This thread led me to think about all of the various movies I've seen over the years which revolved around "World War Three" happening and the aftermath thereof. While I've seen more than seven, seven is the number that I have currently available on disk or tape, so seven is the number I shall re-watch and describe here for your edification or amusement.
As an aside, I realize that this isn't a "Timeline" as such, but since I have this swell space here that the Skipper has provided, I figured that I ought to make some use of it. I'll be watching in release order, so that's sort of like a timeline, in a way. If you don't buy that, then think of this space as "The Baron's Timelines and Things", or some such.
Anyway, I begin my review of "World War Three" films in typical Baronial fashion by discussing a film that isn't about "World War Three" at all, but is in fact about World War Two. This picture differs from the vast majority of World War Two movies in that it was made in 1936, three years before World War Two started. It's important to remember that in the 1930's many people imagined that a second world war would destroy civilization completely. In essence, back before the Second World War, "World War Two" was the "World War Three" of its day.
Things To Come (1936) was written by H.G. Wells, based on his book, which I confess to never having read. It was directed by William Cameron Menzies.
The film begins on Christmas 1940 in Everytown in England. I believe that's somewhere in Anyshire. We got a juxtaposition of images of impending Christmas with impending war. No name is given to the potential enemy, but I dare say that in 1936, it would have been fairly clear to the Great British public (Evening, all!) who it was meant to be.
We begin with John Cabal (Raymond Massey, all serious and portentous) sitting around with his buddies, whose general attitude seems to be "It'll never happen, and besides, it'll do us some good, and besides, we can't stop it." The jollity of the evening is interrupted by a surprise bombing raid, and the war is on.
The depiction of the war itself is interesting. While it has some elements in common with the Second World War as it actually happened, it is much more like the sort of 'roided-up World War One that alot of people of the time seem to have expected, with biplanes and gas attacks and such.
Some of the SFX are quite good for the time. There's a scene of a massive air raid on the town that is quite harrowing to watch, even now. In many ways, it's like watching a nuclear attack without the nukes.
There's one scene where Cabal shoots down an enemy pilot who's gassing the town, then chivalrously lands his own plane to pull the downed pilot from the wreckage. Whilst Cabal pauses to pontificate on the horrors of war, a little girl and the enemy gas approach, in that order. The enemy matches Cabal's chivalry by giving his gasmask to the little girl. Cabal leaves him his sidearm before fleeing. The pilot muses on the irony of the fact that he may have killed the little girl's family, and then died to save her, before blowing his brains out, off-camera.
The war goes on for decades. By 1964, the enemy has begun to use a bio-weapon called "The Wandering Sickness", whose mute victims leave their sickbeds to wander about, mindlessly infecting others. In a way, they could be the prototypes of Romero's living dead!
By 1966, Everytown is a ruin. It wasn't a nuclear war, but this could be seen as the protoype of any number of "post-nuclear" films, as we see people living primitive lives in the remnants of the old civilization. I am particularly amused by the depiction of automobiles being used as carriages, horseless no longer. The Boss (well-played by Ralph Richardson as a blustering, swaggering bully) has arisen, dealing with the Wandering Sick by shooting them on sight.
By 1970, the Boss is in complete control, and is attempting to create an air force for himself, to pursue a war against the Hill People. Cabal returns in a new plane, representing "Wings Over the World", a cadre of benevolent techno-fascists who are going around "cleaning up" the various local warlords, using advanced aircraft and the Orwellian-sounding "Gas of Peace". Cabal confronts the Boss, who locks him up. The Boss' Wife (Margaretta Scott, all regal and intelligent) quizzes Cabal about the wider world. In the end, Cabal's buddies come in giant planes of the sort that never existed in real life but were all over the fiction of the time and rescue him.The Boss dies ranting and shooting futilely,and his world dies with him.
