Rating: **** Threat: Global famine
MGM. Written by Sean Forestal & Jefferson Pascal based on the novel The Death of Grass by John Christopher; Photographed by H.A.R. Thomson; Special effects by Terry Witherington; Edited by Eric Boyd-Perkins & Frank Clarke; Music arranged by Burnell Whibley; Produced & directed by Cornel Wilde. 97 minutes.
Nigel Davenport (John Custance, architect fleeing London with his family); Jean Wallace (Ann distance, John's wife); Nigel Rathbone (Davy distance, their son); Lynne Frederick (Mary distance, their teenage daughter); John Hamill (Roger Burnham, scientist and Mary's boyfriend); Patrick Holt (David distance, John's brother and owner of a large farm); Anthony May (Andrew Pirrie, gun shop clerk); Wendy Richard (Clara Pirrie, his wife); Christopher Lofthouse (Spooks, Davy's schoolmate); George Coulouris (Mr. Sturdevant, gun shop owner); Ruth Kettlewell (fat lady in pub); M.J. Matthews (George, her companion); Michael Percival (police constable); Tex Fuller (Mr. Beasley, John's lunch companion in flashback); Simon Merrick (TV announcer); Anthony Sharp (Sir Charles Brenner, government ecologist); Norman Atkyns (Dr, Cassup, head of Davy's boarding school); John Avison (Yorkshire sergeant); Jimmy Winston (rapist killed by Ann); Richard Penny, R.C. Driscoll (gang members); Geoffrey Hooper (roadblock spokesman); Christopher Wilson (roadblock gunman); William Duffy (farmer slain by Pirrie); Mervyn Patrick (Joe Ashton, group leader killed by Pirrie); Joanna Annin (Emily, Slain leader's wife); Ross Allan (Alf Parsons, recruit who joins Custance); Joan Ward (Alf's wife); Karen Terry (Alf's daughter); Bruce Miners (Bill Riggs, recruit); Margaret Chapman (Prudence Riggs, Bill's wife); Michael Landy (Jess Arkwright, recruit); Louise Kay (Susan Arkwright, his wife); Brian Crabtree (JoeHarris, recruit); Susan Sydney (Liz Harris, Joe's wife); Bridget Brice (Jill Locke, pregnant woman); Christopher Neame (Locke, Jill's husband); Derek Keller (Scott, recruit); Suzanne Pinkstone (Scott's wife); Surgit Soon (Surgit, Indian recruit) John Buckley (captain); Malcolm Toes (sergeant-major); Cornel Wilde (Narrator; short-wave radio broadcaster).
This is a bleak and unsettling film that escorts the viewer into an unvarnished tour through the darkest regions of human nature. The downward spiral is inexorable, and the audience is offered no ray of hope or comfort in the entire plot. The quality of the film is remarkable, employing a full repertoire of cinematic