THE DAY THE EARTH CAUGHT FIRE predates the disaster cycle of the 70s by nearly a decade, although it captures a lot of the same elements. In it, a divorced newspaperman strikes up a relationship with a pretty secretary as the world starts to suffer bizarre and increasingly destructive happenings. It seems a pair of atom bomb tests have caused a chain reaction that’s thrown the planet off her axis and is pushing her nearer and nearer the sun.
This British film is written for adults, in fact, Janet Munro filmed a small nude scene for the film, although it was cut before the film was released. Even so, the story is gripping and it becomes increasingly so as civilization deteriorates in the face of growing cataclysm. Although technically a science fiction picture, it remains serious drama throughout, and actually makes for a pretty good look at newspaper production back when the format was still the main outlet for news on breaking events. Cynicism and earnestness are balanced nicely, with some very natural performances from all. A shame the film is so obscure.