No Blade of Grass (1970)

Article #956 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 10-27-2003
Posting Date: 3-25-2004
Directed by Cornel Wilde
Featuring Nigel Davenport, Jean Wallace, John Hamill

When a plague decimates the grass of the world, governments collapse, anarchy rules, and a family attempts to reach the safety of a farm in Scotland.

If you wanted a handy pocket description of this movie, think of it as an update of PANIC IN YEAR ZERO with ecological disaster (very trendy topic of the late sixties/early seventies period in which the movie was made) in place of nuclear disaster. And also like that movie, it was directed by a man better known as an actor (Ray Milland for the earlier movie, Cornel Wilde for this one). As a result of having been made in a more permissive era, it’s also nastier, meaner, more violent and more brutal. It’s also more confusing (the first twenty minutes of this movie is a headache-inducing blur of fancy editing) and preachier; just how many shots of pollution do you need to make your point, anyway? It’s also depressing and unrelenting in its depiction of man falling into savagery in order to survive (a theme which it also shares with PIYZ); you end up being incredibly grateful for the few moments when the veneer of civilization shines through the scuzziness. For all that, I find it less successful than the Milland movie, if for no other reasons than that the artiness, preachiness, and savagery are all established early enough in the action that it leaves very little in the way of surprises as the movie progresses. Fans of seventies dystopian science fiction might be the best audience for this one.


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