THE 27TH DAY (1957)
Article #784 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 5-8-2003
Posting Date: 10-5-2003
Directed by William Asher
Featuring Gene Barry, Valerie French, George Voskovec
An alien gives five people from around the world capsules with which they can destroy all life on the planet Earth.
The situation at the center of this movie is pretty contrived, but I have to admit that I found myself quite intrigued on the “What would I do if I were in their shoes” level, and the first half of the movie, which focuses on the reactions of these five very different and interesting characters to their situation makes for fascinating viewing. The second half is less satisfying; it eventually settles into a much more conventional cold war good-guys-vs-bad-guys scenario that I found far less interesting, though it was hardly a surprise that the movie would go in this direction given the time and place it was made. Still, the fact that the fate of the world lies in the hand of any one of the characters does maintain my interest. 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. And incidentally, Gene Barry really does look quite different with a moustache.