‘Attacked …by a creature from Hell!’
Day the World Ended aka The Day the World Ended (1955) was produced and directed by Roger Corman. Rick (Richard Denning) is a heroic scientist who, among others, must face off against a mutant monster (Paul Blaisdell) after an atomic war destroys human civilisation.
The film was remade in 1967 with the title In the Year 2889 by Larry Buchanan with the dialogue repeated almost entirely verbatim. The film is referred to in a 2001 horror film of almost the same title, The Day the World Ended.
Following an all-out atomic war, which has apparently destroyed most (if not all) human civilization, the Earth is left contaminated with radioactive fallout. The apparent single exception is a box canyon, surrounding by lead-bearing cliffs, in which former Navy Commander Jim Maddison, lives with his daughter, Louise, in a home stocked with supplies against just such a holocaust.
Into this natural bomb shelter come stumbling several survivors, who just by chance were inside the canyon when the war occurred. After initially refusing to admit the others, Jim relents when his daughter pleads with him and appeals to his humanity.
Among the survivors are a geologist, Rick (Richard Denning), who just by coincidence happens to specialize in uranium mining, and a small-time hood, Tony (Mike Connors – billed in the film as “Touch” Connors),with his “moll” Ruby, on their way to San Francisco…
” … I was also impressed by Corman’s insight that post-apocalyptic life in the 1950’s would surely be informed in roughly equal measure by 20th-century science and the sort of theologically vague Protestantism that was an ever-present undercurrent in American life in those days. I just wish some of the neat ideas on display here had been explored in greater depth.explored in greater depth.” 1000 Misspent Hours and Counting
“It is a cheap and shoddy film. It is however conducted with an undeniable vigour and a conviction in itself. Paul Birch gives a fine hard-edged performance as the captain, and one does not doubt for a moment that everybody involved believed the pronouncements about the future that the film makes.” Richard Scheib, Moria
” …Corman was just beginning to come into his own as a director, such as some thoughtful – and what we can now recognise as typical – character bits; while in the symbolic use made of the comedy / tragedy masks that hang upon the Maddisons’ lounge-room wall, we also see the earliest stirrings of his taste for actual art, which would later manifest itself in quite unexpected ways, although always in severe philosophical conflict with his overriding desire to save a buck.” And You Call Yourself a Scientist!
“Corman’s first science fiction film benefits from his virtues as a brisk and straightforward filmmaker and suffers from an inadequate script. Perfect for the drive-ins for which it was intended.” Alan Frank, The Science Fiction and Fantasy Film Handbook, Batsford, 1982
” …engaging (almost convincing, even) in its pervasive seediness. The use of locations and the interplay between the desperate characters is surprisingly ambitious.” Tony Rayns, Time Out Film Guide
Cast and characters:
- Richard Denning as Rick
- Lori Nelson as Louise Maddison
- Adele Jergens as Ruby
- Mike Connors as Tony Lamont (as Touch Connors)
- Paul Birch as Jim Maddison
- Raymond Hatton as Pete
- Paul Dubov as Radek
- Jonathan Haze as the Contaminated Man
- Paul Blaisdell as the Mutant
- Roger Corman as Nelson, Louise’s Fiancee in Framed Photograph (uncredited)
- Chet Huntley as Narrator (voice) (uncredited)