Run Time: 103 min. | b/w
Directors: John Boulting, Roy Boulting
Stars: Barry Jones, André Morell, Olive Sloane, Joan Hickson
Genres: Thriller | Drama
A tense drama about a deranged atomic scientist who threatens to explode a bomb in London if they fail to do his bidding. Excellent thriller with suspense on high throughout.
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An absolutely excellent thriller from the golden age of British SF filmmaking. Relying on tension and character rather than special effects, the film depicts a fevered manhunt for a scientist threatening to blow up London with a small A-bomb. Whereas other films would’ve easily dropped into stereotype, this film took the trouble to depict all the major characters as three-dimensional. Not to be missed.
Someone gets hold of an atomic bomb and decides to resort to blackmail . Boy I haven’t seen a movie like this for almost a whole week . Can’t story tellers think up something new ? Hey wait a minute the blackmailer is a white English guy called Professor Willoughby and SEVEN DAYS TO NOON was made in 1950 !
What can I say about this underrated British masterpiece ? It gives a whole new meaning to the word " Groundbreaking " , every time you see a movie like TRUE LIES featuring a bunch of nutters trying to nuke a city you know where they got the idea from . What makes SEVEN DAYS TO NOON stand out from the movies that followed it is the way it’s written and directed . it’d be so easy for Willoughby to be a complete raving headcase but he’s written in such a way you’ll believe he existed in real life , he’s someone who became a scientist to improve the lot of humanity and because of politicians he finds his work being used for destructive means . Do I see hints that this character influenced Nigel Kneale when he wrote his Quatermass stories ? Willoughby’s well thought out arguments are interesting even though you might not agree with them .The scenario is helped even further by casting Barry Jones in the role , Jones being an actor who I’d no knowledge of hence I wasn’t watching a well known face doing an acting performance I was watching a scientist with serious internal dilemmas . The reality is heightened even further by the Boulting brothers directing in the style of a documentary very similar to the way Fred Zimmerman later directed DAY OF THE JACKAL
As much as I’ve praised it there are one or two flaws . One is I couldn’t take seriously the idea that the government would announce the truth and then evacuate London . Of course Willoughby not being a terrorist is essential to the plot , he won’t detonate the bomb if alerted but again the government of the day would know this so why evacuate ? Think about it: Would he be more likely or less likely to press the button if there’s ten million Londoners still in the city . I also found Prof Willoughby’s ultimate fate very contrived
One other point of interest of this movie is that you’re aware of how everything is different in Britain over the preceding decades . They’d be no need to stick posters all over London because television has become the medium for communication , ration books disappeared in 1952 and Britain still had a big enough army to spare four divsions to search for one man , so as a period piece alone SEVEN DAYS TO NOON makes interesting viewing
As a footnote the montage scenes of the soldiers combing London for Willoughby were reused for Hammer’s cinema version of THE QUATERMASS EXPERIMENT . What makes this even more interesting is that the screenwriter of SEVEN DAYS TO NOON James Bernard ( Who won an Oscar for this screenplay along with Paul Dehn ) composed the music for THE QUATERMASS EXPERIMENT
A wonderful picture of London in the 50s, and an insight into the way people behaved, and were treated, during the war – patient crowds sitting on railway platforms waiting to be evacuated (Come along, ma! No, lad, you can't take that chicken!). I can't see or hear the married couples calling each other "darling" that another reviewer complained of – there's an engaged couple and he calls her "darling" about twice. Watch out for Joss Ackland as an eager copper and Jonathan Cecil as a young officer. The aging "actress" is simply wonderful and the relationship between her and Prof. Willingdon quite touching. ("He was a gentleman and I treated him as such – as he did me!") Lovely to see Joan Hickson as a cat-loving landlady, living in a house untouched for fifty years and crammed with Victorian nicknacks. What would they be worth now!
An excellent suspense thriller! Kindly old Prof Bullington (Barry Jones) gives the British government an ultimatum- unless they cease all atomic testing by the weekend, he will set off an A-Bomb in the center of London. Andre Morell heads the task force to find "the needle in one helluva haystack." Done in a documentary style that shoves the details and urgency of a great manhunt onto the audience. However, the human element of the story (i.e what Bullington’s daughter has to go through, the dear sweet ol’ actress Bullington holds captive, and the mass evacuation of London) is not lost for a millisecond. Superb acting (Especially by Morell and Jones) and writing. Do not miss!!