It’s man versus plant in this adaption of John Wyndham’s 1951 classic novel. There have been remakes including a British mini-series in 1981 and 2009 with another movie in development for who knows when. This is the one to see.
Everyone is caught up in watching a spectacular meteor shower. American Navy First Mate Bill Mason (Howard Keel) was injured in a shipboard explosion. He’s in a hospital with his eyes bandaged and can’t watch it. His doctor and nurse tell him the bandages will come off tomorrow.
The next morning he starts yelling for them and no one answers. He takes the bandages off himself. He can see. The place is a wreck and deserted. Then he runs into his doctor who is now blind and ends up jumping out a window. The world has been taken over by Triffids. They’re plants that go after humans and sting them to death and then chow down.
Bill goes into London where everyone is blind. He goes to a train station. One pulls into the station and crashes and panicked blind passengers stumble off. He rescues twelve year old orphan Susan from a man and they take off. She can see because she hid in a luggage van as she was running away from a boarding school.
They make their way to a chateau in Toulon, France owned by Christine Durrant. She’s taken in her blind neighbors. A Triffid is spotted heading their way and Bill goes after it with a rifle. He’s accompanied by Mr.Coker (Merwyn Johns). Bullets have no effect.
They run across a group of Triffids shooting out spores. Coker trips and Bill has to carry him out of there. He doesn’t see a plant shoot gas into Coker. He’s a goner. Back at the chateau a group of escaped cons who can see are having a wild time dancing with the women. The music’s loud and they’re all drunk. Bill gets Susan and Christine out of there.
Their next stop is Spain. They run across Luis de la Vega and his pregnant wife in their villa. They’re both blind. Bill builds an electrified fence to try and stop the Triffid invasion. Then he uses a gas truck as a flame thrower. It works. But, you can’t keep a good Triffid down and they start coming back. Then Susan notices something.
All this is interspersed with the story of Marine biologists Tom and Karen Goodwin. They’re living in a lighthouse on a deserted small island. He’s going stir crazy and wants to leave. No boat shows up and they listen o a short wave radio. They hear about how the world has mostly gone blind.
Karen says there’s a plant outside and they investigate. They’re dumb enough to leave the door open and they get a visitor. Tom kills it and now the experiments begin. They decide to grab some shut eye. The plant takes the opportunity to wake up. Karen screams. The Triffid can’t handle it and busts out a window.
Can anything stop this menace that rode in on a meteor? This is a good SF movie and worth watching if you’re tired of aliens or giant insects.
Howard Keel is familiar to fans of musicals. He starred in “Kiss Me Kate” in 1953 and “Seven Brides For Seven Brothers” in 1954. TV fans know him from “Dallas” where he played Clayton Farlow (1981-91).
Merwyn Johns is the father of actress Glynis Johns.