The Day of the Triffids (1981)

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Released 2-Jun-2005

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Science Fiction Main Menu Audio
Booklet
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1981
Running Time 159:19 (Case: 157)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (78:44) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Ken Hannam
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring John Duttine
Emma Relph
Maurice Colbourne
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $29.95 Music Christopher Gunning
Dick Allen
Stan Pow


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.29:1
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.29:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    The Day Of The Triffids was made for television in 1981, and this BBC adaptation of the classic 1951 John Wyndham science fiction novel is still remarkably chilling more than 20 years after it was made, despite the fact that it is not a huge budget production. The novel was first made into a film starring Howard Keel in 1962, but that adaptation was roundly criticised for being corny and altering the original story far too much.

    Earth has had a close encounter with a comet and the resulting massive meteor shower strikes the entire population blind. One man who has not lost his sight is Bill Masen (John Duttine), who was recovering in a London hospital; Masen was earlier stung in a vicious plant attack and as a result his eyes have been bandaged for sometime. His earlier misfortune now looks his likely saviour.

    Having finally recovered and eagerly awaiting the morning that his nurses will come and remove the bandages, Masen is dismayed to learn that no one is coming to his aid. Removing his own bandages he is shocked to learn that the world has altered unimaginably for the worse.

    With much of the population now blind, government and law enforcement in tatters, and bands of renegades roaming the streets, things don't look like they could get much worse. But Masen didn't bank on the rise of the Triffids, the hostile, carnivorous plant life that he has some history with and the very ones that put him in hospital in the first place. It seems the plants that originated in the USSR and which were touted as a source of fuel have now begun to hunt the vulnerable blind population.

    As society begins to crumble before Masen's functional eyes, and with the deadly Triffids hunting and, even more dangerous, blind mobs seeking sighted people to aid them, our hero must find support from the few remaining sighted people in the country to plan a counter-attack.

    This is a first-rate and somewhat terrifying apocalyptic drama with few flashy special effects and an obvious limited budget that still sends a chill down your spine. Solid acting and an obviously supreme script and source material combine to make this an excellent night's viewing.

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Transfer Quality

Video

      This transfer is presented in its original television aspect ratio of 1.29:1 and is not 16x9 enhanced.

    While not the sharpest of transfers, it is adequate enough, but certainly not in the category of something modern. Shadow detail is handled well enough, though the high contrast of some scenes is a little offputting at times. Grain is quite minimal with a relatively smooth appearance to most scenes. There is no low level noise.

    Colours are quite drab and nondescript, though this was really as expected given the similar look to many of the early 1980s BBC programmes.

    The skin tones hold up reasonably well, but the black level tends a little to the grey side. If you are looking for a vibrant image, best move along to something else.

    There are no compression artefacts. Aliasing is also absent. Film artefacts are few and far between.

    The English for the hearing impaired subtitles are mostly accurate with only a few words and sentences abridged throughout (I did notice the phrase "Blind Man's Bluff" became "Blind Man's Buff" for some reason!).

    This disc is single sided and dual layered. The layer change occurs at 78:44.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    Only one soundtrack is present, an English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo effort that sounds quite solid considering the age of the source. There is enough separation across the left and right channels to indicate a stereo soundtrack, and the low end is well represented.

    The dialogue is clear and easily understood, while the score by Christopher Gunning is atmospheric and moody. It is a perfect match for the on-screen action.

    There is obviously no surround channel nor subwoofer use.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Main Menu Audio

    Aside from a little main menu audio there are no extras. The DVD slick proudly proclaims the inclusion of a collector's booklet, but we did not receive this for review and as a result cannot make comment on it.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This adaptation of The Day Of The Triffids does not appear to have been released in Region 1. There is a UK Region 2 version available which appears to be identical to the Region 4 release.

Summary

    This BBC adaptation of the classic John Wyndham science fiction novel is still a sensational and chilling viewing experience more than 20 years after it first aired. If you've never had the chance to see it, this excellent DVD presentation comes highly recommended.

    The video and audio presentations are quite good considering the vintage of the material.

    The extra material is limited to a collector's booklet.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Darren Walters (It's . . . just the vibe . . . of my bio)
Wednesday, October 05, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-3910, using RGB output
DisplayLoewe Calida (84cm). Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL).
AmplificationHarmon/Kardon AVR7000.
SpeakersFront - B&W 602S2, Centre - B&W CC6S2, Rear - B&W 601S2, Sub - Energy E:xl S10

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Excellent adaptation - Christopher
Blind leading the blind... - REPLY POSTED
Triffids booklet -
My DVD contained a booklet. - Christopher