The Day of the Triffids
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This 1962 version of The Day of the Triffids has been a TV staple for many years, more probably because of a lasting affection for John Wyndham's original novel than any high regard for the film itself. The premise--a meteor shower blinds almost all of humanity, just as a space-borne strain of ambulatory killer plants begins to proliferate--is so strong that it's easy to overlook the frankly messy realization of it. The film opens well, sticking close to the book, as Howard Keel awakens in a London hospital after an eye operation and takes off the bandages to discover that he can see but most of the rest of the population can't. There are unsettling, effective bits with a plane literally flying blind and the beginnings of panic among the fumbling survivors, and one good Triffid encounter in a fog.
Then the film is strangely compelled to stray all over the map, with trips to France and Spain that have no discernible purpose. Director Steve Sekely's original cut was adjudged so disastrous that an uncredited Freddie Francis was brought in to shoot a whole new subplot, featuring Keiron Moore and Janette Scott in a vine-besieged lighthouse, to thread through the old footage. The results are less satisfying than the later BBC serial adaptation, but it still has some irresistible end-of-the-world and killer-plant material. --Kim Newman
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I intended returning all 3 discs to the respective sellers but the postage cost of sending them from Australia to America is greater than the cost of the discs (which are not expensive).
I would recommend that anyone wanting the dvd 'The Day of the Triffids' (the Howard Keel version) refrain from purchasing until the fault (which is apparently common to all copies) has been rectified.
If you've read many of the other reviews for this film you know the story and have probably noticed that 1) most people who saw it as children have a soft spot for it because of that and 2) like me thay have been appalled by how bad the video transfers of it have been. I had given up on ever finding a decent copy of TRIFFIDS until I read some of these amazon reviews and discovered the Cheezy Flicks edition. While there were some complaints, I could tell that this version was a cut above and I decided to take a chance so I ordered it, watched it, and was inspired to write my own review. Sure it wasn't my childhood Cinemascope experience but on my flatscreen TV it looked better than I could have imagined. The print isn't perfect. There are some signs of wear and you can see where the reel changes occur. Most notably the colors are a little washed out but overall this is probably going to be the best we're likely to get unless Warner Brothers decides to give us a pristine restoration. So TRIFFID fans rejoice! Increase the color level on your home entertainment device, up the volume, and sit back and enjoy this sci-fi classic. No, it's not the 1981 BBC version and it certainly isn't the book but it's still a really good B movie from that era of sober and intelligent (if somewhat naive) sci-fi when story and character meant more than special effects. Make sure you get the Cheezy Flicks edition as there are still a number of really bad copies out there.