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THE 27th DAY (1957)
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 25, 2014 10:28 pm    Post subject: THE 27th DAY (1957) Reply with quote

This one is a personal favorite of mine. It's fun and intelligent — which is practically a cinematic miracle.





Five Earthlings from different countries (including Gene Barry of War of the Worlds and lovely English actress Valerie French) are kidnapped by a Klaatu-like alien who gives each of them a strange transparent case containing silver capsules.





The capsules have the power to make millions of humans vanish, without harming animals or causing destruction. The alien's race desperately needs the planet Earth, but they are morally opposed to conquering it, so they give the war-prone Earthlings the ability to finish themselves off without devastating the planet in a nuclear war.





Don't expect any special effects except for two brief clips from Earth versus the Flying Saucers, one space scene from The Day the Earth Stood Still





— and a small-scale test of the alien weapon, performed far out in the Pacific so that millions of people aren't wiped out by the alien weapon.





But despite the film's modest budget, the interior of the spacecraft is nicely done.





This is an intelligent and uplifting movie, done on a small budget, although it's a bit too talky and actionless for some tastes. Director William Asher was a busy fellow in Hollywood from 1948 until 1990, and his work includes two Beach Party movies, one Twilight Zone episode, and lots of sitcoms — including 132 episodes of Bewitched!

John Mantley wrote both the screenplay and the original novel. In the novel the capsules had a somewhat more far-reaching (and disturbing) effect on humans than they do in the film.

The film was originally co-billed with 20 Million Miles to Earth, and that's exactly how I saw it — at the Roosevelt Drive-In, in College Park, Georgia in 1957. I was nine years and didn't sleep a wink that night after we got back home. How could I? A night of flying saucers, aliens, crashing rockets, and a rampaging monster in Rome, Italy!

Aaaah yes, heaven -- 1950s style! Very Happy









Available from Amazon for $20.95.

UPDATE FROM 2017: It was $16.87 when I first started this thread, in September 2014! Shocked



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Is there no man on Earth who has the wisdom and innocence of a child?


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Pow
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2014 11:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This was an intriguing film with a fascinating premise. An intelligent sf movie that really twists around the old concept of aliens wanting the Earth but not via war.

Arnold Moss was a very distinguished actor with a magnificent voice. He was a guest star on Star Trek-TOS in the episode "The Conscience of the King."
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2014 7:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

____________________________

I read the book in high school. As I remember, the capsules the aliens gave the Earth people didn't just kill the "enemies of freedom" (communists) around the world, like we see in the movie. They actually modified everybody's brain (all around the world) -- removing their "bad" characteristics!

People who were 99% good (so to speak), didn't notice any difference, while people a bit less saintly experienced a headache for a while and then discovered they were kinder, better people.

Really.

And the folks who were dirty, rotten bastards keeled over dead because too much of their brain was altered by the process. Shocked

Sweet deal, eh? Very Happy

Amazon has a hardcopy edition for $5.01.



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PostPosted: Fri Apr 29, 2016 3:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

________________________________

In honor of All Sci-Fi's Friday Live Chat feature for April 29th I decided to share this excellent review by Lisa Mateas from the TCM site. I was primed and ready to watch the movie after reading all this great info! Very Happy
________________________________________

The 27th Day is the story of what happens when a representative of a much-advanced alien race comes to Earth and forces its inhabitants to come to grips with possible annihilation, courtesy of a set of capsules which contain the power to kill everyone on the planet.






It had some real success as a novel, including being chosen a Book-of-the-Month Club selection. In light of the rising interest in science fiction, unidentified flying objects and American-Soviet relations in the fifties, the novel was quickly optioned by Columbia Pictures.

A year earlier the studio had produced the UFO-themed Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (1956), and its positive reception made The 27th Day an ideal follow-up. In fact footage from the earlier film would be used in The 27th Day.






Producers for the movie were Lewis Rachmil and Helen Ainsworth. Rachmil had worked in movies since the early 1930s in a variety of capacities, moving from Art Direction to Production Management to Producing, first with B-Westerns and moving upwards; his next-to-last feature credit was 1984's Footloose.

Ainsworth, who had started her career as an actress, transitioned into a career as an actor's agent, and is credited with starting the success stories of such personalities as Marilyn Monroe, Rhonda Fleming, Howard Keel, Guy Madison and others. She also dabbled in writing, mostly in the western genre.

