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“To draw the cloud that hides the silver moon.” William Shakespeare

The United Nations launches the first manned atomic rocket into space. The destination is the Moon. The astronaut is an American, John McLaren (Paul Hubschmid). Due to an engine malfunction McLaren ejects the capsule and returns safely to Earth. Unfortunately the unmanned atomic rocket continues on. Eventually the rocket ends up in the Delta asteroid cluster. The rocket, full of atomic material, explodes. The explosion dislodges tons of asteroids from their orbit and sends them hurtling toward the Earth.

Animals start acting strangely and people see a strange glowing light in the sky. It takes the scientists forever but eventually they figure out about the asteroids and that they have formed one big cluster as they head for Earth. When it seems all hope is lost, scientists realize that the Moon will pass in front of the cluster thereby shielding the Earth from most of it. However, there is still a small part of the cluster not shielded that continues towards the Earth.

As the remaining asteroids approach it causes worldwide stock footage, I mean disasters. Tidal waves, wind, firestorms and earthquakes. Mass evacuations lead to panic and riots. What can mankind do? Is there a way to save the Earth from this menace from space?

“The Day the Sky Exploded” AKA “Death Comes From Outer Space” was released in 1958 and was directed by Paolo Heusch and Mario Bava. It is an Italian/French production. In the American version Mario Bava’s name is spelled Baja. You can tell it is an Italian and French production due to the celebration once the rocket is safely launched. I don’t recall any NASA footage where the guys in the control room celebrated with champagne. There is also a dog wandering through the control room. I’m also not sure that NASA ever had a “bring you pet to work” day either. It must be a European tradition.

The film is notorious for two things, stock footage and gobbledy-gook. Any action is stock. Animals migrating, flooding, fires, pitiful refugees. As for the gobbledy-gook, pretty much everything that isn’t stock footage is science magical thinking. That’s OK. I like stock footage and science nonsense. It’s all part of the fun. It’s your standard 50’s science fiction disaster movie. My main complaint is that it’s slow in the middle. It takes the scientists forever to figure out what is happening and again forever to figure out a plan to try to deal with it. The dog knows more than the people do.