When the USA and Russia simultaneously test nuclear bombs, the Earth is knocked off its axis and set on a collision course with the sun. As the planet inexorably heats up and society slowly breaks down, Peter Stenning (Edward Judd), a washed-up Daily Express reporter, breaks the story and sets about investigating the cover-up.
Made at a time when the nuclear threat of the Cold War loomed large, The Day the Earth Caught Fire is an expertly crafted sci-fi that boasts a BAFTA-winning screenplay, gritty characters and a vision of end-of-days London that really burns. It also stars Leo McKern (TV’s Rumpole of the Bailey), Janet Munro (The Trollenberg Terror) and one-time Daily Express editor Arthur Christiansen. Many scenes were filmed on location in London at the former Daily Express building on Fleet Street and in the surrounding area.
THE BFI RESTORATION RELEASE
Newly re-mastered by the BFI National Archive, this definitive version of the 1961 British sci-fi is released on DVD and Blu-ray this week in the UK as part of the BFI’s Sci-Fi: Days of Fear and Wonder season. Both formats contain a wealth of must-see extras, including an audio commentary with director Val Guest, a newly-created 34-minute documentary, a selection of vintage bomb-related films (which is a great use of the BFI’s wealth of film archive materials) and much more. Plus, there’s a Blu-ray exclusive: The Guardian Lecture from 1998, in which Val Guest and his wife, actress Yolande Dolan are interviewed by David Meeker, filmed at the National Film Theatre. Click here to order now.
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