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  • Five Earthlings from different countries (including Gene Barry of "War of the Worlds" and lovely English actress Valerie French) are kidnapped by a Klaatu-like alien who gives each of them a palm-sized transparent case containing three silver capsules. The capsules have the power to make millions of humans vanish, without harming animals or causing destruction.

    The alien's race desperately needs the planet Earth, but they are morally opposed to conquering it, so they give the war-pron Earthlings the ability to finish themselves off without devastating the planet in a nuclear war.

    Don't expect any special effects except for two brief clips from "Earth versus the Flying Saucers", one space scene from "The Day the Earth Stood Still", and a small-scale test of the alien weapon. But the interior of the spacecraft is nicely done. This is an intelligent and uplifting movie, done on a small budget, although it's a bit too talky and actionless for some taste. John Mantley wrote both the screenplay and the original novel. In the novel the capsules had a somewhat more far-reaching (and disturbing) effect on humans than they do in the film. [Originally co-billed with "20 Million Miles to Earth"]
  • Grossly undervalued, under-marketed and overlooked piece of Scifi. Intellectually right up there with THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL and presenting in some ways many of the inter-racial and socially irresponsible foibles that human-kind finds so entrenched. Made at a time of the escalating Cold War, the film unashamedly picks its sides but hey, its an American production!

    I saw the film on its initial release when I was just 12, I could hardly then lay claim to knowledge of all things political, but I KNEW a good film when I saw one. In the viewings since (and it is shown way too infrequently on cable) I have come to admire its message and inherent brilliance.

    An alien civilisation whose planet is pretty much the next dead thing (WAR OF THE WORLDS, THIS ISLAND EARTH, etc) looks to speed up destruction of the human condition by giving a representative of each of the five super-powers the ability to eradicate life in totality. For the purpose, an alien drops in with a few vials of 'wipe-out' and hands them out to the chosen five before retiring to the referee's corner to watch the game.

    Gene Barry, who played it so cool in WAR OF THE WORLDS is the US agent with the chiselled chin and all the right accreditation. The supporting cast are all good and with hands-on direction, about the only thing to let it down are the micro-cosmic budget-restrictions. It remains though a classic film of the genre and is deserving of a much higher profile than that it currently enjoys. Probably due for a remake about this time.
  • THE 27th DAY replaces the cliched threat of aliens blasting us lasers with the chilling fact that a handful of earth people have the power to destroy the world. Of course, one is an upright American citizen, the ohter is a robotic Russian soldier, etc, etc. It gives a wonderful view of how these people would be feared, treated and simply how they would react. My only squabble with the film is that the filmmakers didn't hide their low budget well enough. An example there is a scene where movie characters address the United Nations. The close up of the characters is done in a well lit studio, the cutaways of the UN assembly are handheld and grainy.

    Gene Barry and Valarie French are wonderful leads. Look for Roger Corman regulars Paul Birch (NOT OF THIS EARTH) and Mel Welles (Gravis Mushnick from LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS) in cameos.
  • An alien ship picks up five different people from the five super powers of the world. There he gives each a device that only they can open. Each device contains three vials that have the power to annihilate every human being on Earth. The aliens are a dying race from a dying planet, and even though they can and will not destroy mankind on earth, they will speed up the process of seeing whether mankind will destroy itself. How long is the experiment of seeing whether these five will survive and live without opening the vials? 27 days. This is a thought-provoking film about the nature of man more than anything. The underlying point behind the film is that mankind needs to rise from its child-like state of fighting and killing itself over seemingly petty issues. The aliens act merely as referees watching and waiting to see if the Soviet Union will destroy North America or vice versa. Now, the film definitely has an anti-communist slant(not that there is anything wrong with that)but admonishes all negativity, power hunger, and perniciousness in humankind worldwide. Director Will Asher does a fine job setting up the pace of the story and creating tension. The script, even though very weak in some areas, is quite interesting and full of thoughtful insights. Gene Barry plays the American representative and is good as a cynic. The rest of the cast is also very good with George Voskovec as a German scientist and Stephan Schnabel as a Soviet general standing out. Arnold Moss is the alien and he certainly makes his screen presence memorable. A good film. After watching I kept wondering what I would do if given the same circumstances, and I must confess I am so very happy that that burden lies not on my shoulders! Take some time to see The 27th Day and enjoy!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I guess I owe the Turner Classic Movie channel a big thank you for it's New Year's Day hangover relief recipe, a full day of sci-fi programming that offered some great well known classics, along with (for this viewer) previously unheard of gems like this one - "The 27th Day". It's premise immediately called to mind the plot for the the best film of it's kind in the genre, "The Day The Earth Stood Still". However, instead of offering the citizens of Earth an ultimatum as in the latter picture, 'The 27th Day" gives five ordinary Earthlings from the world powers a device that has the potential to eradicate all of mankind. Right off the bat, one begins to wonder what in fact you might do yourself if given such a responsibility.

