Wednesday, 16 January 2008

The Day the World Ended (1955)

I’m a great admirer of Roger Corman, and his ability to do a lot with a little fills me with awe. It has to be admitted though that his 1955 sci-fi flick The Day the World Ended is unbelievably bad. Corman could do a lot with a little but he couldn’t perform miracles with nothing at all, and the budget on this one was obviously virtually zero. It’s interesting to compare it with another very early Corman film, Swamp Women, made the same year. Swamp Women is also made on a budget of almost nothing, and the acting is equally bad. It doesn’t need any budget, though, while The Day the World Ended needed at least a few dollars spent on the monster make-up. And the bad acting in Swamp Women adds to the fun, the movie being an outrageously camp (and fantastically entertaining) women convicts on the run movie. The Day the World Ended is just too ambitious, and takes itself too seriously. The endless moralising and the religious homilies get very tiresome. Moralising is always a danger in a nuclear armageddon movie, and Corman lacked the experience at that stage to keep that tendency under control. It’s the story of a handful of survivors of a nuclear war, holed up in a house in an isolated valley, and fighting off attacks by mutants. It really doesn’t even work as an exercise in camp, the tone being so ponderous and the pacing being so leaden. Still, it shows Corman even this early in his career playing around with different genres so it has some historical interest.

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