Robert Tanitch reviews the latest DVDS
THE DAY THE EARTH CAUGHT FIRE (BBC). Written and directed by Val Guest this 1963 British science fiction film, set in London and Fleet Street, is still a timely wake-up call to the dangers of global warming. Two nuclear bombs tested at the same time shift the earth’s axis with disastrous effects on the climate. There is a good use of wartime archive footage which gives the story a quasi-documentary feel. There is some neat satire when the PM is lying to the nation on the radio and the newsreels from round the world are contradicting his every word. The cast is headed by Leo McKern, Edward Judd and Janet Munro. Arthur Christiansen, then editor of The Daily Express, plays himself; but he’s no actor and struggles with the dialogue.
SPIONE (Eureka). Fritz Lang’s 1928 German spy thriller was his last silent film. The master criminal (Rudolph Klein-Rogge) is a banker in a wheelchair. “I’m richer than Ford, even though I pay less taxes!” he boasts, offering a lady a glass of champagne with a string of pearls round the stem. The opening sequence with the theft of diplomatic documents is brilliantly edited. There are many arresting images: perhaps most notably, the boxing ring in the middle of a crowded dance floor and three dead Japanese agents reporting their failure to their boss. Willy Fritsch as the hero is much more appealing when he is disguised as a tramp.