Chosen to direct The 27th Day was veteran William Asher, a second-generation show biz kid — his mother was an actress, his father a well-known producer who worked extensively for Mack Sennett — who began his career producing and directing a low-budget fight picture called Leather Gloves in 1948, then moved into directing live television shows such as The Colgate Comedy Hour which shot Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis to stardom.

In later years he would direct the original Beach Party (1963) movie and several sequels, and undoubtedly his greatest fame came from his production and direction of the Bewitched TV series starring his then-wife Elizabeth Montgomery.

Production on The 27th Day began in early September of 1956, and filming had finished by the end of the same month. The movie was photographed by the veteran cinematographer Henry Freulich, a long-time Columbia employee who had lensed some of The Three Stooges best shorts, including Punch Drunks (1934), Three Little Pigskins (1934), and Pop Goes the Easel (1935).



__


Leading man Gene Barry was no stranger to science fiction, having starred in George Pal's classic 1953 film The War of the Worlds, as well as the less-known SF title The Atomic City the year before. Barry's primary success — and it was huge — came for his television role as the suave Bat Masterson in the long-running Western series, and TV would continue to offer Barry continued work in hundreds of appearances.





Another key player in The 27th Day was actor Paul Birch, who is remembered for his role as one of the captured Earth astronauts in 1958's Queen of Outer Space, and in other cult favorites such as The Beast with a Million Eyes (1955), Day the World Ended (1955), and Not of This Earth (1957).





Arnold Moss played the alien leader who comes to earth; he is no doubt best remembered for his role as murderous tyrant-turned-Shakespearean actor Anton Karidian in an episode of the original Star Trek.

English-born beauty Valerie French played Gene Barry's love interest, and the dastardly Russian official was played by Stefan Schnabel, a German-born actor who specialized in European types but later appeared in the soap opera The Guiding Light for over seventeen years.






The 27th Day was released in July of 1957, but soon disappeared into relative obscurity, despite its science fiction hook. Reviewers of today reassessing the film give credit to its almost unparalleled literacy, and clearly the film is ripe for rediscovery. Despite its modest production values, The 27th Day is a dandy little science fiction tale completely infused with the inescapable political zeitgeist of the time.



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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2016 1:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

________________________________

As I mentioned above, this was the feature film for All Sci-Fi's Friday Live Chat on April 29th, 2016, and I thought I should share the links to the Youtube trailer and the movie itself here on the thread.

Enjoy! Very Happy


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___________________ The 27th Day - trailer


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____________________ The 27th Day / 1957


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Is there no man on Earth who has the wisdom and innocence of a child?


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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 31, 2017 12:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pow wrote:
This was an intriguing film with a fascinating premise. An intelligent sf movie that really twists around the old concept of aliens wanting the earth but not via war.

Yep, that's exactly what I like most about this story. Mankind meets up with an interstellar society who has deep moral convictions.

In the end, mankind demonstrates that we are NOT going to wipe ourselves out by fighting over a super-powerful weapon, we even prove we're worthy to be part of the interstellar society, because we're willing to share our planet with the aliens who are doomed without our help.

Great story.
Very Happy
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Pow
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 31, 2017 1:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Read the autobiography of the terrific actor, James Best, that he published only a few years before his death.

He did an episode of Gene Barry's Amos Burke: Secret Agent TV show. Jim said that Barry was not ''one of the good guys'' to work with. Rosemary Clooney did a film with Barry & said the same thing.

Ken Levine, who writes on his blog about being a script writer in Hollywood, said that his experiences with difficult & nasty & arrogant actors is far & few between. Ken, who has written for M*A*S*H, Cheers, & Frasier to name a few, says most actors are fine to work with in his experiences.

Yet, I read from others that the majority are major a--holes.
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 31, 2017 4:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pow wrote:
Ken Levine, who writes on his blog about being a script writer in Hollywood . . . says most actors are fine to work with in his experiences.

Yet, I read from others that the majority are major a--holes.

I strongly suspect that the kind folks who offer very few complaints about the people they've worked with are being diplomatic so that they don't step on anyone's toes and spoil their chances to work in this ego-driven industry.

The ones who paint a less rosy picture are probably being more realistic. As someone once said, "It's called show business . . . not show art."
Rolling Eyes
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2017 4:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

________________________________

About ten years ago I ordered a DVD-R of this great movie from a "gray market" vendor whose website went by the name "Spooky Tom". He offered very rare DVD-R's of movies which weren't available commercially, including this one and The Space Children.

I ordered both of those movies, and I was very pleased by the quality of The 27th Day (an excellent copy made from the laser disk of this movie, according to Tom himself).