    One can't miss the era's anti-Communist propaganda theme in the course of the story, though the message seems a bit deeper than one might originally think. During the 1950's, China was emerging as a world power, but was still largely ineffective in pushing it's huge weight around; interestingly, the Chinese girl Su Tan opted to commit suicide rather than face the decision to deal with her device. Whereas the Russian private Ivan Godofsky reflected a willingness to die rather than reveal the secret of the doomsday device to his military superiors. It reinforced for me the idea that the vast majority of humanity would have no problem living peaceably together, except for their leaders who believe in the superiority of their nation or race. The movie points out how easy it is for reason, discipline and restraint to give way to fear, as people find it easy to fear most everything, not the least of which would be an alien threat of the outer space kind.

    The only thing I found to be rather troubling with the story was it's resolution in the way it played out German Bechner's (George Voskovec) mathematical interpretation of the alien capsules. The Soviet General is shown defeated and dying as a 'confirmed enemy of freedom', but just how the alien gizmo could fine tune it's radar to locate individuals like that was way beyond the movie's ability to explain adequately. I also got a kick out of Professor Bechner's entreaty to the aliens at the end of the story from a seat at the United Nations; giving them fifteen seconds to respond from somewhere out in the far reaches of outer space. Geez, couldn't he have allowed for atmospheric disturbances or some other technicality? Why not a full sixty seconds!!

    About the only recognizable name actor in the flick is "War of the Worlds" alumnus, Gene Barry. Remember that scene in the tavern with the English woman Eve Wingate (Valerie French)? There was a TV playing over the bar with a Western shootout on view; I'd like to think it was an episode of 'Bat Masterson', but that series came out the following year. In a different scene, Barry's character Jonathan Clark got in a line to Eve about American rock n' roll, calling it 'music almost'.

    Anyway, for a chance viewing on an otherwise dreary, rainy New Year's Day, the film wound up an unexpectedly good and interesting treat, even if dated against the backdrop of current world events. Catch it if you can.
  • This a very thoughtful film. Even though the film takes place in 1957 the subject matter is current into todays world. The film makes you think of society as a whole. Not of just one nation. The ills and the good of human relations with each other and our surroundings. How far we would go to make this world a far better place or a Hell of earth. It makes you stop and think, what would you do with the power the people were given in the film. The effects were average for a film of the time period. Great effects were not needed though. Watch, listen and think. The film gets better each time you watch it.
  • This movie is an underrated gem that has been overlooked by science fiction buffs. The 27th day rates with such films as: The Day The Earth Stood Still and The Thing From Another World. This movie was too cerebral for its' time. It examines the possibility of a superior life form, from another galaxy, providing mankind the power to obliterate life or to salvage life from our planet. The handling of this subject is done with intelligence, a good cast and a decent script.

    The movie portrays the constant struggle between good and evil. In this case, with the paranoia of the cold war, the Russians are the ones who seek world domination. All in all a good movie to watch and enjoy. An 8 out of 10!!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The 27th Day is a rather well-written science fiction movie, and it is a shame that it isn't shown on television more often (or more readily available on some home video format).

