Day the World Ended (1956)

78-80 mins | Drama | January 1956

Director:

Roger Corman

Producer:

Roger Corman

Cinematographer:

Jock Feindel

Editor:

Ronald Sinclair

Production Company:

Golden State Productions
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HISTORY

The film opens with footage of a nuclear explosion, which is followed by a written statement: "What you are about to see may never happen...but to this anxious age in which we live, it presents a fearsome warning...Our Story begins with...The End!" Opening title credits appear after this prologue. Following the credits, an offscreen narrator explains that the ensuing scenes of devastation, which include deserted cities, reflect "TD Day: total destruction by nuclear weapon." There is no further narration in the film. At the end of the film, the final title card reads "The Beginning."
       Although a HR news item reported that production was to begin on 15 Sep 1955, HR production charts listed the production between 9 Sep and 16 Sep 1955. According to reviews and the pressbook, Day the World Ended was released as part of a double bill with The Phantom from 10,000 Leagues (See Entry). In a modern interview, Roger Corman noted that the film was to be set in 1970, and that it was primarily shot on location in Bronson Canyon in Los Angeles, and at the Sportsmen's Lodge in Studio City, CA.
       A modern source implies that the creature in the film was the transformed former fiancé of the character "Louise." Although this is not explicitly stated, it may be implied in a scene in which Louise gazes fondly at a photo of herself and a boyfriend after she hears the creature nearby. Producer-director Roger Corman appears as Louise's beau in the photograph. Modern sources also add the following information about the production: The film ... More Less

The film opens with footage of a nuclear explosion, which is followed by a written statement: "What you are about to see may never happen...but to this anxious age in which we live, it presents a fearsome warning...Our Story begins with...The End!" Opening title credits appear after this prologue. Following the credits, an offscreen narrator explains that the ensuing scenes of devastation, which include deserted cities, reflect "TD Day: total destruction by nuclear weapon." There is no further narration in the film. At the end of the film, the final title card reads "The Beginning."
       Although a HR news item reported that production was to begin on 15 Sep 1955, HR production charts listed the production between 9 Sep and 16 Sep 1955. According to reviews and the pressbook, Day the World Ended was released as part of a double bill with The Phantom from 10,000 Leagues (See Entry). In a modern interview, Roger Corman noted that the film was to be set in 1970, and that it was primarily shot on location in Bronson Canyon in Los Angeles, and at the Sportsmen's Lodge in Studio City, CA.
       A modern source implies that the creature in the film was the transformed former fiancé of the character "Louise." Although this is not explicitly stated, it may be implied in a scene in which Louise gazes fondly at a photo of herself and a boyfriend after she hears the creature nearby. Producer-director Roger Corman appears as Louise's beau in the photograph. Modern sources also add the following information about the production: The film was shot in ten days for a total production cost of $96,000; the film's initial exhibition was in Dec 1955 in Detroit, MI. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
7 Jan 1956.
---
Daily Variety
29 Dec 55
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Aug 1955
p. 2, 3.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Aug 1955
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Sep 1955
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Sep 1955
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Dec 55
p. 4.
Los Angeles Examiner
5 Jan 1956.
---
Los Angeles Times
9 Jan 1956.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
14 Jan 56
p. 738.
The Exhibitor
8 Feb 1956
p. 4102.
Variety
11 Jan 56
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTOR
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
WRITER
Orig story and scr
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
Key grip
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Prop master
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus comp and cond
"The S.F. Blues" solo by
SOUND
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
MAKEUP
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod supv
Scr supv
SOURCES
MUSIC
"The S.F. Blues" by Ronald Stein.
COMPOSER
DETAILS
Release Date:
January 1956
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 4 January 1956
Production Date:
8 September--mid September 1955 at Sunset Stage
Copyright Claimant:
Golden State Productions
Copyright Date:
1 December 1955
Copyright Number:
LP7268
Physical Properties:
Sound
Ryder Sound Services, Inc.
Black and White
Widescreen/ratio
Superscope
Duration(in mins):
78-80
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
17722
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

After a cataclysmic nuclear blast annihilates almost all life on earth, five American survivors find their way to a shelter built in the bottom of a canyon: Tony, a mobster; Ruby, his striptease dancer girl friend; Rick, a geologist who rescues a severely burned man named Radek; Pete, an elderly prospector, and his donkey Diablo. Jim Maddison, who built the shelter for himself and his daughter Louise, has provisions for only three people, and is reluctant to help the other survivors. However, after Tony tries to shoot his way in, Louise urges her father to welcome them all. When Jim protests Tony's decision to kill the dangerously irradiated Radek, Tony draws his gun and takes Louise hostage, but is disarmed by Rick. Jim then uses a Geiger-Müller counter to demonstrate that they are safe from radioactivity inside the shelter because of the lead-bearing hills surrounding them. Despite Tony’s resentment, Jim insists on controlling their food supply. Jim and Rick become friends, and Jim later reveals to Rick that as a ship captain, he once observed the first hydrogen bomb tests. A ravenous Radek awakens craving only raw meat, and three weeks later, Jim, Rick and Louise wonder how he survives, as he wanders outside every night, and does not eat or drink at the shelter. Jim thinks that Radek is a mutation and should be destroyed, but Rick believes Radek’s behavior can teach them about their own chances for survival. One evening while alone in the hills, Radek finds a rabbit he has trapped and kills it, but flees before eating it. Moments later, a scaly claw grabs the dead ... +


