
  • Index 285
  • About the Author 311
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