1959, Gregory Peck, survivors of a nuclear war wait in Australia for the end.  I look at this now -and most of the post-apocalyptic stuff I saw in movies and tv for most of my life- and it all seems very...  I don't know.  Strange?  It was the big worry for a while and now it isn't and hasn't been for a long time.  Still a good movie though.

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Found my VHS of this and watched it last night. Very moving film, although poor Tony Perkins, I see him in anything and think "Norman!"  Also funny seeing him playing an Australian and Australian actor Ken Wayne playing an American.

Funny that we don't worry as much about nuclear war anymore. There's still plenty enough nukes out there in the world to ruin everyone's day.

Yea, but it's one or two instead of hundreds.

One or two would be enough, in most cases.

On the Beach is an excellently made film.  For a while, it---like Days of Wine and Roses and Ben-Hur---was a film I watched whenever I happened to catch it on.  The problem is it's darkly depressing and finally, I stopped watching it if I happened to catch it running.  I think the final straw was when I finally realised the impart of the final scene with Lieutenant Holmes (Perkins) and his wife, Mary (Donna Anderson).  In every other of their apartment scenes, their newborn baby is crying in the background; in that last scene, he is not.

The romance between Commander Towers (Gregory Peck) and Moira Davidson (Ava Gardner) seemed forced, too.  It didn't help that, by then, Gardner looked a bit long in the tooth---the right kind of personality would have overcome it, but she didn't display it---to play someone so beguiling that she could make Towers forget his dead wife.

So, in a way, it's a pity a good musical cue was wasted on their romance.  I'm talking about the sequence when Towers and Moira holiday at the lodge.  A running gag involves these drunken louts at the lodge singing "Waltzing Matilida" at the top of their lungs in a raucous, off-key fashion.  Even when Towers and Moira are in their room, the drunkards' singing is so loud it permeates their room.

Then, at the moment, during dinner in their room, when Towers and Moira realise that they're falling in love, the sloppy, uneven drunk singing shifts into a stirring, spot-on men's chorus of "Waltzing Matilda".  I loved what the composer was going for there; unfortunately, it was undone by the fact that these two characters failed to make their falling in love believeable.

And one last bit of trivia for Americans:  take a close look at the opening scene, during the opening credits, when the U.S. submarine, USS Sawfish, is riding on the surface, heading for port in Melbourne.  You see the ensign (American flag) hoisted on the mast behind the conning tower.  If you take a good look at that flag, you'll spot a short-lived piece of Americana:  a forty-nine star flag.  This was the flag that the United States adopted after Alaska was admitted as a state, on 03 January 1959, but before Hawaii attained statehood, on 21 August 1959.  On the Beach was made during that brief period.

My favourite line from the film occurs when Royal Australian Navy admiral, Bridie (John Tate), over the telephone, reads CDR Towers the final communiqué from the American military command before it succumbs to the radiation.  It names Towers as the commander-in-chief of all U.S. Naval forces.

Bridie tells Towers, parenthetically, "I suppose that makes you an admiral, if you want to be one."

Towers demures.  But, during my career, I've known a senior officer here and there whose first act after hanging up the phone, even under these circumstances, would have been to march straight down to the ship's store and buy a set of admiral's stars and shoulder boards.  Heh.

I've been too busy with homework to watch it yet, but it's one of those films I've always meant to see but it was seldom on.  I've noticed that Dr. Strangeglove is on more than a film like On the Beach or Fail Safe (though I think TCM showed both Dr. Strangeglove and Fail Safe in one week).

  Those three are the movies that I most remember about atomic war.  I remember a lot of science fiction tv shows that often danced on the edge, with the hero or heroine having to stop someone from triggering one (best I remember of that was the episode of the Bionic Woman where she had to face a computer, Linsday Wagner was great in that).  Now I think the only show currently on tv that shows a post-apocalyptic world is Adventure Time.

I remember reading the book years before I got to see the movie.   It's a pretty good picture, but definitely not one you'd want to watch every day.  Actually, I've seen a number of "nuclear war" movies over the years.  Might almost be a thread idea in there somewhere...

A lot of good stories came out of the fear of those days.

The Baron said:

I remember reading the book years before I got to see the movie.   It's a pretty good picture, but definitely not one you'd want to watch every day.  Actually, I've seen a number of "nuclear war" movies over the years.  Might almost be a thread idea in there somewhere...

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