After a cataclysmic nuclear blast annihilates almost all life on earth, five American survivors find their way to a shelter built in the bottom of a canyon: Tony, a mobster; Ruby, his striptease dancer girl friend; Rick, a geologist who rescues a severely burned man named Radek; Pete, an elderly prospector, and his donkey Diablo. Jim Maddison, who built the shelter for himself and his daughter Louise, has provisions for only three people, and is reluctant to help the other survivors. However, after Tony tries to shoot his way in, Louise urges her father to welcome them all. When Jim protests Tony's decision to kill the dangerously irradiated Radek, Tony draws his gun and takes Louise hostage, but is disarmed by Rick. Jim then uses a Geiger-Müller counter to demonstrate that they are safe from radioactivity inside the shelter because of the lead-bearing hills surrounding them. Despite Tony’s resentment, Jim insists on controlling their food supply. Jim and Rick become friends, and Jim later reveals to Rick that as a ship captain, he once observed the first hydrogen bomb tests. A ravenous Radek awakens craving only raw meat, and three weeks later, Jim, Rick and Louise wonder how he survives, as he wanders outside every night, and does not eat or drink at the shelter. Jim thinks that Radek is a mutation and should be destroyed, but Rick believes Radek’s behavior can teach them about their own chances for survival. One evening while alone in the hills, Radek finds a rabbit he has trapped and kills it, but flees before eating it. Moments later, a scaly claw grabs the dead animal. Jim and Rick later discover the rabbit skeleton and suspect that Radek has eaten the irradiated meat. Rick hypothesizes that Radek has experienced genetic mutations due to radiation, which makes him immune to its dangers. One day while bathing in a pond with Ruby, Louise hears a strange noise and insists on returning to the house. Tony has lost interest in Ruby and now lusts after Louise. When Tony forces Louise to kiss him, Ruby interrupts his attempted seduction. By claiming that he is not interested in Louise, Tony regains Ruby's trust, and she and Tony then plot to kill the others. After Rick sees Radek climb over a ridge into poisonous vapors, Jim shows Rick sketches of animals that had been near the H-bomb detonation he witnessed. As depicted in the drawings, a chipmunk, a dog and a monkey mutated into creatures with horns, claws and armor-like skin, but died within three days. Fearing the radiation will soon affect them all, Jim decides that the women should bear children as soon as possible. The next day, Jim suggests that Louise marry Rick and have children immediately. Louise consents because she loves Rick, although she is not optimistic about their chances of survival. However, Tony is still interested in her, and becomes disgusted by Ruby’s jealousy. One day, Jim and Rick are investigating the ridge when a man with radiation poisoning stumbles over. He reveals that there are many others like him, but that they have refused him food. After he dies, Jim and Rick observe that his mutations appear to be similar to the drawings. When Rick discovers strange footprints around the perimeter of the house, he and Jim decide to stand guard. That night, Ruby entertains everyone with a description of her former striptease act, but breaks down sobbing. Later in the evening, Jim and Rick leave the house after discovering that Diablo is missing. During their search, they find that the dead man has been eaten, and then discover Radek, who was killed by a mutant creature, near the dead burro. The next day, Pete is so distraught by Diablo’s death that he climbs the ridge in search of gold, his last dream. Jim tries to stop him, but Pete knocks him unconscious, exposing him to the same deadly vapor that kills Pete. Jim awakens and staggers home, now sick with radiation poisoning. Later on, Tony abducts Louise and threatens to rape her at knifepoint, but Ruby intervenes and allows Louise to escape. As Tony and Ruby argue, Tony stabs Ruby and throws her body over a cliff, and later claims that Ruby refused to return to the house with him. Rick warns Tony to stay away from Louise, but Tony scoffs at him. While bathing the next day, Louise is again contacted by a mysterious presence, and later that night she wanders out of the house. After being drawn to a mutant humanoid, Louise faints, and the creature carries her away. Jim, who is sick with radiation poisoning, awakens and senses that Louise is gone, but Tony refuses to help Rick search for her. Before Rick leaves the house, he secretly gives Jim an extra gun to hide under his pillow. Once Rick is gone, Tony grabs one of Jim’s guns and announces he is taking over control of the shelter. While they wait for Rick and Louise’s return, Jim tries to find signs of life on the radio, and momentarily hears a French voice. Meanwhile, the creature places Louise in the pond, but stays out of the water. Rick fires at the humanoid, which is unharmed by the bullets and attacks Rick. After Louise calls out that the creature is afraid of water, Rick rolls into the pond to safety, and the creature runs for cover when a rainstorm begins. Rick follows the creature, which finally collapses and dies because of the rain. After its death, Louise no longer hears the strange sound, and realizes that the creature had been trying to communicate with her. Rick fires three shots into the air to let Jim know they are alive, and they head home, unaware that Tony intends to kill Rick and take Louise for himself. Tony stands beside a window waiting to shoot Rick, but is killed instead by Jim moments before Rick and Louise arrive. Jim then explains that he has tested the rainwater and found it is safe for humans, but poisonous to the mutants, all of whom will soon perish. Jim dies after telling Rick and Louise about the voice on the radio. Some time later, Rick and Louise hike out of the canyon in search of other survivors. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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