    The plot is interesting in that this time Earth is beset by a passive-aggressive alien who give five people the means to destroy all human life on the planet (since the aliens themselves are non-violent and non-aggressive) so that they can move to this planet from their own dying world. The alien then informs the entire planet of the five's identities and chaos ensues as both the people and their governments have to come to terms with this new escalation in the Cold War.

    The movie is well-acted and the story is fairly solid, though I didn't really care for the way one of the protagonists was able to alter the way the alien's devices worked to bring about an end to "enemies of freedom" everywhere. Beyond that minor flaw, I would definitely recommend watching this movie when you get the chance, genre fan or not.
  • 27th Day, The (1957)

    *** (out of 4)

    There were dozens and dozens of science fiction movies released throughout the 1950's and for everyone like THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL you got at least ten "Z" movies like PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE. The movie here seems to be forgotten even by the biggest sci-fi fans. I had personally never heard of the film, which is saying quite a bit because of the amount I read on various message boards. When sci-fi films were mentioned this one here never came up and that's a shame because it's a real gem. The film has an alien from a dying planet giving capsules to five people. These capsules have the power to destroy life on Earth, which would give the aliens a place to move. The humans can determine their fate but sure enough there are some bad people who want to use the capsules for their own gain even though they don't fully understand their power. During the decade people in this country were afraid of aliens from space and anything dealing with the Cold War so this movie combines both and makes a very entertaining movie out of it. There's really not too much "action" that goes on here and the monsters don't have four eyes or green bodies. Instead the monsters are pretty much certain humans who want to do bad in the world. The way the film makes this capsules so important and powerful was a nice move but so is the pay off at the end. The very final thing in the movie is a tad bit too preachy but the message is still there. Gene Barry, Valerie French, George Voskovec and Stefan Schnabel add nice performances as well. When people think of sci-fi from the 1950's it's doubtful they'll think of this movie but it's a real shame because here's a gem that needs to be rediscovered.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    OK, the other reviewers have done a great job of describing the movie.

    Well made, thoughtful, intelligent etc.

    But the ending? Are we to believe that the Dr. used the capsules to blanket the earth to kill only Evil People? Does anyone else think that's a little extreme? I suppose in the desperate context of the movie, he is justified, what with the Russian (Evil, boo boo!) General about to wipe out North America.

    I dunno. I just cant see it. It's like the killer space capsules made moral judgments on all humans and exterminated who they felt had 'negative energy'.

    I have a buddy with a Littering conviction, I'm hoping he made the cut.

    Great movie, the whole time I am shocked at how good it is... then the wacky ending.

    Puzzling, Bizarre ending.

    Plus, the English chick is naughty in a 'nice girl' way.
  • zdforme-121 October 2005
    The 27th Day was a REAL find for me as I saw it first many years ago and thanks to the Internet I was able to get a VHS Copy for my collection and I truly treasure it. I Love the Atmosphere in this Black & White Sci Fi Drama and though there really is no

    " spectacular" special effects the story and the Characters make this a thrilling and quite entertaining movie. My HOPE is that this " Gem" gets released on DVD and they Digitally remaster it , add some extras and it will be a very nice addition to anyone's Classic Sci Fi Films of the 50's. If Anyone knows WHEN this Movie might get released to DVD I would love to know as the copy I have is not the best and I would love a Uncut, no commercial copy of THE 27th DAY !


    Nicholas Krisfalusy
  • Warning: Spoilers
    An alien gives five humans from different countries capsules that are essentially weapons of mass destruction. You see, the aliens want to move to Earth because their world is dying, but they don't want to kill all of humanity. Rather, they want us to kill ourselves! If the people don't commit genocide within 27 days, the aliens will politely leave. Cold War science fiction film with the usual alien threat of "get along or else." Not a special effects-heavy movie but, like the best sci-fi, it's more about ideas than spectacle. There's also not many recognizable faces in the cast besides Gene Barry and he was no A-lister. So there's really nothing working for or against the film but its script and that was interesting enough.

