CineSavant Column

Tuesday February 21, 2023



Ah, but gentlemanly David J. Schow is the ideal source for link items to purloin … last weekend he hit us with a real winner, an established website of core interest. Written in 2007, The Reader’s Guide to The Day of the Triffids offers a concise overview of Mondo Triffidus. The book was our introduction to post-apocalyptic fiction.

Other pages offer flashier artwork and catalog the myriad pocketbook editions of John Wyndham’s triffidic terrific sci-fi thriller, but the unnamed author of this Guide clearly lays out basic info about the book and its various film and TV versions — the facts, just the facts.

The Guide’s big surprise is the news that the Day of the Triffids I’ve been re-reading for 60 years is an American abridged version! ┬áThe original is 11,000 words longer. Now I must find a complete original copy. The Guide shows us the covers of copies known to be full length.

We of course still await a Blu-ray (why not a 4K?) of the famed 1962 film version. It has been completely restored, but is still withheld from home media distribution. Of course, the book really ought to be in print too, in hardcover, original length. In 1972, the first book I ever ordered from a bookstore was John Wyndham’s The Midwich Cuckoos. It had to be sent from England. It was a treasure that only lasted a year — a college roommate swiped it, along with my full collection of National Lampoon magazines. The swine.



Although it’s non-rare and easily accessed, I appreciate this link from associate advisor Gary Teetzel: a CBS Sunday Morning video item about some composers and performers gathering to do a special recording, as A Tribute to Composer Henry Mancini. We see and hear Arturo Sandoval, Herbie Hancock, Quincy Jones and John Williams. Back in 1958, as ‘Johnny Williams,’ he played piano on the original recording of Mancini’s Peter Gunn Theme.

The news host is Tracy Smith. She interviews Mancini’s daughters and gets her facts straight about the composer’s career — which bloomed as soon as Universal laid him off. As for the prowling, insistent Peter Gunn Theme, editor Steve Nielson long ago admitted that it remains the greatest modern action hero theme ever — even the James Bond Theme is tame by comparison. It’s too bad that Blake Edwards’ 1967 feature film Gunn isn’t that great — its extra-hyped orchestrations of the original Mancini themes are great.

Thanks for reading! — Glenn Erickson