THE 27TH DAY (1957) Reviews and overview

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‘Terror from outer space!’

The 27th Day is a 1957 science-fiction feature film about five people who are given small alien capsules which can kill mankind without additional damage.

Directed by William Asher (Butcher, Baker, Nightmare Maker; Bewitched TV series, 131 episodes ) from a screenplay written by John Mantley, based on his own novel, the Romson Productions stars Gene Barry, Valerie French, George Voskovecthe and Arnold Moss.

Reviews:

“The special effects are interesting, cheap but interesting, with the alien a clear inspiration for Dudley Manlove in Plan 9 from Outer Space. There’s not a lot of action, per se, but it stays riveting through to the end. I like it much better than the similar and technically superior Day the Earth Stood Still (1951).” Acidemic

” …a bona fide, cult-defining, chuckler. The aliens are square dealers but in the end, they can almost be heard chanting “U.S.A U.S.A U.S.A.!” in unison. Okay, it’s not as obvious as I am making out and I’d be lying if I didn’t say I enjoyed every minute.” DVD Beaver

The 27th Day is an inexpensively produced Columbia film, but it’s not as embarrassing as some of Sam Katzman’s “where’s the movie?” excuses for entertainment. The acting is pretty good and the script is mostly free of Z-grade dialogue. Stock shots proliferate…” DVD Talk

The 27th Day is undoubtedly a very minor entry in the American SF cycle of the 50s, one not without some interest (idealism always has a place in SF, even when presented as clumsily and naively as this) but a minor film nonetheless. Removing the anti-Communism strand and softening the blow of the incessant moralising might have produced a better, more comfortable film.” EOFFTV

“The ending itself was a real disappointment and pushes the whole movie into the realm of pure fantasy as far as I’m concerned, but I could see how others might find it compelling; nonetheless, this is one movie whose central ideas are a bit more interesting than its execution.” Fantastic Movie Musings and Ramblings

“Where The Day the Earth Stood Still had alien Michael Rennie arrive to deliver a stark warning about nuclear proliferation, The 27th Day has aliens arrive to conduct a test about humanity’s warlike tendencies using select individuals. The 27th Day is not the most outstandingly written of films in terms of dialogue or characterisation but what it does well is play out the moral arguments…” Moria

“t doesn’t help when the script by John Mantley is so damned heavy-handed.  He also couldn’t think up a decent ending either. The set-up had a lot of potential but unfortunately, the whole thing falls apart when the alien skips town.” The Video Vacuum

Cast and characters:

Gene Barry … Jonathan Clark
Valerie French … Eve Wingate
George Voskovec … Prof. Klaus Bechner
Arnold Moss … The Alien
Stefan Schnabel … The Soviet General
Ralph Clanton … Mr Ingram
Friedrich von Ledebur … Doctor Karl Neuhaus
Paul Birch … Admiral
Azemat Janti … Ivan Godofsky

Technical details:

75 minutes
Black and white
Aspect ratio: 1.37: 1
Audio: Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

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