    Dated perhaps but I could easily see this being reworked for today or any day in the future as I doubt things will ever change that much. Or maybe I'm just cynical. Anyway, on the surface this is a Red Scare film. Certain Types will whine about the anti-Communist message, but that didn't bother me. The two people from Red countries given capsules chose not to use them. One committed suicide and the other was tortured and eventually sacrificed himself to prevent his government from using the weapons. The most villainous character in the film is the Stalin stand-in. And, to be honest, I have to give the side-eye to anyone who has a problem with that. My only real gripes are with the pacing and the hokey ending. If you're into classic science fiction from the Golden Age, you should check this one out. It's not one of the best but it's worth a look.
  • I liked this movie. It was your typical lets see if human beings act like they have any sense if given the power to act otherwise because if they mess up the Aliens will destroy us movie. But what was different was the solution. What the alien really wanted us to do. And that is what puts this movie above the usual movies in this genre. What I didn't like is the cop out roles they gave the 2 females. I am not going to tell what they did but I was highly disappointed. Why even have the two females in the movie if they were going to do what they did. I guess they needed a love interest for Barry. The actor who played the evil Soviet was very good. He was very scary. Barry played his usual laid back self. Don't expect special effect. This is more of a morals story then a Sci Fi movie IMO.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I'd been after The 27th Day for years and at last, recently obtained a copy off Ebay on the Colombia Classics label.

    An Alien gives 5 random people capsules that if opened before the 27th day is up, could wipe out human life. The 5 people then have lots of people after them, the journalist and British girl go into hiding at a Millatary installation.

    I found this movie very enjoyable and tense, especially when the people were hiding, evading capture.

    The cast includes Gene Barry (War of the Worlds), Valerie French and Paul Birch (The Day the World Ended).

    To sum up, excellent.

    Rating: 3 stars our of 5.
  • This rarely seen 1950's Gem shown right smack in the middle of the COLD war was one I truly enjoyed and such a great addition to my SCI FI collection. Gene Barry again is excellent - so enjoyed him in WAR OF THE WORLD'S, his character this time is one who holds the power of the world in his hands - a tiny capsule capable of destroying the world or saving it - this movie didn't have to rely on special effects, just planting the thought these capsules given to these five people could destroy all life on Earth and man must make the right decision or otherwise mankind is doomed! Good story and cast and I ONLY hope that in 2007 - 50 years past its birth - they release this fine movie to DVD and restore it ! UPDATE: Jan 1st 2007 - TCM showed this movie without commercials and unedited. I hope those who never saw it got a chance to enjoy this rarely shown little SCI FI gem.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Here's a film that means well but is so shoddy budget-wise, and so tortuously contrived story-wise, that it nearly collapses into the 'Worst Movies Ever' category by the end. It's not THAT bad, but it's a far cry from being an underrated or undiscovered "gem" that many of the reviewers in this forum would like to claim of it.

