The Night the World Exploded (1957)

Article #1105 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Day: 3-24-2004
Posting Day: 8-11-2004
Directed by Fred F. Sears
Featuring Kathryn Grant, William Leslie, Tristram Coffin

A rash of earthquakes is being caused by a new element that reacts with nitrogen to cause violent explosions.

You know, if I were to stage a performance of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, I would try to make sure my orchestra consisted of something more than a triangle and a kazoo. Though this is overstating the case somewhat, I think it does capture the way I feel about this movie. The idea is fairly good, the story is told efficiently, the script is decent enough (except for a very bad scene where the heroine gets terrified trying to climb down a rope ladder), and the actors would be acceptable with a little sympathetic direction. But to really do justice to the idea, you need to throw a decent amount of money at it, and that just doesn’t happen here with Sam Katzman holding onto the pursestrings. Consequently, the movie never moves into the realm of believability, and you spend your time thinking about how much better it would have been given a proper treatment. As it is, it is interesting to sit back and try to figure out how you would change certain scenes around to make them work better, or how you would direct the actors to add more drama to the scenes, or even where you would add music to accentuate the proceedings (except for during the credits, there is no music at all). And it does have one good unintentional laugh during a scene in which a man talks about the volcano that has arisen just outside his window.


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