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The Day the Earth Caught Fire (DVD)

4.8 out of 5 stars 63 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Edward Judd, Janet Munro, Leo McKern, Michael Goodliffe, Bernard Braden
  • Directors: Val Guest
  • Format: Dolby, PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 12
  • Studio: Bfi
  • DVD Release Date: 17 Nov. 2014
  • Run Time: 99 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00M2WZXME
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 63,774 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
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Product description

Product Description

THE DAY THE EARTH CAUGHT FIRE (1962)
A film by Val Guest

Newly remastered by the BFI National Archive, this is the definitive version of the classic British science fiction thriller.

When the USA and Russia simultaneously test atomic 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 government 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 film that boasts a BAFTA winning screenplay, gritty characters and a vision of end-of-days London that really burns. Also starring Leo McKern (Rumpole of the Bailey) and Janet Munro, and directed by veteran filmmaker Val Guest (The Quatermass Xperiment).

Special features

  • Brand new 4K transfer by the BFI National Archive
  • Hot Off the Press: Revisiting the Day the Earth Caught Fire (John Kelly, 2014, 32 mins): a newly filmed documentary
  • Audio commentary with Val Guest and Ted Newsom
  • An Interview with Leo McKern (Paul Venezis, 2001, 10 mins)
  • The Day the Earth Caught Fire: An Audio Appreciation by Graeme Hobbs (9 mins)
  • Original trailer, TV spots and Radio spots
  • Stills and Collections Gallery
  • The H-bomb (David Villiers, 1956, 21 mins): civil defence information film demonstrating the damage that might be expected from a ten megaton bomb
  • Operation Hurricane (Ronald Stark, 1952, 33 mins): a documentary exploring the work involved in, and the research behind Britain's first atomic bomb tests
  • The Hole in the Ground (David Cobham, 1962, 30 mins): a dramatization of a nuclear attack demonstrating the operation of Britain's warning system for atomic war
  • Think Bike (1978, 1 min): road safety film with Edward Judd
  • Fully illustrated booklet with extensive credits and newly commissioned essays from John Oliver and Marcus Hearn

UK | 1962 | black & white | English language, with optional hard-of-hearing subtitles | Original aspect ratio 2.35:1 |

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
Despite being something of a sci-fi movie fan, irrespective of the age of the production, the British-made 'The Day the Earth Caught Fire' is one of several older films which had passed me by. So when I saw a promo for a review of this newly-issued and remastered Blu-ray it got my attention, as I'd never even heard of the interesting film title.

So, now having bought and watched this Blu-ray I can say that it is a very decent watch, despite some fairly unconvincing special-effects, and it is presented very well in HD; I'm confident that movie aficionado's and pre-existing fans of the film will testify that it has never looked as good as it does on this remastered BFI production and that they have also provided a decent collection of extras on the disc.

The Amazon synopsis for this film on this webpage describes the plot very well, but if you don't want to know the crucial driving force to the story you should leave well alone so the 'breaking news' aspect of it, which is slowly revealed during the film, is not spoiled for you...

What came across as the significant aspect of this film is courtesy of it being British, meaning that the story concentrates on covering events in the UK and that the cast (and crew/director) are British - which adds to a particular cinematic British 'flavour' and also means of course that the settings will be far more familiar to 'us'.

That 'flavour' was immediately obvious to me, not just because the opening scene is in London but also since the style of the story was portrayed in a certain 'gritty'/no nonsense way, which is not how Hollywood might have treated things....
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
THE DAY THE EARTH CAUGHT FIRE [1961] [Blu-ray] The INCREDIBLE becomes Real! The IMPOSSIBLE becomes Fact! The UNBELIEVABLE becomes True!

‘The Day The Earth Caught Fire’ [1961] A film by director Val Guest. Newly remastered by the BFI National Archive and available on Blu-ray for the very first time, this is the definitive version of veteran filmmaker Val Guest [The Quatermass Xperiment] of this classic British science fiction thriller. When the USA and Russia simultaneously test atomic 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 government cover-up.

This scorching vision of end-of-days of London and was 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 film that boasts a BAFTA® Award winning screenplay, gritty characters and a vision of end-of-days London that really burns. Also starring Leo McKern [Rumpole of the Bailey] and Janet Munro, plus real life reporter Bernard Braden and one-time Daily Express editor Arthur Christiansen.

FILM FACT: Val Guest and Wolf Mankowitz received the 1962 BAFTA® Awards for the Best Film Screenplay for ‘The Day the Earth Caught Fire.’ The film, which was partly made on location in London and Brighton, used matte painting to create images of abandoned cities and desolate landscapes. The production also featured the real Daily Express, even using the paper's own headquarters, the Daily Express Building in Fleet Street, London.
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Would I be wrong to say that pound for pound this was one of the best Science Fiction Films ever made? OK the special effects are dated without doubt but at the time this film was made this was all new. The characters play their part well and Edward Judd, arrogant in real life apparently, was ideally cast for his part. Janet Monroe ... taken so early in life ... is the girl and how good it was to see Leo McKern and Bernard Braden do their bit too. The inclusion of real life editor Arthur Christianson was a master stroke and I actually failed to spot Michael Caine as the uncredited policeman. Great to see again!
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I believe that this was a B movie originally and as such it suffers from having low production values which impact on the special effects. So why do I like it? Well the story is interesting, it has great London locations such as Battersea Park Fun Fair which I remember as a child, and the documentary style of the film makes it unusual for it's time.The central performances from Leo McKern and Edward Judd hold the film together and bring a great human dimension to what could be viewed as a science fiction film.It is that of course, but also a human drama.The new BFI version comes with a Directors Commentary and features a first rate restoration and digital clean up which makes the film look great.
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The day the earth caught fire is British science fiction at its best and the 4k transfer makes it look sumptuous..! This blu ray disc is also crammed with rather nice extras
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By Max VINE VOICE on 17 Sept. 2015
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
I would really recommend this film to any Sci-fi or British cinema fan. This is Director Val Guest's masterpiece (having been involved in other Sci-Fi projects like The Quatermass Xperiment). It explores the worry and threat of the atomic bomb and the consequences to human's desire to advance these weapons of mass destruction. However it's twist is that all this is done from the perspective of the newsmen and woman. Through this we follow Edward Judd's character attempting to get the news out there that the earth (because of the atomic bomb tests) has changed it's regular obital path and is headed straight towards the sun.

This is an emotional rollercoaster of a film that dispenses with the usual alien's and monsters and has humans cast as both the threat and the saviour to Earth. The two leads, Judd and Munro, are really very good and their side-relationship enthralling. This new Blu-ray release from BFI is fantastic and gives this gem of a film the high-def transfer is really needed. Highly recommended and the story is still relevant to today.
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