Seven Days to Noon (1950)

Article #1272 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 9-7-2004
Posting Date: 2-4-2005
Directed by John Boulting and Roy Boulting
Featuring Barry Jones, Andre Morell, Hugh Cross

A scientist working on top-secret nuclear projects becomes convinced that his work is evil, and threatens to blow up London with a stolen bomb unless the Prime Minister promises to stop producting such weapons.

This is one of those thrillers that may or may not fall into the realm of science fiction depending on where you draw the lines of the genre. Like SEVEN DAYS IN MAY or THE BEDFORD INCIDENT, it toys with the possibility of certain events transpiring which would be of such immense political and social significance that it threatens to shift into the realm of science fiction, and as such, it hovers very near the margins of the genre. To say whether it qualifies or not may well give away the ending of the movie, which I won’t do here. On its own terms, it’s a memorable thriller. The viewer spends part of the time following the moves of the government and the police in tracking down the scientist, and the other part of the time following the moves of the scientist as he tries to keep undercover and evade them. It’s done with that quiet British reserve that you might expect from one of their thrillers (the evacuation is very orderly, for example), and even feels confident enough with itself to include some humor (the evacuee who is constantly turned back because he doesn’t want to give up his doom-declaring placard, and the soldier engaged in searching for the scientist who takes some time to go through a woman’s underwear drawer), but it does keep you on the edge of your seat. It’s definitely worth catching, and also useful as a starting point for the discussions of the boundaries of science fiction.


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