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STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
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Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
PG
Cast
Howard Keel
Nicole Maurey
Janette Scott
Kieron Moore
Bernard Gordon.
Directors
Steve Sekely.
Screenwriters
Freddie Francis.
Running Time
93 minutes

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Day Of The Triffids
1962 adaptation of John Wyndham's tale about man-eating foliage


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Plot
A mysterious meteor shower blinds most of the inhabitants of Earth - but worse is to come. As the population stumbles about,the triffids - giant carnivorous plants - begin to herd them for use as food. The survivors, led by a few who retained their sight, must try to find a safe place from the monsters.


Review

The 1962 film version of The Day of the Triffids remains a TV staple, more probably because of the lasting reputation of John Wyndham’s classic original novel than its own qualities.  The premise is strong, but the realisation is frankly messy.  It opens well, sticking close to the book, as Howard Keel makes his way through a bewildering world of blind panic and creeping, stinging greenery. 

There are unsettling, effective bits with a plane literally flying blind and the beginnings of panic among the fumbling survivors, and one good triffid encounter in a fog before the monsters start looking like foul-tempered christmas trees. 

After the first act, the film is strangely compelled to stray all over the map, with trips to France and Spain that have no discernible purpose and a new bunch of characters (veteran Mervyn Johns, child actress Janina Faye, cutie Carole Ann Ford) dragged on and written off.  Ford has an especially good exit, blindly feeling her way along a wall towards an evil plant which lashes her with its phallic sting.  Director Steve Sekely’s original cut was judged to be so disastrous that an uncredited Freddie Francis was brought in to shoot a whole new sub-plot, featuring Keiron Moore and Janette Scott in a vine-besieged lighthouse, to thread through the old footage: this allows for one of those hokey happy endings later parodied in Mars Attacks! as plain old seawater kills the monsters. 

A lot less satisfying than the later BBC serial adaptation, it still has some solid end-of-the-world and killer-plant material.


Verdict
The book is a deserved classic, but this film loses most of the tension and all of the terror in the transition.


Reviewed by Kim Newman

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Day Of The Triffids
Empire Star Rating

RE: Day Of The Triffids

Wicked book and the '62 movie was pretty dodgy. I think Kim Newmans reviews summed it up well. I did like the 80's minis series though. ... More

Posted by BigKovacs at 10:43, 30 July 2007 | Report This Post


RE: Day Of The Triffids

L: shiny mouse This film adaptation of the John Wyndam classic is a product of its time. Arguably Day of the Triffids is Wyndams most read book due to its every man appeal (as long as we can accept that every man is middle class and educated). It would be true to say this is one of the least faithful book to film adapts ever created. In fact, aside from the central premise and the scene in the hospital you might never suspect it was taken from the book at all. In and of... More

Posted by Mason Verger at 13:37, 28 July 2007 | Report This Post


RE: Day Of The Triffids

There's no denying that some of the empty london shots will have inspired Danny Boyle, thery're just too iconic to not have. ... More

Posted by Mozza at 13:57, 08 May 2006 | Report This Post


RE: Day Of The Triffids

I don' t believe so although I can certainly see why it would be assumed. The main characters' isolation mirrors that of Masons in the book. He meets someone who is in the same situation as himself and they form a bond, a group is formed and dissolved by circumstance. Personally I really liked 28 Days Later but although its message is very similar to that of Day of the Triffids (the book and tv show - the film didnt seem to have one!) its delivery is much more obvious and violent... More

Posted by shiny mouse at 19:48, 07 May 2006 | Report This Post


RE: Day Of The Triffids

i heard somewhere, dat 28 days later was inspired by this, any truth in dat? ... More

Posted by Movie Dude at 20:47, 01 May 2006 | Report This Post


RE: Day Of The Triffids

This film adaptation of the John Wyndam classic is a product of its time. Arguably Day of the Triffids is Wyndams most read book due to its every man appeal (as long as we can accept that every man is middle class and educated). It would be true to say this is one of the least faithful book to film adapts ever created. In fact, aside from the central premise and the scene in the hospital you might never suspect it was taken from the book at all. In and of itself the film is ... More

Posted by shiny mouse at 22:32, 29 April 2006 | Report This Post



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