The 27th Day
|The 27th Day|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||William Asher|
|Produced by||Helen Ainsworth|
|Written by||John Mantley
Robert M. Fresco (uncredited)
|Music by||Mischa Bakaleinikoff|
|Edited by||Jerome Thoms|
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
|Running time||75 minutes|
The 27th Day is a 1957 science fiction film from Columbia Pictures. It was directed by William Asher, produced by Helen Ainsworth, and the screenplay was written by John Mantley, who also wrote the original novel. The cast includes Gene Barry and Valerie French.
This was a low-budget film with little action and few special effects, with the shot of the alien spacecraft being reused footage of the flying saucer from Earth Vs. The Flying Saucers. Instead the story focuses on dialogue.
Five people – Englishwoman Evelyn Wingate, American reporter Jonathan Clark, Chinese peasant Su Tan, German physicist Klaus Bechner, and Soviet soldier Ivan Godofsky – are plucked from their everyday lives and transported to a spacecraft. There they are confronted by a humanoid referring to himself only as "The Alien" (Arnold Moss), who explains that he is the representative from a world orbiting a sun about to go nova. Needing a new world within the next 35 days yet prohibited by their moral code from killing intelligent life, he provides each of the five with sets of three capsules, each capable of destroying all human life within a 3,000-mile diameter, with the expectation that humans will use the capsules to obliterate themselves, leaving the planet free for alien colonization. The capsules are distributed in containers that can only be opened by the thought waves of the person to whom they were given, but the capsules themselves can be used by anyone over the next 27 days, after which they will be rendered inert.
Returned to Earth, Eve throws her capsules into the English Channel and books a flight to Clark's hometown of Los Angeles. Su Tan chooses to commit suicide, causing her capsules to self-destruct. The others go about their daily tasks undisturbed until the next day, when The Alien commandeers all electronic communications and reveals the existence of the capsules to the world. Overhearing the broadcast while on a trip to the United States. Bechner is hit by a car while crossing the street and is taken to the hospital with a concussion, while Godofsky is detained by his superiors. Arriving in Los Angeles, Eve is met at the airport by a now-disguised Clark, who takes her to a closed race track where they can hide undetected. Godofsky is interviewed by a general who, dissatisfied with the private's vague orders, orders him subjected to interrogation to discover the truth.
In the days that follow, panic over the situation grows. Repeated beatings leave Godofsky in a state of shock, while a recovering Beckner also refuses to reveal the details of the Alien's plan. After two Communist agents posing as doctors nearly succeed in assassinating Beckner and an innocent man who looked like Clark is killed by a mob, Clark and Eve reveal themselves and are taken into custody. Through the application of sodium pentothal to an ailing Godofsky, the Soviet leadership discover the Alien's plan and gain access to his capsules. The resulting announcement fuels global anxiety, and prompt the other three to cooperate with the U.S. government. Confronted with a Soviet ultimatum to withdraw all military forces back to the United States, the government tests one of Beckner's capsules to verify the threat. This is tried on a dying volunteer who is on a raft in an empty part of the ocean. After the test subject is vaporized, the U.S. begins withdrawing its forces from throughout the world.
On board a destroyer as a deterrent against the launch of the Soviet capsules, Beckner, Clark, and Eve discuss their concerns that the Soviets will launch them at the last minute, thus avoiding retaliation. Determined to find another way, Beckner studies the remaining capsules and discovers a mathematical code imprinted on them. As the Soviet general prepares to deploy the capsules, Godofsky attacks him, causing the general to drop the capsules from his balcony onto the ground below. As the general rushes outside to retrieve them, Beckner simultaneously launches both his remaining capsules and the ones from Clark's container, having deciphered the code and discovered that the capsules are programmable. The capsules blanket the world with a high-pitched noise that kills every "known enemy of human freedom". In the aftermath, a united humanity invites the aliens to coexist peacefully with them on the Earth. It turns out to have all been a test. The Alien's sun is stable and he invites the people of Earth to join the Galactic Federation, which they immediately do.
- Gene Barry as Jonathan Clark
- Valerie French as Evelyn "Eve" Wingate
- George Voskovec as Professor Klaus Bechner
- Azemat Janti as Ivan Godofsky
- Arnold Moss as The Alien
- Stefan Schnabel as The Soviet General
- Paul Frees as Ward Mason, Newscaster (uncredited)
- Marie Tsien as Su Tan (uncredited)
- The 27th Day at the Internet Movie Database
- The 27th Day at the TCM Movie Database
- Curiosity: The 27th Day by Bud Webster