I’m a sucker for a good bit of science fiction so I was excited to watch this one again for my review of The 27th Day (1957)
What’s going down?
A mysterious shadowy figure appears. With a clear and forceful voice he invites five random people from differing nations. “Come with me please“. Wide eyed and fearful they vanish in a bright light. An English lady, an American Reporter, a Chinese villager, a German physicist and Soviet soldier. Five representatives of Planet Earth. Five souls left with the formidable task of saving the human race. When consciousness returns to the five they find themselves seated in a strange futuristic room. Greeted by the figure. “You can call me, The Alien“. They soon discover they are out of this world.
Tasked with a mission so deadly that it would mean the end of all human life on our blue planet. Each receive a small device with enough deadly power to wipe out life within a 3000 mile diameter. The capsules can only be opened by the owner’s mind. To will them open. However once opened the power is free to be used by whomever. The Alien and his race wish to inhabit Earth before their own planet dies. Luckily they have a moral code from killing intelligent life. If these five humans can hold out from killing each other for 27 days the devices will become useless. Will the Cold War between the Superpowers suddenly become hot? Each paranoid if they don’t strike first the other will. The dilemma for our five is how are they gonna keep these devices out of their Governments hands?
Five people given the power to destroy nations! What will they do? What would you do?
The main players
Gene Barry is Jonathan Clark
Valerie French is Evelyn Wingate
George Voskovec is Professor Klaus Bechner
Azemat Janti is Ivan Godofsky
Arnold Moss is The Alien
Stefan Schnabel is The Soviet General
Marie Tsien is Su Tan
Tagline – The 27 Most Terrifying Days in History!
Sure I’ve seen them in something?
Gene Barry is most famous for his role as Dr Frank Addison in the superb adaption of H G Wells sci-fi classic The War of the Worlds (1953). Whereas I’m not a fan of Steven Spielberg’s 2005 remake it was wonderful to see that Gene Barry and his original leading lady Ann Robinson from the 1953 film got to play a married couple just before the death destroying aliens reign down terror and pure destruction.
London born beauty Valerie French brings some eye candy to Earth’s shattering dilemma. She had once been crowned Miss Galaxy and is said to have posed semi naked for a gentlemen’s publication with the awesome title of The Dude Magazine in the 50’s. Yes of course I have googled imaged her. She is gorgeous. Unfortunately the images are very small otherwise I’d have posted them on here. Worth an excursion. But there are these two lovely promo shot’s.
Now Western movie fans will know Valerie French well as she played the sexy lead in Jubal (1956) where she plays the sexually frustrated wife of Ernest Borgnine with the hots for Glenn Ford. Plus another western alongside Randolph Scott in Decision At Sundown (1957) which I haven’t seen.
A fun little bit of trivia I learnt about Valerie French. She was the sister-in-law, for a little while, to Jon Pertwee aka the third Doctor Who and that crazy scarecrow with the removable heads, Worzel Gummidge.
Notes on production?
The 27th Day is directed by William Asher. Who would go on to made a load of slightly saucy music beach films with teen idol Frankie Avalon. With names like Beach Party (1963) Muscle Beach Party (1964) Bikini Beach (1964) and Beach Blanket Bingo (1965). He also directed the cult favourite, Henry Silva in the film I’ve been trying to see for years, Johnny Cool (1963). I will get there one days soon.
The 27th Day was the first novel written by Canadian writer John Mantley. He would also do the screenplay for the adaptation before going off to write for The Untouchables, Gunsmoke and How The West Was Won to name a few, television shows.
Hits like a sledge hammer
There are a few big moments of true WTF and “I wasn’t expecting that!“. However I can’t really say what they are because I wouldn’t want to spoil anything for you. I will say the end is…….. “Did they just do what I thought they did?!?!”. The comment section is free for spoilers though if you’ve seen it.
“You talk as if the Earth is about to be destroyed?“
“Those characters you are feeling sorry for are full of hate they’d lynch us if they could get their hands on us.“
“People hate because they fear and they fear everything they don’t understand which is almost everything!“
I’d seen The 27th Day some years back. Late night after the boozer had closed. Rather smashed on the old wobble juice. The video quality on that first viewing was pretty rubbish but I’d remembered really enjoying it. Flash forward to last night I’d find myself stumbling across it on Youtube. The picture quality looked excellent. I just had to watch again. I enjoyed it even more this time. It features a snappy run-time, doesn’t mess about, gets straight on with it. A few nice twists, goes against stereotyping and has good message. Obviously not up there with The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) but it sits very close to it. Plus it has a few fun moments………
“Holed up at an out of season race course and shacked up for some light flirting and cocktails”
Wolfman’s rating 7.5/10 IMDB 6.1/10
Feel free to recommend me related movies and any other trivia if you wish. Keep having fun at the movies…. Mikey Wolf
Ps The 27th Day can be streamed at the time of writing on YouTube.