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Anyone planning on seeing the new apocalyptic adventure 2012 should catch director Val Guest’s excellent 1961 end of the world drama, The Day the Earth Caught Fire, to see how far we have come since the advent of CGI.

Set in a frantic London newsroom (actually the real-life Daily Express), the film has a group of journos discovering that recent unexplained climatic disasters and constantly rising temperature are the results of atomic testing. Bomb tests by the US and the USSR have knocked the Earth off its axis and now it’s hurtling towards the Sun.

There’s more talk than action (not quite what we are used to with today’s SFX-laden adventures), but the cast is great. Rumpole’s Leo McKern plays the science editor, Edward Judd is an alcoholic reporter, and Janet Munro is the secretary who spills the beans on the testing.

As the world waits for its likely end, teens enjoy riots in the streets and when more bombs are exploded to try to reverse the damage, two newspaper headlines are prepared: World Saved and World Doomed.

To be watched alongside other end of the world masterpieces like When Worlds Collide, Kiss Me Deadly, Crack in the World and Dr Strangelove.

Out on DVD now