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Friday, January 18, 2013

THE 27TH DAY (1957)

This little Sci-Fi pic has a neat premise: An alien force from a dying planet ‘recruits’ five humans from various countries (USA; England; China; Germany; Russia) and gives each a deadly device capable of annihilating all mankind. Use it against each other, and a brave new world without humans will make a perfect home for the aliens. But hold off for 27 days and the bombs will deactivate. Can these five representatives of Earth’s super-powers just get along, or will Cold War attitudes and political trigger-fingers end life as we know it? Hack director William Asher ( a tv sit-com guy who also made those Beach Party pics) has a decent cast and an acceptable budget to work with, but once the five space travelers return to earth, the film goes into a dramatic coma. Only the stubbornly peaceful Russian soldier gets a bit of action, but that’s about it. Too bad, it’s just about a perfect set up for a Peter Sellers multi-role comedy, more THE MOUSE THAT ROARED/59 than DR. STRANGELOVE/’64.* But it’s fun just thinking about him playing all five earthling emissaries.

WATCH THIS, NOT THAT: *Though very popular in its day, MOUSE now looks tame & obvious. STRANGELOVE is, of course, a very great film; scary, funny, appalling, precise, with Sellers in brilliant form in three roles. He’d planned on four, but ankled on the bombardier which went to Slim Pickens.

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