We then get an interlude of seemingly endless scenes of re-building, and titanic machines that make me wish for a Jack Kirby adaptation of this film. Eventually we see Everytown in 2036, which has become the sort of effete, antiseptic, science fictional, socialist Utopia that took the place of the New Jerusalem for a certain type of bourgeois lefty thinker once upon a time, as if they had abandoned Christianity for a faith whose creed could be summed up as "There is no God but Progress, and Flash Gordon is Its prophet." We also get to see the "futuristic" fashions. Why did everyone assume that we'd stop wearing pants in the future back then?
We encounter Theotocopoulos* (Cedric Hardwicke, doing demagoguery quite well), who seems to be against Progress the way cranky old people are against young people being noisy late at night, and just generally seems to be against anyone doing anything even remotely interesting, ever. At the moment, he is especially against the Space Gun, a sort of massive cannon which could be considered a descendant of Verne's Columbiad.
We also encounter Oswald Cabal (Massey again, with hair coloring), great-grandson of John, and chairman of the local Soviet or whatever it is they have. He's a big booster for space travel, and his daughter has volunteered to be part of the couple that gets launched around the Moon. Theotocopoulos stirs up a mob to attack the space gun, so Cabal #2 hurries the space launch. Theotocopoulos rants at them. The gist of his argument seems to be "Can't humanity ever just relax and sit quietly?" He also says "We shall hate you more if you succeed than if you fail!"
The launch goes off as planned. We end with Cabal #2 giving a millennial speech about Progress: "All the Universe or Nothing? Which shall it be?", which sounds suspiciously similar to the old Nazi slogan of "Weltmacht oder Niedergang", which I'm told meant something like "World domination or ruin".
Overall: A very good movie, with generally good acting and good effects for the time. Wells' politics shine through a fair bit, and the picture does tend to get melodramatic and portentous and full of Big Ideas. The war and the aftermath are quite good and obviously inspired countless imitators. The last segment with future Utopia is a bit weak and less convincing, but still not bad. Definitely worth a look if you get a chance.
*Note that the troublemaker has a "foreign" sounding name.
Next: 1955, and the Return of the Mutant Boyfriend!
Mark S. Ogilvie said:
The son of Migholeto Lovelace did that in one of the Wild Wild West movies.
Wasn't that the one with Paul Williams as the heel?
Yea, the movies were never quite as good and they never a better villain than the original Lovelace.
The Baron said:
Mark S. Ogilvie said:
The son of Migholeto Lovelace did that in one of the Wild Wild West movies.
Wasn't that the one with Paul Williams as the heel?
Next up is On the Beach (1959), directed by Stanley Kramer, and written by John Paxton, from the novel by Nevil Shute. We've already discussed this a bit in Mark's thread which I linked to above, so I apologize in advance if I go over already-traveled ground.
I read the book many years ago, long before I even knew there was a movie. From what I recall, the film is mostly true to the book, but there were some changes, and from what I have read, Shute was less than perfectly happy with the film.
The story begins in 1964. A nuclear war has been fought, wiping out all human life in the Northern Hemisphere. The war is not shown, but the implication is that Australia, at least, suffered no physical damage. the cause of the war is left vague, with some indication that it may have all been a mistake. (As I recall, the book mentioned survivors in some other places, Patagonia and South Africa, for example, but no mention is made of these in the movie.) At any rate, although Australia is untouched, the inhabitants are doomed, as wind currents are slowly but steadily carrying the lethal radiation their way. The film depicts how various people react to impending, inescapable doom.
(As an aside, I've read a fair amount about nuclear war, and there seems to be a wide spectrum of opinion as to precisely what it would be like. There does seem to be a general consensus that the scenario presented in this film is somewhat unlikely, scientifically speaking. I'm not remotely knowledgeable enough on the subject to express a definitive opinion. However, to my mind, precise scientific accuracy doesn't matter all that much in this case. My opinion is that the film is not asking "What would be the precise environmental effects in the event of a massive nuclear exhange in the Northern Hemisphere?", but is more asking "How would people react int he face of slow but unavoidable racial death?")
(A side question prompted by watching this film: Around when did films stop showing the full credits at the start of the picture and move the bulk of them to the end?)