    This is basically a mashing of "The Day The Earth Stood Still" and "Red Planet Mars." The basic gimmick is a make-up compact-like device that contains lipstick-sized human-killing-only "bombs." The aliens hand it over to human-kind figuring it'll speed up our race to destroy ourselves (since the aliens can't do it themselves and they want our planet for their own survival). But instead of handing the devices off to the leaders of five different powerful countries, they hand it off to five various individuals---then announce it to the world. And they don't explain to anyone how to open these devices... and they don't say what's inside the devices and whether it's good or bad. It's all very vague and unnecessarily confusing when these aliens have a 27 day deadline to get the job done. It's also known as bad writing. And the worst example of the forced and, dare I say stupid, writing follows halfway through. That would be when the Soviets get their device opened first and immediately threaten total destruction of North America. That would be workable... except that the U.S. contingent (led by Gene Barry) open one of their alien devices soon after. Stalemate, right? Mutually assured destruction, right? Nope. For some reason the U.S. says nothing. In fact, all demands of the Soviets are met (pulling out of Europe, the Mediterranean, etc.) and, even faced with a 48 hour deadline that North America will be destroyed, the U.S. still REFUSES TO REVEAL THEY'VE GOT THE WEAPON, TOO! Huh? After this kind of egregiously inept story-telling the film has no where to go intelligently. It simply slaps on more idiocies involving messages decipherable by only one man (the German Scientist) who proceeds on a hunch based on a vague clue ("The alien said it had the power of life AND death." How meaningful) that leads to a laughable finale involving a Soviet leader crawling on the ground for the open compact evidently more concerned with meeting that deadline to destroy North America than he is with the brain-splitting sound wave that is killing him. But he's an "enemy of freedom" and is wiped out like his fellow freedom enemies across the globe, because the German scientist in the U.S. has figured out how to use the device not to kill all humankind... but only the bad people. Somehow the device has some supernatural ability to determine, like Santa Claus, who's been naughty or nice. No matter that a miscalculation on the Scientist's part might have wiped out millions of "innocents" even accepting the preposterous idea that he would have discovered and accepted the device's "enemy only" capabilities. In the end, it all becomes a reversal of "The Day The Earth Stood Still" wherein instead of the aliens threatening the Earth with destruction if we don't mend our ways, we show the aliens that we've mended our ways and are now welcomed and respected by the alien collective out there in the universe. Bravo, earthlings. Applause. But let's not forget that at the time of this film (1957) the U.S. and Soviet Union already had the SAME SITUATION as presented in the film, involving nuclear weapons. Therefore the crucial element in the plot is totally repetitious. Both the U.S. and the Soviets already had weapons capable of blowing up the entire world. We moved from A-Bomb to H-Bomb in a game of one-oneupmanship that only led to détente. What difference would a more powerful weapon make? Even if the Soviets threatened the U.S. with the alien weapon the U.S. could counter with good ol' fashioned nukes to destroy the Soviets. So, what would be the point? And lastly, it's ridiculously forced storytelling to have the human race be saved or destroyed by the actions of one man (the German scientist) and then have the aliens congratulate mankind for waking up and joining the "friends of freedom" across the universe. Mankind DIDN'T wake up... one lone scientist just figured out the way to use the device to kill bad people. And Gene Barry didn't even help--because he played a people-distrusting cynic! It's a weird (or just plain bad) film indeed that lets its top-lined star play such a non-heroic, virtually useless character (try to recall ANYTHING that Barry does in this film that's productive). Sadly, it seems there are viewers out there who find this heavy-handed Armageddon nonsense to be a deep and thought-provoking sci-fi take on Cold War hysteria. It's hysterical alright. One last note: the film features the famous voice of Paul Frees as a news announcer and actually has him on camera in one scene. It's surprisingly rare when Frees is on camera so this is one opportunity to see the face behind so much fabulous voice-over work. I assume his character wasn't an "enemy of freedom" and made the cut when that scientist fired off the weapon.
  • Great film! An excellent example of good SF that doesn't focus on special effects and a very engaging story that keeps you glued to the end, not only is it good SF, it's good film making. Even though it's 50 years old I found it to be a new take on the tired alien abduction/invasion "We Are Not Alone" storyline. Even with the 100 million dollar budgets of today's SF films they can't make a story as compelling as this one.

    I don't recall having seen this before TCM ran it on New Year's day 2007 (and I suspect most of the other voters saw it then as well) but it should take its place next to comparable films such as On the Beach, The Day the Earth Caught Fire, When Worlds Collide, The Magnetic Monster (another lost gem) and Day the Earth Stood Still.
  • An alien has just given you a box with three capsules in it. Only YOUR thought impulses can open the box. Each capsule can destroy all human life in a 3000 mile radius. If you die, your capsules become useless. After 27 days, ALL the capsules become useless. You are one of five humans to be given such a box. Thanks to the alien, EVERYONE on Earth knows your identity. WHAT DO YOU DO? Do you run and hide? Do you report what you know to your government authorities? Do you use the awesome power of the capsules to wipe out billions of human lives? There's something else to consider: the aliens' world is dying. They mean to inhabit Earth whether or not there are humans about. Are they peaceful or warlike? Benefactors or conquerers? You don't know. WHAT DO YOU DO?
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I made sure to see this film because it is a 1950s sci-fi film--one of my favorite genres. Unfortunately, while I was looking forward to either bug-eyed aliens or power-mad conquerers, the aliens in this film were a MAJOR disappointment! First, you only see one very briefly at the beginning (and he looked pretty ordinary) and you also only got a tiny glimpse of a spaceship! Second, the alien was neither the evil conquerer or the benevolent friend of mankind--but a real odd-ball. And finally, the plot itself seemed so dumb, preachy and heavy-handed that it elicited more yawns than thrills.