But I noticed that The Space Children was not as good as the VHS tape I'd made from the 1986 airing of that movie from the USA channel — the first time it had been shown on television since 1958!

Tom's DVD was from the same source as mine. The USA logo appeared in the lower right corner of the screen.

I contacted Tom and offered him my VHS tape to use in making a better master copy for the DVD-R he was selling. I had already copied my tape to a DVD-R, so I was risking nothing by offering it to him.

Tom was very grateful, and after he received my tape and made a new master DVD of it, he sent the tape back to me — along with a complimentary DVD-R of it.

For several years after that, the best copy of The Space Children available anywhere was Tom's DVD-R, which used my VHS tape as the master.

However, a DVD and Blu-Ray was finally released about seven years ago, and they looked much better than the VHS tape I made in 1986. Very Happy

But Tom's DVD-R is still the gold standard for The 27th Day, and the one offered by Amazon today is also a DVD-R — probably a copy of the one Tom sold for years. For many years he was the victim of unscrupulous vendors who bought his products and then sold copies on the internet.

Tom eventually gave up offering his magnificent copies on line because of the poor way he had been treated. I'm glad I was able to help him provide better copies of The Space Children, and I'm glad I have his wonderful DVD-R of The 27 Day. Sad

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Gord Green
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 6:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Speaking of double features----

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Maurice
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 13, 2017 5:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just watched this tonight after seeing this thread. Pretty good, and fairly smart, and with an interesting ethical dilemma. For a talking heads movie with little action it moves along at a good clip and never overstays its welcome. It's so low budget that even when Jonathan Clark wants to make sure "when we give ourselves up I want a lot of authority around," what we get is six guys.

Sadly, for all its good points it's a na??ve and simplistic portrayal of humanity. as all of the five "representatives" are from the northern hemisphere, three being from Europe alone, one (of course) being a Yank, and the single token non-white from some unspecified generic east asian country has not a single line of dialog and conveniently offs herself right away so we can forget about her immediately. Not a single person from south of the equator as a character. Hell, the only other non-white person I saw was black and serving coffee to the white people while on a U.S. Navy vessel, one of the few non-segregated parts of America at that time. Oy. And, naturally, only the eeeeeeevil communist is the one who's going to be the one to want to zap the world. The western governments are never portrayed as even entertaining the idea of striking first, which is not only unbelievable, but anti-dramatic.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 13, 2017 11:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

________________________________

I'm glad you enjoyed the movie, Maurice. I think it's enjoyable despite it's low budget and lack of action, simply because the concept is so intriguing.

As for the lack of variety in the types of people the alien chose, I can defend that as being a deliberate act on the part of the aliens.

The five people and their fifteen capsules were designed as a fair test of humanity's basic nature, using a small sample that included five major countries, each with their own cultures . . . and each with enough military might to threaten the world if they chose to do so.

That last one is the clincher. Africa, for example was (and still is) a collection of small countries, none of which has a sizable army. So they couldn't threaten world peace and human survival even if they wanted to.

Ditto for countries like Sweden, Switzerland, Austria, Lichtenstein, and other small countries.

So, the people chosen to receive the capsules weren't selected to cover all the ethnic groups of mankind, they were chosen as "delivery people" who took the capsules back to the nations of the world who either had-or-would-soon-have nuclear weapons which could be used in a global conflict that might render Earth uninhabitable for the aliens whose sun was about to go supernovae.

Please note that they didn't name Germany and Russia in the film (Hollywood was cagey about that in the 1950s), but that's who the professor and the soldier represented.

As for your interesting statement —


Maurice wrote:
The western governments are never portrayed as even entertaining the idea of striking first, which is not only unbelievable, but anti-dramatic.

— the point of the movie was that mankind had both good and bad people. And it's important for the viewer to realize that the best examples of the good people were the tortured soldier from the communist country who risked his life to stop the general from launching their capsules, and the Chinese girl who heroically killed herself to cause her capsules to deactivate!

Both Gene Barry and Valerie French chose different ways to keep the capsules out of the hands their governments. They only relented when the communist threatened the world with the capsules they had. Gene and Valerie knew they had to tell the American authorities what they had learned from the alien.

My point is that the reason the film never shows the Western governments discussing the use of the capsules to wipe out our enemies (including all the innocent civilians) is that the film has an optimistic attitude towards mankind and its future.

It presented the best of humanity, not the worst — even in its overall portrayal of our nation's long-time enemies, like Russia and China.

