The 27th Day (1957)

75 mins | Science fiction | July 1957

Director:

William Asher

Writer:

John Mantley

Producer:

Helen Ainsworth

Cinematographer:

Henry Freulich

Editor:

Jerome Thoms

Production Designer:

Ross Bellah

Production Company:

Romson Productions, Inc.
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HISTORY

According a Jun 1956 HR news item, Robert Fresco was to polish the script; however, the extent of his contribution to the released film has not been ... More Less

According a Jun 1956 HR news item, Robert Fresco was to polish the script; however, the extent of his contribution to the released film has not been determined. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
18 May 1957.
---
Daily Variety
15 May 57
p. 3.
Film Daily
17 May 57
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Feb 1956
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Jun 1956
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Sep 1956
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Sep 1956
p. 16.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Nov 1956
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
15 May 57
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
25 May 57
p. 387.
Variety
22 May 57
p. 20.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
MUSIC
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel The 27th Day by John Mantley (London, 1956).
AUTHOR
DETAILS
Release Date:
July 1957
Production Date:
10 September--late September 1956
Copyright Claimant:
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
1 June 1957
Copyright Number:
LP8343
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound Recording
Black and White
Widescreen/ratio
1.85:1
Duration(in mins):
75
Length(in reels):
9
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

A shadowy extraterrestrial emissary summons English woman Eve Wingate, Los Angeles reporter Jonathan Clark, German scientist Professor Klaus Bechner, Chinese villager Su Tan and Russian soldier Ivan Godofsky onto a flying saucer. Once aloft, the alien explains to his incredulous passengers that he has come from a nearby planet on the verge of extinction. The aliens have chosen Earth as their new world, but because their moral code forbids violence, the aliens have chosen to give the power of life or death to the five humans assembled aboard the space craft, thus placing the possibility of destruction in their hands. The five are then presented with a case containing three capsules, each capsule capable of emitting lethal radiation that will kill all human life within a 3,000 mile radius. The alien then states that only the capsules’ recipients can trigger them, and that they will be deactivated in twenty-seven days. The alien also discloses that if the five can keep the peace for that time span, the Earth will be spared. The five are then sent back to Earth with their weapons and Eve immediately casts hers into the sea. Su Tan, observing her village in flames from an enemy attack, promptly commits suicide, thus de-activating her capsules. Jonathan returns to his newspaper office, and soon after, Eve phones from England to inform him that she is on her way to California. The professor, meanwhile, flies to California to address a conference. To increase the chance of havoc, the aliens interrupt a national television broadcast to describe the lethal capsules and announce the names of their five recipients, thus ... +


A shadowy extraterrestrial emissary summons English woman Eve Wingate, Los Angeles reporter Jonathan Clark, German scientist Professor Klaus Bechner, Chinese villager Su Tan and Russian soldier Ivan Godofsky onto a flying saucer. Once aloft, the alien explains to his incredulous passengers that he has come from a nearby planet on the verge of extinction. The aliens have chosen Earth as their new world, but because their moral code forbids violence, the aliens have chosen to give the power of life or death to the five humans assembled aboard the space craft, thus placing the possibility of destruction in their hands. The five are then presented with a case containing three capsules, each capsule capable of emitting lethal radiation that will kill all human life within a 3,000 mile radius. The alien then states that only the capsules’ recipients can trigger them, and that they will be deactivated in twenty-seven days. The alien also discloses that if the five can keep the peace for that time span, the Earth will be spared. The five are then sent back to Earth with their weapons and Eve immediately casts hers into the sea. Su Tan, observing her village in flames from an enemy attack, promptly commits suicide, thus de-activating her capsules. Jonathan returns to his newspaper office, and soon after, Eve phones from England to inform him that she is on her way to California. The professor, meanwhile, flies to California to address a conference. To increase the chance of havoc, the aliens interrupt a national television broadcast to describe the lethal capsules and announce the names of their five recipients, thus touching off a nationwide panic. After meeting Eve at the airport, Jonathan goes into hiding with her at an abandoned race track. The professor, startled by the broadcast, steps off a curb and is run down by a car. As the professor lies unconscious in his hospital bed, the U.S. government sends for Dr. Karl Neuhaus, a prominent atomic scientist, to examine the weapon. The Russian military, meanwhile, seizes Ivan’s capsules, but Ivan, desperate to preserve peace, refuses to divulge any information about them. As waves of panic wash across the Earth, Jonathan rails against human nature. While the Russians try to torture Ivan into submission, the U.S. confiscates the professor’s capsules. One day, Jonathan learns that a man resembling him has been killed by an angry crowd. Feeling responsible for the man’s death, Jonathan and Eve decide to surrender to the authorities. Their torture having failed, the Russians administer a truth serum to Ivan, forcing him to reveal the secrets of the capsules. As word spreads that the Soviets have discovered how to activate the capsules, the U.S. government prods Jonathan, Eve and the professor to share the information with them. With only twelve days remaining, the professor uses his mental projection to open the case, and Dr. Neuhaus then suggests testing the efficacy of one of the capsules on a single man at sea. When the Soviets issue an ultimatum that the U.S. withdraw its troops from all foreign soil or face extinction, the government approves a test of the capsules. After dosing himself with lethal radiation, thus insuring certain death, Dr. Neuhaus volunteers to be the test subject. When Neuhaus disintegrates after the capsule is launched, the U.S. pulls its troops home from around the world. As the twenty-seventh day arrives, however, there are still fears that the Soviets will launch their capsules at the last moment, thus wiping out the free world. With just five hours remaining, the professor realizes that the capsules contain a mathematical code and asks Jonathan for his set. As the professor attempts to decipher the code, the Soviets plan their attack. Coming to the realization that the capsules can bring life as well as death, the professor pre-empts the Russian attack by launching his capsules against the enemies of freedom. With evil destroyed, mankind unites in peace and harmony and invites the aliens to live in the uninhabited parts of the Earth. Pleased that the Earthlings have finally overcome their warlike tendencies, the aliens accept. +

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

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.