    As the film begins, five people from five different parts of the world (Germany, Britain, Russia, China and the USA) are kidnapped by an alien. The alien gives each of them devices by which they CAN destroy all life on the planet if they so choose--because, the alien admits that HIS race of people would love to inhabit the Earth but they themselves won't kill to get it. Then, he returns them all. While it's 100% obvious that no one would WANT to use these devices, the alien then announces on TV the identities of the five without telling that the weapons are THAT powerful! So, all the militarists in the world want to find the five and force them to reveal how the weapons work. Much of the rest of the film consists of some of the five going into hiding and one being tortured to get him to reveal how the device works--as the Soviets want to use it!!! This part of the film just seemed pretty silly. Sure the USSR was an evil and corrupt nation (sorry, but it's fact--especially under Stalin), they never would have thought of using it like they did in the movie! Later, one of the five (the German scientist), somehow figures out that the devices can also be used to kill only all the EVIL people who hate freedom. So, he uses it to wipe out all the evil Commies and presumably others who were anti-freedom and the world then becomes a paradise!! Preachy, silly and full of plot holes--this movie just isn't worth your time, though it is an interesting relic simply for the way it addresses Communism--in particular, the tensions between Nato and the Soviets.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    (There are Spoilers) Cold war alien from space sci-fi thriller that has five people from different parts of the earth entrusted with the power of destroying the entire human race. Being abducted by an alien space ship the five earthlings L.A reported Jonathen Clark, Gene Barry, young British woman Eva Wingate,Valerie French, German scientist Prof. Klaus Bechner, George Voscovec, Chinese peasant Su Tan, Marie Tsien, and Red Army private Ivan Godofsky, Azemat Janti. These five are given these strange glass encased capsules by the Alien spaceman, Arnold Moss, that only they can open and activate.

    Told by the Alien that they have just 27 days to either destroy themselves, by opening up and arming the capsules, or if they don't it would mean curtains for the aliens in their plan to make the earth their new home away from home which is to be destroyed by their sun, turning into a super-nova, in 35 days. The aliens who are dead set against violence of any kind don't have it in them to kill anyone much less wipe out the entire human race. In order to have the earth all to themselves the aliens know that the humans, from studying them over the centuries, are more then willing to do themselves in. With just a little push on their part, the aliens, in giving the human race the ultimate weapon of mass destruction, it will only kill human beings and leave everything else on earth alone and they'll be more then happy, by their not using the wisdom and common sense that nature or the lord gave them, to mindlessly self-destruct.

    The Alien for some strange reason broadcast, on live TV, the reason for his coming to earth and even more puzzling the true reason for the destructive capsules that he gave the five humans. The Alien also gives out their names and addresses and making it almost curtain that they'll be marked men, and women, by everyone from neighborhood kooks to secretive and shadowy spy agencies as well as ego-maniacal power hungry world leaders. As you would expect all the people who received the capsules become targets of the very country's that they live in but are saved from either being killed or suffer severe mental or psychical damage since they, those who received the capsules, are the only ones who can open, with their individual minds, and use them.

