“The Day the Earth Caught Fire”, directed by Val Guest

Movie, 1961

Ecological disaster film, which skillfully drives atmosphere and captures a feeling of desperation and panic, largely through the familiar settings, economic use of effects and subplots, which threaten to plod, but never do. This is a film which is instantly gripping and which ratchets up the tension as Planet Earth is battered by a mankind seemingly intent on self-annihilation. Some robust acting – Leo McKern is particularly good – and some themes which are as fresh today as they would have been in the early 1960s. Gripping, thoughtful and entertaining – good stuff all round.

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