The main characters are as follows:
Commander Dwight Towers (Gregory Peck), captain of the USS Sawfish, an American nuclear submarine. Peck does well portraying a man who is outwardly fairly stoic, but who has deep feelings within.
Lt. Peter Holmes (Anthony Perkins), an RAN* officer assigned as liaison to the Sawfish. Perkins is OK in this. He doesn't really seem to attempt an Austrlaian accent, which is perhaps just as well.
Mary Holmes (Donna Anderson), Peter's wife, and mother of their infant daughter. She is not dealing well with the upcoming extinction of humanity. Anderson does well as a perhaps somewhat underbright woman failing to cope with what is admittedly the most stressful situation imaginable.
Moira Davidson (Ava Gardner), a friend of the Holmes' whom they try to fix up with Dwight. Of Gardner's performance, the Commander said:
"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."
I wouldn't argue with that too much. Gardner looked just fine to me - but then, I'm a bit "long in the tooth" myself - but she did come across as more of the good-hearted local party girl than an irresistible siren. I suppose one could argue that in a situation where it was literally one's "last chance for love", one might have more of a "love the one you're with" attitude than one might in a more normal situation.
Julian Osborn (Fred Astaire), a British scientist and race car driver. Of course, Astaire was a dancer without peer, but he was also a pretty good actor. That said, I'm not overwhelmed by his performance here. He has some good moments - I'm thinking particularly of the scene on the sub where he snaps Perkins' character out of a funk by being obnoxious to him - but overall his performance was the least "real" to me.
Admiral Bridie (John Tate), Dwight's main contact with the RAN. I liked this character - bluff, amiable, believable.
Lt. Hosgood (Lola Brooks) Bridie's almost preternaturally faithful aide. Probably my favorite character in the picture. Brooks does quite well in a small role.
There are three major plot threads to the picture:
1)The search to determine whether there's anyone left alive in the world. The film begins with the sub returning to base, reporting that they'd found no one alive. They are eventually sent back out again on a two-fold mission: One, to test a theory that the radiation may have died down further north, and two, to investigate a mysterious signal that seems to be coming from San Diego. They reach Alaska, and discover that it is still lethally radioactive. They stop in at San Francisco, and a crewman who is a native San Franciscan jumps ship, which Towers doesn't really blame him for. When they get to San Diego, they discover that the mystery signal was caused by a Coke bottle caught in a window shade. Thus, there is no hope of survival. Actually, the fact that San Francisco and San Diego are both shown as physically intact - though lifeless- is one of the more unbelievable parts of the picture to me. Surely if there was a war on that scale, the Reds would've spared a bomb for those two places, wouldn't you think?
2)The depiction of how people cope with the impending death of the human race. From the start, the picture shows people dealing with shortages cause by the war. There are no more milk deliveries, few people have cars. Most people ride bicycles, while upper class types ride horses. Real coffee becomes quite scarce. Mary Holmes refuses to accept the reality of the situation. Her husband obtains suicide pills for them at great effort, but she cannot accept the fact that they will have to euthanize their baby daughter. Peter is assigned to the Sawfish, and is upset by the thought that the end might come while he's away. When the Holmes' throw a prty, Julian gets drunk and makes a scene, upsetting Mary. We see members of an exclusive club worrying that they won't be able to drink all of their port before the end, and stuffily blaming the Wine Committee for not properly anticipating the Apocalypse. Julian enters an auto race in which the drivers race with abandon, and several are killed, effectively choosing "suicide by car". Julian wins, but ultimately checks out using the exhaust fumes of his race car. We see a huge Salvation Army revival, as others line up at the hospital to receive their suicide pills. Peter does make it back in time, and he and Mary have one last moment together. Bridie and Hosgood share a final drink, in a particularly touching scene. The club members gone, the barman helps himself to a drink as the lights go out for the last time.
