The Day the Sky Exploded (1958)

Article #1136 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 4-24-2004
Posting Date; 9-21-2004
Directed by Paolo Heusch
Featuring Paul Hubschmid, Fiorella Mari, Madeleine Fischer

When a rocket explodes in space, it puts a cluster of meteors on a collision course with Earth.

This French/Italian end-of-the-world crisis tale is uneven. On the plus side, it’s directed with a certain amount of energy, the special effects are interesting (if not always entirely convincing), and Mario Bava handles the cinematography. On the other hand, it suffers from an assortment of cliches, including the guy trying to hit it off with the brainy female computer operator (which they keep referring to as a calculator) and the guy who cracks under pressure and tries to hoodwink the scientists’ attempt to save humanity. It also uses a lot of rocket launch stock footage, and the science-fiction sound effects (especially one “oooooooeeeeee” sound) are overused. Consequently, the movie never quite reaches the level of tension it needs to be really effective, but it is a lot more exciting than a lot of Italian science fiction. Oddly enough, the movie runs 82 minutes, but my print runs 90. Is it loaded with extra footage? No, but it does loop back at one point so that I see about eight minutes of footage repeat itself. This one is not to be confused with THE NIGHT THE WORLD EXPLODED.

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