The 27TH DAY


The 27TH DAY
   Film (1957). Romson Productions/Columbia. Dir William Asher, starring Gene Barry, Valerie French, George Voskovec, Arnold Moss, Stefan Schnabel. Screenplay John MANTLEY, based on his The Twenty-Seventh Day (1956). 75 mins. B/w.
   This sf morality tale - there were several such in the 1950s - is more optimistic about mankind's inherent goodness than most. An alien gives each of 5 people, in 5 different countries, a box of capsules (which will lose their power after 27 days) capable of destroying all human - but no other - life on any one continent. The boxes will open only for the recipients, on whom, especially the Russian, great pressure is put to use the capsules to wipe out enemy states. The recipients all act nobly (one suicides) and finally learn that the capsules have a second power: they will selectively destroy "every enemy of peace and freedom". They are used thus, several thousand bad people die, and only good people (the vast majority, in this breathtakingly simplistic scenario) are left. This was the second sf movie, the first being The DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL (1951), to advocate mass murder as a way of eliminating warmongers.
   JB/PN

Science Fiction and Fantasy Encyclopedia. . 2011.

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