THE DAY THE EARTH CAUGHT FIRE (1962)
A film by Val Guest
Newly remastered by the BFI National Archive and available on Blu-ray for the very first time, this is the definitive version of the classic British science fiction thriller.
When the USA and Russia simultaneously test atomic bombs, the earth is knocked off its axis and set on a collision course with the sun. As the planet inexorably heats up and society slowly breaks down, Peter Stenning (Edward Judd), a washed-up Daily Express reporter, breaks the story and sets about investigating the government cover-up.
Made at a time when the nuclear threat of the Cold War loomed large, The Day the Earth Caught Fire is an expertly crafted sci-fi film that boasts a BAFTA winning screenplay, gritty characters and a vision of end-of-days London that really burns. Also starring Leo McKern (Rumpole of the Bailey) and Janet Munro, and directed by veteran filmmaker Val Guest (The Quatermass Xperiment).
Blu-Ray Region B
Brand new 4K transfer by the BFI National Archive
Hot Off the Press: Revisiting the Day the Earth Caught Fire (John Kelly, 2014, 32 mins): a newly filmed documentary
Audio commentary with Val Guest and Ted Newsom
An Interview with Leo McKern (Paul Venezis, 2001, 10 mins)
The Day the Earth Caught Fire: An Audio Appreciation by Graeme Hobbs (9 mins)
Original trailer, TV spots and Radio spots
Stills and Collections Gallery
The Guardian Lecture: Val Guest and Yolande Dolan interviewed by David Meeker (1998, 61 mins)
The H-bomb (David Villiers, 1956, 21 mins): civil defence information film demonstrating the damage that might be expected from a ten megaton bomb
Operation Hurricane (Ronald Stark, 1952, 33 mins): a documentary exploring the work involved in, and the research behind Britain’s first atomic bomb tests
The Hole in the Ground (David Cobham, 1962, 30 mins): a dramatization of a nuclear attack demonstrating the operation of Britain’s warning system for atomic war
Think Bike (1978, 1 min): road safety film with Edward Judd
Fully illustrated booklet with extensive credits and newly commissioned essays from John Oliver and Marcus Hearn
UK | 1962 | black & white | English language, with optional hard-of-hearing subtitles | Original aspect ratio 2.35:1 |