Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Day Of The Triffids

Today I watched a 1962 British film "The Day Of The Triffids" based on a 1961 novel with the same name, by John Wyndham. "The Day Of The Triffids" happens to be one of my father's favourite books, and is well worth reading.

 The story goes as follows: one day nearly all the population of planet Earth goes blind after having watched a spectacular meteor shower the day before. The resulting crash of the civilisation is made worse by the confrontation with three meter tall man-eating plants called triffids which can walk and think. The main character William Masen who kept his eyesight by a lucky chance and some others are trying to survive and rebuild the lost civilisation.

The 1962 film bears but a slight resemblance to the original book as it changes all the significant details about the characters and the relationship between them, and the story line itself. For instance, in the film the main character is a sea captain who at first knows little about triffids. Triffids are seen as innocent plants which were brought to Earth by a meteorite. In the book, triffids' origin is obscure, but they are supposed to be experimental plants created in the laboratory. Men use them for industrial purposes but are well aware that the plants can be dangerous. William Masen has worked with triffids and knows all about them etc.

My father tells me there was a much more detailed BBC series from 1982 and recently they made a new adaptation which was on TV over here. I stopped watching right after I saw a woman who was large, in charge and barking orders to men.

Though the 1962 version is very different from the book, I still liked it exactly because you don't see such sort of things in the old film. In 1962 adaptation, women who encounter the walking monster plants scream and panic, while men fight valiantly and slay the dragon that is, the triffid. In the end, it's a man who discovers how to destroy them.

The film tells two parallel stories, one about the sea captain who travels through Europe with a little girl he saved in England trying to find some vestiges of civilisation, the other about  an alcoholic scientist living on a small isolated island with his wife who is forced to grow up and assume the responsibility when the couple's survival is at stake.

Unlike similar modern movies, it doesn't concentrate on blood and gore but more on the relationships between the characters and in a quite politically incorrect manner, shows that in the absense of civilisation women need men to survive. Another message of the film is that you must never surrender, but always fight to the last because there is always hope. In the end, the survivors go to church to offer thanks for their nearly miraculous rescue. To sum it up, though not a masterpiece, it's a nice film!

Watch it on YouTube: The Day Of The Triffids 1962


  1. I really, really, really HATE movies that show women screaming and fainting at danger. Grow up and be useful, even if it isn't "feminine." You have defined women as stupid, weak, and, especially, cowardly. Those are terrible traits in anyone.

  2. Well I hardly care what YOU like. It's my blog and I'm going to post links to movies which I prefer. If you don't like it, DON't READ. May I suggest Feministing as a place where you can discuss grrl power? Because I'm afraid THIS is not the place.

  3. For the record the comment by Karen is a typical example of creating a strawman, than proceeding to attack it. Kindly point out Karen, where exactly did I define women as stupid, weak and cowardly? The exact quote, please? In the real world women are definitely weaker than men, and they do panic easily. One can deny reality as long as he wants, most of the women I know can't even watch a war movie, cause it like shows blood and people die in it.

    The movie, btw, didn't show women as useless or stupid. The scientist's wife assisted him in his research and worked in laboratory together with him. She was shown as a true helpmeet. She also stuck with her husband through thick and thin, despite his problems with alcohol. Unlike many modern women who divorce for the most insignificant reasons, she took her wedding vows seriously. That was one honourable lady.

    Her reaction to the creepy plant was just a normal female reaction, and yes, it was her husband who slayed it. Sounds pretty normal to me. If somebody breaks into the house, is it usually the husband or the wife who deals with it?

    Another female lead and the main character's romantic interest is shown as a very honourable woman who has a facility for blind girls and refuses to leave them to save her own life, until the circumstances finally force her to do it. The little girl the hero saves assists him in his fight against triffids.

    Finally, for Pete's sake, it's just a movie! I, for one, being a normal woman, enjoy films which show men who are good leaders and will defend a woman from danger. It's the basic fairy tale stuff, the knight in the shining armour saves a beautiful princess and the like. Not every woman is turned on by girly men and she-males, you know.

  4. Guys, don't fight. If a woman doesn't want to watch movies about damsels in distress, then that's fine; if you don't like movies about women fighting monsters themselves, likewise. Can't we all just get along?

  5. Anonymous, as per blog rules, pick a handle! Any further anonymous comments will be deleted.