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Day of the Triffids [DVD] [1981]


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Product details

  • Actors: John Duttine, Emma Relph, Maurice Colbourne
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: 2 Entertain Video
  • DVD Release Date: 4 April 2005
  • Run Time: 164 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (86 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0006GVKE8
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,664 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

This early 80s BBC adaptation of John Wyndham's cult novel is more faithful to the original story than the controversial 1962 film version that preceded it. When the world wakes up blind, it is left to a a few sighted survivors to work out a future for humanity - and to see off the threat posed by man-eating Triffid plants.

Synopsis

If the notion of being pursued across the countryside by monstrous, ambulatory stalks of rhubarb strikes terror into your soul, then this British TV adaptation of sci-fi novelist John Wyndham's The Day of the Triffids will be right up your hedgerow. If not, well, perhaps its more campy elements will carry the day. As adapted (and significantly abridged) by Douglas Livingstone and directed by Ken Hannam, the story is serialized in six parts, each about 25 minutes long. In the first, we meet protagonist Bill Masen (John Duttine), who knows all about the rhubarb… um, the triffids… having spent some time working among the folks who harvest their valuable oil extracts. Seems these strange plant thingies, whose origin is most mysterious, can not only walk (albeit at a pace that makes The Lord of the Rings trilogy's Ents seem like Olympic sprinters) but kill, subduing victims with their whip-like stingers and then consuming the rotting flesh; indeed, one of the triffids almost nailed our hero, which is why he's hospitalized when we first see him. Next thing you know, some kind of toxic celestial event has lit up the skies and blinded everyone who dared look at it, leaving most of the population sightless and stumbling about the streets of London (and everywhere else); only those who missed the calamitous light show, including Bill and soon-to-be love interest Jo (Emma Relph), can still see, while the triffids, who multiply in frightening numbers, proceed to lay waste to everyone else. There are some interesting ideas developed along the way, including the inevitable breakdown of civilization as the survivors struggle to begin anew while dealing with the implacable triffids. --Sam Graham

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

118 of 120 people found the following review helpful By Greg Hughes on 28 Jun 2005
Format: DVD
This was the mini series that made me discover John Wyndham's work. It's such a pity that Wyndham didn't get to see this adaptation of his most famous book because it captured the feeling of disaster and collapse perfectly.
Having not seen this BBC serial in almost eighteen years, I was resigned to the idea that it would probably never be shown on television again. Therefore I was pleasantly surprised to find that it has now been released on DVD. Watching it again after so many years really took me back.
The DVD just contains the six twenty-five minute episodes. (In Australia we saw it as three one hour episodes.) The booklet that comes with it is very good, I was unaware that there were so many adaptations of "Triffids" on the radio. The booklet did forget to mention there was also a comic strip version in the 1970s but that dosen't really matter. Originally Wyndham imagined the triffids coming from Venus but luckily he changed that idea. Considering what we know about Venus today, this would have dated the story horribly.
The triffids themselves are very well done, resembling giant pitcher plants. Admittedly they don't appear all that threatening, but then plants never do. You'll remember Bill Masen saying it was in fact fashionable to keep a docked triffid as a pet to amuse the children.
Unfortunately John Wyndham only saw the 1963 film; this 1981 version of "The Day of the Triffids" truly retains the spirit of the original book and its sense of irony. Before the comet lights the triffids were fenced in and farmed for their oil. Later in the story it's the human survivors that are fenced in trying to keep the triffids out.
Everyone involved in this production did a good job. This is probably one of the best examples of post apocalypse television. Well worth waiting for.
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70 of 72 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 5 April 2005
Format: DVD
The BBC took ages to release this, and you have to wonder what took them so long. This is the BBCs TV version from 1981, not to be confused with the far inferior film version. It faithfully (with a few minor modifications) reproduces John Wyndham's cult novel and shouldn't be missed by all fans of intelligent science fiction.
Excellent performances from the lead characters and an effective script propel the six half hour episodes along. Unlike most sci-fi dramas of the 80s, there are almost no special effects required or used, so nothing to make today's viewer cringe with embarrassment. The triffids themselves are also naturally 'wooden' and effectively modelled. There is little at all to date this series and it's as thrilling now as it was when first shown.
The DVD itself is pretty bare-boned. No extras other than optional subtitles. It does, however, come with a pretty comprehensively researched booklet that contains all you need to know about John Wyndham and the different versions of Day Of The Triffids there's been. It also does a good job of detailing background information on the TV series.
All in all a bargain at this price and a perfect example of a TV adaptation that's faithful to the book.
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54 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Sally-Anne on 13 April 2005
Format: DVD
John Wyndham's "Day of the Triffids" is one of my favourite books and I had no idea that the BBC had made this serial back in 1981. How was it possible to miss it entirely? Goodness knows. But now I can say that this DVD is the best thing I've seen this year. The book is followed near enough to the letter, with very few serious alterations and gaps. The BBC has been sitting on a treasure. It's so very much better than the 1960s film version, which was hardly recognisable as Wyndham's tale of humanity struck down by its own scientific and technological ingenuity - 'hoist with its own petard', almost literally.
I would have no hesitation in recommending this exceptional television serialisation to fans of the original story. The book has been treated with enormous respect and it's hard to imagine what they could have done to make it any better. The storyline, the script, the acting, the music (amazingly atmospheric music), the cinematography, the triffids - the whole thing - is practically flawless.
Makes you wonder what other unimagined riches the BBC is hiding away, neglected and forgotten in its archives.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Junglies on 13 May 2009
Format: DVD
Growing up in the sixties introduced me to many new ideas which included the burgeoning science fiction movement and almost in tandem the development of the fantasy fiction movement.

While some authers probed beyond the stars, others looked at the science fiction of the near future including the recently deceased J.G. Ballard.

John Wyndam was a sort of bridge between the two, to my mind at least, the link between the fiction of H.G. Wells and that of Ballard and his contemporaries. His books are dense with drama and characters set in the class based system which was very much a part of post war Britain while the author looked ahead to a time when that would be changed.

Attempts to translate the books into movies or television have not been terribly successful, mainly, in my most humble opinion, due to their attempts to make them into horror movies rather than suspenseful dramas, losing much of the message of the novels in the process.

As a cinema-goer, one often hears the cry that the film bears little resemblance to the book, usually in the form of a derogatory comment. Whilst I am always prepared to give the filmaker the benefit of the doubt as the film itself must stand alone, there are some occasions when there is a case for the criticism.

My feeling in this case is that this serialisation remains as close to the text as it possibly can do, particularly given the limited capabilities for special effects in the late seventies and early eighties. Having said that, I feel that the programmes do genuinely reflect the intent of the author and despite some deficiencies in some of the effects, they achieve their objective in serialisation for television.
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