Release dateSeptember 1958 (1958-09) (Rome)
1959 (1959) (France) WriterSandro Continenza, Marcello Coscia, Virgilio Sabel (story) ScreenplaySandro Continenza, Marcello Coscia CastPaul Hubschmid (John McLaren), Fiorella Mari (Mary McLaren), Madeleine Fischer (Katy Dandridge), Ivo Garrani (Professor Herbert Weisse), Dario Michaelis (Peter Leduq), Peter Meersman (General van Dorff) Similar moviesMissile movies, Movies about meteoroids, Science fiction movies
TaglineTerror From The Sky! Earth Attacked From Outer Space!
The Day the Sky Exploded (Italian: 'La morte viene dallo spazio, 'Death Comes From Space') is a 1958 science fiction film directed by Paolo Heusch. It is known as the first Italian science fiction film, predating even the science fiction films of Antonio Margheriti.
From somewhere in the Australian desert, the United Nations launches an atomic rocket on a manned moon mission, but one of the engines malfunctions. The pilot, American John McCleary, disengages the capsule and returns to Earth. The atomic booster, however, continues on, eventually exploding in the Delta asteroid cluster. In the stress of the moment, McCleary and his wife have a breakup. The explosion dislodges the asteroids from their orbits. They coalesce into one giant cluster heading for Earth. When there seems to be no reasonable hope that humans can avoid the crash, scientists find that the Moon will pass in front of the cluster, shielding Earth from most of it. However, a small part of the cluster is not shielded and continues towards the Earth.
As the cluster approaches it causes worldwide disasters: tidal waves, wind, firestorms and earthquakes. Mass evacuations lead to panic and riots. Mankind's only hope is to arm every missile on earth with a nuclear warhead and fire them all at the cluster. McCleary is reunited with his family. One scientist loses his sanity and disables the great computer needed to calculate all the firing data. McCleary leads a group of men to overpower him, and is shot. The computer is restarted. The missiles are launched, destroying the cluster and saving Earth.
The Day the Sky Exploded was shown in Rome, Italy in September 1958. It was shown in France in 1959 as Le Danger vient de l'espace.
It premiered in the United States on September 27, 1961 in Los Angeles.
In a contemporary review, The Monthly Film Bulletin stated that "The producers of this Franco-Italian science fiction film have turned to stock footage to such an extent that this might well be termed the stock-shot film par excellence." and that "this disparate material has been quite ingeniously assembled" and that the film was "otherwise routine" and "tamely directed"
TV Guide gave the film a one out of four rating, referring to the film as an "Ineffective sci-fi outing" In Phil Hardy's book Science Fiction (1984), a review stated that "the picture's main asset is Bava's excellent cinematography; both acting and direction fail to transcend a poor script."