The Day of the Triffids (film)
|The Day of the Triffids|
US film poster by Reynold Brown
|Directed by||Steve Sekely|
|Produced by||George Pitcher
|Written by||Bernard Gordon
|Music by||Ron Goodwin|
|Editing by||Spencer Reeve|
|Studio||Security Pictures Ltd|
|Distributed by||Rank Organisation (UK)
Allied Artists (US)
|Release date(s)||July 1962 (UK)
27 April 1963 (US)
|Running time||93 min.|
The Day of the Triffids is a 1962 British film based on the science fiction novel of the same name by John Wyndham. It was directed by Steve Sekely, and Howard Keel played the central character, Bill Masen. The movie was filmed in colour with monaural sound and ran for 93 minutes.
Triffids are plants. They are able to uproot themselves and walk, possess a deadly whipping poisonous sting, and may even have the ability to communicate with each other. On screen they vaguely resemble gigantic asparagus shoots topped with a flower-like 'head' which houses a whip-like, venomous stinger, and that resembles a Vanda Miss Joaquim orchid.
Bill Masen (Howard Keel), a merchant navy officer, is lying in a hospital bed with his eyes bandaged. He discovers that while he has been waiting for his accident damaged eyes to heal, an unusual meteor shower has blinded most people on Earth. Once he leaves hospital Masen finds people all over London, struggling to stay alive in the face of their new affliction. Some survive by cooperating, while others simply fight, but it is apparent that after just a few days society is collapsing.
He rescues a school girl, Susan (Janina Faye), from a crashed train. They leave London and head for France. They find refuge at a chateau, but when it is attacked by sighted prisoners they are again forced to escape. The Triffid population continues to grow, feeding on people and animals. Meanwhile on a coastal island, Tom Goodwin (Kieron Moore), a flawed but gifted scientist, and his wife Karen (Janette Scott), battle the plants as he searches for a way to beat them.
Relationship to novel 
The film retained some basic plot elements from Wyndham's novel, but it was not a particularly faithful adaptation. "It strays significantly and unnecessarily from the book and is less well regarded than the BBC's intelligent (if dated) 1981 TV serial." Unlike the novel, the Triffids arrive as spores in an earlier meteor shower, and some of the action is moved to Spain. Most seriously, it supplies a simplistic solution to the Triffid problem: salt water dissolves them, and "the world was saved". This different ending appears to be closer to the ending of The War of the Worlds than Wyndham's novel, as the invading aliens succumb to a common product of Earth (as the Martians died of bacteria) and both end with a religious tone. This ending was also used to similar effect in M. Night Shyamalan's Signs.
Simon Clark, author of The Night of the Triffids stated on interview: "The film version is enjoyable, luring the effective looking Triffids away with music from an ice-cream van and some other good action scenes. The Triffids' death-by-seawater climax is weak and contrived though. But it would still rank in my all-time top 100 films."
References in popular culture 
It is this version of the film to which the song "Science Fiction Double Feature", from The Rocky Horror Show, refers, in the line: "And I really got hot when I saw Janette Scott fight a triffid that spits poison and kills..." A Triffid appears as one of the aliens in Area 52 in Looney Tunes: Back in Action. A Triffid also appears aboard the spacecraft as one of the plants harvested by the aliens in E.T..
- Hunter, I. Q. (2002). British Science Fiction Cinema. Routledge. pp. 80–81. ISBN 0-203-00977-0.
- "John Wyndham". The Guardian (London). 2008-07-22. Retrieved 2010-05-25.
- Halliwell's Film Guide, 13th edition - ISBN 0-00-638868-X.
- Paul M. Sammon (January 1983). "Turn On Your Heartlight: Inside E.T.". Cinefex.
- The Day of the Triffids at the Internet Movie Database
- The Day of the Triffids at AllRovi
- The Day of the Triffids on YouTube