THE 27TH DAY….Last night I watched The Jane Austen Book Club, which turned out be an OK movie as long as you don’t mind lots of coincidences and a happy ending that’s so happy and so unlikely they really ought to invent a whole new Academy Award category for it. And then retire it.
But whatever. Constructing a plausible ending seems to be a lost art these days. In any case, I learned something new from watching it: back in 1957 someone made a movie out of the book The 27th Day. (The Silicon Valley geek character has a lobby poster for the film hanging on one of his walls.) Wow! The 27th Day is one of my favorite trashy potboilers, a Cold War sf novel featuring a stalwart young American, a beautiful British love interest, a brilliant German scientist, a bunch of evil Russians, and — aliens! I didn’t really think anyone else in the world had even heard of the book, let alone made it into a movie. But they did, and IMDB informs me that it starred Gene Barry and Valerie French.
(According to Wikipedia, the author of the book, John Mantley, “trained as a fighter pilot in the Royal Canadian Air Force during World War II, and was sent to England and India. While there he exchanged long letters with his second cousin Mary Pickford, from which later evolved his first novel, The 27th Day.” Huh. Then he became a writer and producer for Gunsmoke. Huh again. The entry also informs me that not only am I not the only person who’s heard of The 27th Day, but it was a Book-of-the-Month Club selection back in the day. Triple huh. I’m sure my loyal commenters will be able to make much sport of this.)
Anyway, I’ll bet it’s a really bad movie, but now I want to see it. There’s no way I’ll find it at Blockbuster, though, and even Netflix doesn’t carry it, so I guess I’ll have to buy a copy from eBay or something. Unsurprisingly, I suppose, the trailer for the movie is available on YouTube.
Next up: World Out of Mind, by J.T. M’Intosh. Now that’s a so-bad-it’s-good book that hasn’t been made into a movie and never will be. Anybody but me ever read it?
UPDATE: In comments, FearItself writes:
I haven’t seen the movie, but I’ve read enough Jane Austen to know that “a happy ending that’s so happy and so unlikely they really ought to invent a whole new Academy Award category for it” is a staple of her books. Indeed, you could easily make the case that she used the very improbability of her novels’ endings to further their arguments, and to poke fun at the novelistic conventions of her society. So I’d imagine the movie’s ending was something of an homage.
OK. I’ll buy that, especially given the structure of the rest of the movie.