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Day of the Triffids, The

Entry updated 19 December 2020. Tagged: Film, TV.

1. BBC Radio dramatization (1957) of The Day of the Triffids (6 January-3 February 1951 Collier's Weekly; as "Revolt of the Triffids"; 1951; rev 1951; orig version vt Revolt of the Triffids 1952) by John Wyndham.

2. Film (1963). Security Pictures/Allied Artists. Directed by Steve Sekely (uncredited), Freddie Francis. Written by Philip Yordan, based on The Day of the Triffids as above by John Wyndham. Cast includes Howard Keel, Nicole Maurey, Kieron Moore and Janette Scott. 94 minutes. Colour.

This unsuccessful adaptation of a good novel had a moderately generous budget, but no sense whatever of how Genre SF works. Thus there is plenty of preaching, lots of florid love interest, but only intermittent attention paid to the basic situation, which, while arguably silly, should have been interesting. As in the novel, most of England's population has been blinded by light or attendant radiation (see Rays) from a meteor shower, with only a small group still able to see; all are beset by attacks from lethal seven-foot (2.1 metres) mobile vegetables with Poison stings. Unfortunately the Triffids depicted in this version are more absurd than frightening.

3. UK tv serial (1981). BBC. Directed by Ken Hannam, adapted from Wyndham's novel by Douglas Livingstone. Cast includes John Duttine and Emma Relph. Six 30-minute episodes (aired outside the UK as a two-part miniseries). Colour.

This was a low-key but successful dramatization of the story, much better than the film 2. [JB/PN/DRL]

4. UK tv serial (2009). BBC. Created by Richard Mewis, directed by Nick Copus, adapted from Wyndham's novel by Patrick Harbinson. Cast includes Brian Cox, Eddie Izzard, Vanessa Redgrave, Joely Richardson, Dougray Scott and Jason Priestley. Two 90-minute episodes. Colour.

A new Triffids for a new century, this version follows the book reasonably faithfully while bulking up the role of human antagonist Torrence (Izzard). It perhaps suffered in comparison with the recent 28 Days Later (2002), a British Zombie movie that had in turn borrowed liberally from Wyndham's classic novel. [JN]


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