3)The development of the relationship between Dwight and Moira. This begins when Peter invites Dwight to vist for the weekend. Mary can't bear the thought of him being all weepy, so they invite Moira to distract him. Dwight discusses his children with Moira as though they were still alive. (I remember after my grandfather died, my grandmother asked me if I thought she was crazy because she still spoke to him. I restrained myself from saying, "No, Grandma, that's not why I think you're crazy.") She visits him on the sub, and they get along well, until an awkward moment arises when he calls her by his wife's name. Later, he gets emotional with her, and explains that he had prepared himself for the thought that he might get killed and his wife would survive, but it had never occurred to him that the reverse might happen. However, when he returns, he comes back to her. They plan a mountain getaway, only to discover that everyone has as well. Then follows the scene which the Commander has described thusly:
" 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."
Interestingly, my problem with that scene is not the unbelievability of the Dwight/Moira romance. I didn't have the same problem with their involvement. My problem was with the music. The whole thing seemed too artificial. On the one hand, I know from experience (some first-hand) the drunk's propensity for singing the same song over and over again. But for me , the repetition seemed a little too "staged". It also was profoundly irritating. I know, it was meant to be, but it went on a little too long. It was starting to take me out of the picture. Secondly, the switch-over from the gang of drunken singers to the one guy singing perfectly was a little too abrupt. It was too much like an announcement: "ATTTENTION, VIEWERS, THE SCENE IS NOW ABOUT TO BECOME EMOTIONAL. PLEASE VIEW ACCORDINGLY." When Dwight's men start to fall ill, he lets them vote about what to do. when they vote to try to return home, he feels duty-bound to return with them. (Since he's the head of the US Navy now, I suppose technically he could promote someone else to command and stay behind, but he elects not to do that.) He has a tearful parting with Moira, and she watches his sub leave. The film ends with shots of empty streets and the revivalists' banner "THERE IS STILL TIME..BROTHER".
Overall: A good, if somewhat depressing film. Well-made, and mostly well-acted. Interestingly, it's the first of these pictures to have a bleak, hopeless ending. I gather they caught heat at the time from the military, who held that a nuclear war would not produce a scenario like this. Still, "realistic" or not, it's a thought-provoking picture. It makes you wonder not only how people in general would react in that situation, but what you yourself would do. I've always lived near big cities that I assumed would be targeted (Boston, New York), so I've always assumed that I would be gone fairly quickly. I used to say that if I knew the nukes were on their way, I'd grab my umbrella, quickly throw together a small sign that said "Yipe." and go out doing a Wile E. Coyote impersonation. Now, I think I'd just listen to my favorite music as long as the power held out.
Next: 1961, and, "The monster Pikadon is attacking the city!"
*Stands for "Royal Australian Navy"
Update up, sooner than I thought!
I still haven't managed to see the film, too much homework.
Actually, the fact that San Francisco and San Diego are both shown as physically intact - though lifeless- is one of the more unbelievable parts of the picture to me. Surely if there was a war on that scale, the Reds would've spared a bomb for those two places, wouldn't you think?
I have read the book and seen the movie, but not in a long time. Both are very well done and make you think. Showing an intact city was probably a lot cheaper than constructing sets of a destroyed one. San Diego certainly would be high on the target list since it is a big Naval center.
I've seen the film from a point during the exploration of San Diego. I remember that sequence as terrific and the remainder of the movie as so-so.
It didn't occur to me to question the San Diego sequence when I saw it. Assuming the city had not been bombed, I suppose it would only have been deserted if it had been evacuated or most of the population had cleared out when they heard there was a killer cloud coming. In the latter case there would probably have been signs of looting.
My recollection is the scenes with the revival meetings were filmed at the Swanston St entrance of the State Library of Victoria.
In World Without End (US 1956), which I haven't seen, a contemporary spaceship travels to a time four hundred years after a nuclear war. This is the earliest film I can think of in which a nuclear war is a component of a future history, and involving a new civilisation established after the war and mutant people who are hostile to it. Later films in this tradition include Beyond the Time Barrier (1960) and The Time Travellers (1964). However, in the former of these the world-changing catastrophe was not a nuclear war, but a plague which was the result of cosmic radiation that reached Earth due to atmosphere damage resulting from atomic tests.
