Five individuals from five nations, including the "Superpowers," USA, USSR, and China, suddenly find themselves on an alien spacecraft. An alien gives each a container holding capsules. No power on earth can open a given container except a mental command from the person to whom it is given.
Each person has been provided with the power of life and death. Any of these individuals has the capability to instantaneously launch the capsules to whatever coordinates he/she chooses, and each capsule will then eradicate all human life within a 3,000-mile radius of its designated location.
Gene Barry ... Jonathan Clark
Valerie French ... Eve Wingate
George Voskovec ... Prof. Klaus Bechner
Arnold Moss ... The Alien
Stefan Schnabel ... The Soviet General
Ralph Clanton ... Mr. Ingram
Friedrich von Ledebur ... Dr. Karl Neuhaus
Paul Birch ... Admiral
Azemat Janti ... Ivan Godofsky
Grossly undervalued, under-marketed and overlooked piece of Scifi. Intellectually right up there with THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL and presenting in some ways many of the inter-racial and socially irresponsible foibles that human-kind finds so entrenched. Made at a time of the escalating Cold War, the film unashamedly picks its sides but hey, its an American production!
I saw the film on its initial release when I was just 12, I could hardly then lay claim to knowledge of all things political, but I KNEW a good film when I saw one. In the viewings since (and it is shown way too infrequently on cable) I have come to admire its message and inherent brilliance.
An alien civilisation whose planet is pretty much the next dead thing (WAR OF THE WORLDS, THIS ISLAND EARTH, etc) looks to speed up destruction of the human condition by giving a representative of each of the five super-powers the ability to eradicate life in totality. For the purpose, an alien drops in with a few vials of 'wipe-out' and hands them out to the chosen five before retiring to the referee's corner to watch the game.
Gene Barry, who played it so cool in WAR OF THE WORLDS is the US agent with the chiselled chin and all the right accreditation. The supporting cast are all good and with hands-on direction, about the only thing to let it down are the micro-cosmic budget-restrictions. It remains though a classic film of the genre and is deserving of a much higher profile than that it currently enjoys. Probably due for a remake about this time.
This movie is an underrated gem that has been overlooked by science fiction buffs. The 27th day rates with such films as: The Day The Earth Stood Still and The Thing From Another World. This movie was too cerebral for its' time. It examines the possibility of a superior life form, from another galaxy, providing mankind the power to obliterate life or to salvage life from our planet. The handling of this subject is done with intelligence, a good cast and a decent script.
The movie portrays the constant struggle between good and evil. In this case, with the paranoia of the cold war, the Russians are the ones who seek world domination. All in all a good movie to watch and enjoy.
The 27th Day is a rather well-written science fiction movie, and it is a shame that it isn't shown on television more often (or more readily available on some home video format).
The plot is interesting in that this time Earth is beset by a passive-aggressive alien who give five people the means to destroy all human life on the planet (since the aliens themselves are non-violent and non-aggressive) so that they can move to this planet from their own dying world. The alien then informs the entire planet of the five's identities and chaos ensues as both the people and their governments have to come to terms with this new escalation in the Cold War.
The movie is well-acted and the story is fairly solid, though I didn't really care for the way one of the protagonists was able to alter the way the alien's devices worked to bring about an end to "enemies of freedom" everywhere. Beyond that minor flaw, I would definitely recommend watching this movie when you get the chance, genre fan or not.
* When the Soviet General and Prof. Beckner launch the capsules the General gives the coordinates for Houston, Texas (29° 45' 26" N, 95° 21' W). Beckner gives the coordinates for Moscow (55° 45' 18" N, 37° 37' 14" E). Beckner is also heard giving partial coordinates for 45° 4' 23" N and 12' 12" E but the degrees are missing.