    With the 27th day soon upon them the two earth super powers, the USA & USSR, feeling that each of them are now in possession of this super-neutron bomb. With reporter Clark of the USA and Private Godofsky of the USSR, in possession of the capsuls it's now only a matter of time before the human race, with the help of the space aliens, blows or neutrons itself out of existence until the very wise and observant German scientist Prof. Bechner, one of the five earthlings who received them, notices something cryptically etched onto the capsules that the aliens who put it there hoped would be deciphered.

    The 1957 movie "The 27th Day" is in many ways ahead of it's time in not being so over-the-top in trying to paint the former Soviet Union, the Evil Empire dubbed by the future President Ronald Wislon Reagan, as pure evil. Both Willing and able to go so far as killing every man woman and child on earth, including those within it's own borders, in it's mindless and mad rush to achieve world domination. We only have the power mad Soviet general Stefan Schnabl and his hand picked stooges trying to have the deadly capsules used to wipe out the entire Western Hemispher. It's the brave and good Red Army private Godofsky, also one of them, who turns out to be the real hero in the film by freely giving up his life by jumping to his death to prevent that from happening.

    You get the strong feeling in watching "The 27th Day" that it's message is that it's only the power mad leaders on both sides of the Iron Curtain, not the majority of people of their respected country's, who are the one's more then willing to bring about Armageddon upon the world. These insane actions are order to fulfill their mad dreams of being the first person or world leader to conquer the entire planet
  • Warning: Spoilers
    An alien gives seven total strangers, everyday folks from around the world, a weapon of mass destruction. You see, the aliens want to take over the world and have a moral compunction about destroying sentient life - but none about giving the sentient life a means of conveniently wiping itself out. So a promising start (marred only by the typical parading of ignorance of the basics of physics and astronomy so common in movies. Apparently if you move at the speed of light time stops - everywhere). The abductees are returned to the Earth with the power of its destruction in their hands. Nice set up for a bit of late 50s H-bomb cold war paranoia and moral debate. And there is a bit, and it's not bad; a bit talky and worthy - but it goes totally off the rails right at the end when our wizzoo scientist pulls a plot twist out of his arse and reveals that "all forms of energy fire, electricity, nuclear fission" have a good use as well as an evil use! With an unexplained interpretation of some hitherto unmentioned mathematical formuli containing "some symbols I have never seen before" he unleashes the weapons - but in a good way. The cast swiftly gather round a radio - budgetary shortcomings dictate that a lot of all-out heck and mayhem is delivered via news announcers, rather than being seen on screen -

    "Ladies and gentlemen here it is, The bulletin we have been waiting for. Scientists believe we have been bombarded with invisible rays from outer space. Reports pouring in from all over the globe confirm sudden and unexplainable deaths. All the cases have shown the same symptoms. All heard a high pitched almost supersonic noise, accompanied by acute agony and severe shock - followed by death. I know it's unbelievable! Fantastic! But the rays appear to have killed every person throughout the world known to have been a confirmed enemy of human freedom. Yes! The entire world is united in a spiritual unity unparallelled in its history. There are those who say it can't last but let us pray it does...".

    To which our scientist breathes a heartfelt "Thank God..." (which is the sort of thing you would say after wiping out every person throughout the world known to have been a confirmed enemy of human freedom after subjecting them to unspeakable agony. Shift the blame. "God made me do it!")

