The Day The Earth Caught Fire

The Day The Earth Caught Fire, 1961 film starring  Edward Judd, Janet Munro and Leo McKern.  This was a UK made and produced film that became popular in the West.

Centered around a London newspaper they report the end of the world.  The whole globe begins to panic as the United States and Russia simultaneously detonate nuclear bombs for testing which inadvertently causes the axes of rotation of the Earth to move.  Everything then begins to get hotter and hotter.  What will happen now as the oceans become pots of boiling water, the streets become ovens???

For 1961 this was a great story and cutting edge science fiction film making.  This movie is filmed in black&white, not sure whether they had a choice back then, but the beginning and end are filmed in a sepia type look.  That combined with the fact it was supposed to be scorching temperatures made it look that the film was burning.  Great idea and very convincing.  Remember, you have to look at it from a 1960’s point of view, no fancy effects or CGI, just good sets..great acting and a fresh story. (along with a visionary director)


The film portrayed real fear by real people.  Actors back then poured their hearts and souls into every performance.  Today, you don’t have to be a great actor, the effects, CGI, and music scores will all make you look good.

This film was likely inspired by the growing success of doomsday films that began in the fifties with such titles as ‘The Day The Earth Stood Still’ 1951 or ‘When Worlds Collide’, also 1951.  In my opinion this was one of the best sci-fi’s to come out of England in the 60’s.  This will remain a timeless classic for all fans.