For that reason, the story concludes on an extremely positive note, one that always invokes a strong emotional response in me. Mankind unites to extend an invitation to the aliens, asking them to come share the Earth with us.

The fact that the leaders of only one nation even attempted to use the capsules proved that we were worthy to join the aliens. That was the point of the story. We, as a race, had shown our better side when it counted the most!

I first saw this movie in 1957, sixty years ago, and I still get chills when I hear the alien's statement at the very end.

"People of Earth, we accept your invitation. We come in gratitude and love. We bring you greetings from 30,000 intelligent worlds, and to tell you they're waiting to greet you . . . among the stars."

What a powerful climax. And what a great sequel Columbia could have made! Cool

(Besides, Maurice, the alien could only take five people! He didn't have enough chairs for more folks!) Laughing






Note to Gord: That ad you posted was probably like the one I saw in the newspaper in 1957 when I begged my parents to go to the Roosevelt Drive-in. That double feature and the one the previous year (1956) and the following year (1958), when I saw the double features shown below, were the three best "sci-fi nights" I experienced in the 1950s! Very Happy







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Maurice
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 14, 2017 12:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gonna have to respectfully disagree, Bud. The weapons themselves make ANYONE capable to the power of a superpower, ego the test doesn't require a powerful world-threatening nation, just a human being who'd be tempted to use or unlock it for others to use.

My issue with Su Tan is that the film deigns not to give her any voice at all, even though The Alien can understand her, and through him, we could, too. Sure, she might be the only one with nothing to lose, sure she might still off herself, but she's the only one of the 5 who's non-white and also conveniently the only one who doesn't get a single line of dialog or any characterization AT ALL.

My point about anti-dramatic is that a well rounded portrayal of humanity would admit that there are some even on the side of the angels who might be tempted to use the weapons out of fear or in a desperate attempt to forestall enemies from getting to do it first. It's more dramatic when people consider the devil on one shoulder and turn their back on it after hearing him out than never noticing him at all.

Just my opinion. Smile

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Gord Green
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 14, 2017 2:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bud and I viewed this film last night in the chatroom and your points were brought up by me at that time. I found the film racist and anglo-centric to the extreme. But....you have to look at this movie in the context of it's time.

The 1950's were the cusp of the simpiistic "Red Menace" parinoia that failed to comprehend the truths of the era. Communists were "bad"; just like the Nazis before them (Forgetting of course that they were our "trusted" allies against Hitler a few years before!).

This film had a great message at the climax....that all evil and "freedom hating" aspects of our humanity had been eliminated by the mass destruction of millions of people who did not agree with us Freedom loving North Americans. The Third World of Africa and South America were superfluous to discussion and any "bad thinkers" were eliminated. They were beneath the attention of us "Freedom Lovers" who knew what was good for them.

Bud found it very uplifting.

I found it very disturbing.

It essentially said "Kill anyone who doese'nt agree with your (or the Aliens) concept of "Freedom" "

This film is a great film....absolutely.

But I think it's great because it's a perfect example of the parinoa of the 50's Red Menace mentality.

The Communists (Russians, obviously.) were portrayed as a mostly evil cartel! The portayals were stereotypes! The young soldier having the capsules was a anomaly.
The Chineese girl , as a Buddhist, found death preferable to making any real position on the issue. Her death was a protest to the entire issue just as Buddhist monks immoliated themselfs in Viet Nam in protest.

This was a very obvious anti-communist propoganda example of the very real Cold War fears of it's time!

The best thing for the future of Humanity was the mass execution of any dissadents! A "Holocaust of the dissadents" was the answer! This mass murder, a genoside of millions was for the good of humanity.

I found that a very disturbing and chilling conclusion to the story as it required the mass "cleansing" genoside of a large portion of humanity.

The Alien message said, in essance " Now that you've gotten rid of those nasty Communists, you're welcome to share your precious planet with all us superior beings!"

"You didn't kill Jews....just Commies, so it's OK"

Not "uplifting"......Very disturbing.

Rebuttal?


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Maurice
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 15, 2017 1:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My main comment remains that they refused to give the only non-white even one line of dialog. I am well aware it's of its time, but that was a chickenshit decision. Let's hear her concerns before she offs herself, let's let her espouse and then personify this Buddist way of thinking.

I too found the idea of "cleansing" pretty horrifying. "Some of you have the right traits to merit living. Sometimes you gotta break a few eggs and a thousand morals to have a utopia." Ugh.

Another missed opportunity to dramatize these choices.

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