    The film plays out with a brief coda in which the aliens are invited to come and use all the 'empty' parts of the planet (ie the bits where white people don't live) and the audience ejects popcorn that got lodged up its collective noses during the radio announcers speech. Presumably the aliens' superior technology will be of use burying all the dead evil people lying about too. The end. Probably the only film ever to climax with stock footage of the UN assembly in full session.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Interesting little movie, a product of the times and rather short at 1h 15m. This is simply an American propaganda movie of the 1950s. Leading man Gene Barry does a workman like job as the conscience of the few chosen to carry the weapons of mass destruction. The rest of the cast provide sufficient background decoration including the always interesting Stefan Schnabel in an early role looking very Stalin like as megalomaniac leader of the USSR. With a face like that, he was made to play the Soviet heavy. Odd casting decisions here and there - leading lady Valerie French is OK to look at but she sounds bizarrely and comically like Princess Diana. I was surprised to see she was actually British as it sounded like she'd been badly voice coached. Clearly some budget problems beset this movie with quite large chunks set inside a stable/tack room at a California race track. Having set themselves a time line involving 27 days (e.g. 27th Day of the title), they had to fill the story up somehow and try and introduce a mechanism for creating romance between the leading man and woman. Worth watching as a movie of the times and as a bit of social history, but I think other movies like "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" do a more entertaining (if tacky) job of providing allegories of good versus evil and democracy versus dictatorships common in movies of the Cold War.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This is another of Hollywood's anti-communist polemics of the golden 1950s. Stalwart American Gene Barry, lovely Englishwoman Valerie French, and three others are kidnapped by an alien and given clamshells containing fantastic--and fantastically vague--power. What will the Earthlings do with such power? Toss it in the sea or use it to wipe out all of mankind? Anybody who knows American cinema circa 1957 knows the answer to what the commies will do, but the story gets ripe when the Americans actually test the things in the middle of the Pacific. Then one scientist, alone with the ultimate power in the universe, comes up with his own theory and uses it! His smarmy attitude afterward is nauseating, and the cheery disposition of everyone else is appalling.

    Here's the spoiler for this dog: the capsules inside the clamshells have a mathematical code that tells the prof that they kill only "confirmed enemies of freedom"! That's right--don't worry about the ethical conundrum of killing everyone that an alien pill decides is an enemy of freedom; just do it! Hurray! No commies! Silly female--and you threw yours into the sea! Ha ha! Kiss me, baby!
  • Five seemingly random individuals find themselves mysteriously on board an alien craft. The alien gives each person three capsules. Each capsule is capable of wiping out vast sections of the Earth's population, but will not harm anything else. The five are sent back to their homes with their powerful weapons and told that they have 27 days in which to either use their devices to destroy humanity or find a way to live in peace. If they should chose to wipe-out the Earth's population, the aliens will take over the world. If not, the aliens will move on and look for another home. Each of the five is left with a horrible dilemma - how to handle this kind of power?

    I was going to get into detail on a whole political thing about some of the deeper aspects of The 27th Day, but I've since thought better of it. I usually write about the entertainment value of a film and what I liked and didn't like. I tend to leave the deep thinking for people who are much smarter than me. All I say on the subject is I would hate to see anyone allotted this kind of power given the current state of affairs in the world where words are considered a form of violence. I'd hate to see what someone would do with these capsules just because they felt slighted, etc. The ending of the films is especially troubling. So the people in the film discover how to use their devices to kill only those they consider evil because they do not support freedom? How do you decide who is in favor of freedom and what is your definition of evil? Were all those communists you wiped out really evil? Or were some of them living under a regime they did not agree with? Just a silly, illogical, nonsensical way to end the film.

    On to other things. So, was The 27th Day an entertaining film? Reading through some of the comments on IMDb, I know it has its fans, but I'm not really one of them. The film is well made, it has a reasonably interesting premise, and it features rock solid acting. But, unfortunately, it is all pretty much a bore. I found most of the movie as dry as dust. I had to fight with myself to stay awake. The relatively short 75 minute runtime just seemed to drag on and on forever. People talking and talking and talking with nothing much happening. Not what I call entertainment. And then there's that ending I've already discussed. What a mess.

    My one sentence summary: The 27th Day is a well-made film that suffers from a deathly dull script and an ending I find especially troubling. An unfortunate 4/10 from me.
  • This film is worth seeing -- up to the last five minutes.

    Up to then, it's an excellent story about good questions -- if you could wipe out all of humanity, without damaging anything else -- would you? How would your enemies react? Is there any justification for ever killing anyone? The poster's claim that it took guts to make this film is not far-removed from the truth.

    At least, up to the end. Unfortunately, the ending is an absurd, self-serving cop-out. At least one other reviewer reveals it, so be cautious about which reviews you read. If you have any intelligence, you're likely to scream and holler and jump up and down, crying "No! No! No! No! No!".
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