Movie Reviews by Edwin Jahiel

Day of the Triffids, The (1962)

Directed by Steve Sekely and by the uncredited Freddie Francis. Written by --see text below. Photography,Ted Moore. Art direction, Cedric Dawe. Music, Ron Goodwin, Johnny Douglas. Cast: Howard Keel, Nicole Maurey, Janette Scott, Kieron Moore, Mervyn Johns, et al. Eastman Color. 93 minutes.

Meteor shower blinds people, produces carnivorous plants that menace Earth with extinction.

Director Steve Sekely was born Istvan Szekely in Budapest. (More accurately, Szekely Ivan, as Hungarian puts the family name first.) He made films in the European Continent and the U.S. It is impossible to pass judgment on his output since of his fifty features the majority were Hungarian and are, I am sure, unknown except perhaps to some specialized Hungarian critics or scholars.

His other films were minor. His sole British effort, "The Day of the Triffids" is said to be his best, but whoever passed this judgment made an undocumented statement.

"The Day of the Triffids" comes from a novel by the reliable British writer John Wyndham. The movie script was penned by Bernard Gordon, but as he was blacklisted in the U.S.A. in those witch-hunting days, screenwriter Philip Yordan fronted for him and appears on the official credits.

"Triffids" is a small classic among sci-fi films, partly because the scenario adapts the book in a competent, sober way -- in spite of some major illogicalities. Special effects are simple yet original, and the word "triffids" passed into the vocabulary.

I have a soft spot for this film for the additional reason that when, several years ago, I did a review of it for a paper, my then-editor insisted that "there is no such word as 'triffids'." This came on the heels of another review in which I spoke of the Borscht Belt, that Jewish string of resorts in the Catskills. This time the editor declared adamantly that there was no such thing as a Borscht Belt. Oh, well. Memories are made of this.

Copyright © Edwin Jahiel

Movie Reviews by Edwin Jahiel