The 27th Day (1957)
Could it be possible for mankind to find peace with an alien race while at the same time extinguish the evils of communistic Russia?
Gene Barry and Valerie French are sure to find out.
When five seemingly everyday people are plucked from planet Earth and whisked away in a spaceship they are confronted by a being who claims they are a peaceful race that need a new home. Earth fits the bill but mankind is a warring tribe. Not to be trusted. Into each kidnapped hand falls a minute weapon that only the owner will be able to open. There are three capsules inside that have enough power to wipe out the human race and yet leave no damage to the planet or the wildlife that populates it.
Should the owner of the capsule die or be killed, the power of the capsules die with him or her. The capsules themselves will last for 27 days thus becoming a test to see if we can live in harmony for that long on our own planet when we clearly have the power to remove our enemies.
We have a newspaperman Gene Barry, a lovely English lass played by Valerie French, a Professor, a Russian soldier and an Asian woman from the far east holding the power in the palms of their hands. Nothing serious is likely too happen until the Alien makes his presence known to Earth and names the five people who hold the power to take out their enemies.
Political leaders immediately go into action. The U.S. want Barry and French to give up the weapons and it’s secrets. The evil communists of Russia torture their soldier to gain access to the power in his palm. The world is working it’s way to the brink of destruction which would play right into the hands of the Alien race.
Thankfully we have a Professor ( no it’s not Russell Johnson on hiatus from a three hour tour) involved with his own hand held weapon who believes he can solve the dilemma and quite possibly put the philosophies of evil Russians everywhere out of business. George Voskovec is our actor in the Professor garb.
Really what we have here is a Science Fiction back drop to an anti-communist rant at a time when Hollywood was still in the days of the blacklist. Feeding on the “what if” scenario of Russia having a more powerful weapon at it’s disposal, it’s a film meant to cause fear among those living in the world of the free. Mainly the United States of America. If the tricky Russians open up the capsules then essentially they have opened up a Pandora’s Box.
Leading man Barry has a likable presence on camera which would prove successful the year following this release. He would have a three year run as Bat Masterson on TV during the western craze. Leading lady French is for me the woman scorned who caused so much hell to befall the valley which Ernest Borgnine and Glenn Ford called home in the classic western Jubal.
This William Asher directed effort serves as a time machine to the days when Hollywood was immersed in the propaganda of producing anti communist films while at the same time putting the message into a film that was aimed at the younger movie going crowds of the day.
This oddity turned up as part of a six pack of low budget sci-fi efforts recently on DVD if it suits your viewing pleasure.