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October 11, 2006

The Day of the Triffids


Steve Sekely - 1962
Allied Artists Classics DVD

I'm not sure how fair I can be in discussing Day of the Triffids based on the DVD currently available. The company operating under the banner of Allied Artists Classics offers a full screen version of a CinemaScope film, the color so garishly off that I thought it was a poorly colorized black and white film, rather than an abysmal reproduction of a film shot in Eastman Color. So much for the treatment of a film being sold as a classic.

I never read the book by John Wyndham. My understanding is that the film is not very faithful to its literary source. For those unfamiliar with the story, large, mobile killer plants from outer space have taken over the world. Most of the world's population has been blinded by a meteor shower that takes place before the triffids take over. The book was a critical and commercial success, perhaps because some things are better kept to the imagination. Killer plants are more silly than scary in the movies I've seen.

Based on some of the credits, I was expecting a better film. The special effects are by Wally Veevers, who would soon go on to do special effects for Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove and most importantly, 2001. The cinematography is by Ted Moore, responsible at least in part for the look of the Sean Connery James Bond films. Maybe the movie looked this way, but the DVD makes the triffids look like big, evil seaweed with huge, gaping maws.

Fans of Rocky Horror may want to see Triffids for Janette Scott, seen in the above still. Day of the Triffids is also the answer to the question: what became of Howard Keel when MGM stopped making musicals?

Posted by Peter Nellhaus at October 11, 2006 07:37 AM