The World, The Flesh and the Devil (US 1959) is another film set in a nuclear war's immediate aftermath, and has a race relations component. I've not seen this either. According the films' Wikipedia pages The Quiet Earth (NZ 1985) has been called an unofficial remake, although it also had a source novel (and doesn't involve a nuclear war).
The George Pal version of The Time Machine (US 1960) has a nuclear war sequence. The Time Traveller witnesses the inhabitants of his city take refuge in a shelter in response to air raid sirens and the city's destruction in a nuclear attack, which triggers volcanic eruptions. Wikipedia's page on Beyond the Time Barrier says it was released a month before Pal's film to take advantage of its publicity. In Journey to the Center of Time (US 1967), which reworks elements from The Time Travellers, a nuclear war is seen on the time lab's screen while it travels into the far future, but the future depicted isn't related to it.
I finished watching it and I was struck by two things, one the generational divide. Fred Astair was born in 1899, Gregory Peck in 1916. At that time time I can't think of anyone who honestly worried that humanity would destroy itself. I'm sure a lot of people worried about their country or their city or their way of life, but it would be for the generation born in the 1950's who would live their lives with nuclear destruction always only missile trip away.
The second thing was how calm everyone seemed to be. Most of the other end of the world pictures I've seen have featured mass panic, rioting, looting. Nothing like that here. Only a sort of fatalism. No one trying to come up with a way to survive, just waiting for the end. They knew it was coming for months and no one was shown digging shelters or any other preventive measure. That seems strange to me as again all of the other pictures I've seen showcase either a group trying to survive or a group trying to come up with a way to survive.
I'd forgotten Pal's Time Machine. or rather, hadn't thought of it as a "World War Three" film. I remember a film like World Without End, but it involved a "time window" of sorts, rather than a spaceship.
That was likely The Time Travelers. I spelt the name with two Ls above but apparently it should be one.
Since I'm correcting myself, I'll also note that "Lapis Lazuli", which I quoted on p.1, was first published in the London Mercury in March 1938.
Next up is Sekai Daisensō (1961). The title translates as "Great World War", but its English title is The Last War. The film was produced by Tomoyuki Tanaka, creator of Godzilla. It was directed by Shūe Matsubayashi, and written by Takeshi Kimura and Toshio Yasumi. The special effects were done by Eiji Tsuburaya, creator of Ultraman, who also did the SFX for most of the Showa Era Toho kaiju eiga. The effects are generally quite well done, although one does occasionally get the feeling of a monster movie where the monster forgot to show up. The music was done by Ikuma Dan, and is generally quite good, although it does sometimes veer over into "radio soap opera melodrama" style stuff. The film represents Toho's attempt to do a serious movie about the dangers of nuclear war. The story is mostly set in an around Tokyo during a period of tension between the Alliance (a stand-in for the Soviet Union and its allies) and the Federation (a stand-in for the US and it allies, of which Japan is depicted as one). As a side note - the Federation and Alliance officers that appear all speak English, and are fairly obviously portrayed by whatever Caucasian actors were available. Their accents tend to be all over the map, and not always easy for this English speaker to understand. I'm sure that when they were subtitling this picture for an English-speaking audience, it didn't occur to them to subtitle the English-speaking characters, but it would've helped.
As with On the Beach, there are three main storylines:
1)The Japanese Prime Minister (who is ailing and keeps putting off surgery to deal with the various crises that arise) and his cabinet discussing how to avert nuclear war. Much is made of Japan being the only country to suffer nuclear attacks, and so being in a unique position to speak out against the dangers of same. At any rate, they repeatedly call for summit meetings and suggest that people stop killing each other. In the end, we see the PM sitting alone in the cabinet room as the radio declares "And on this day, World war 3 was declared." These scenes are OK, but they are mostly of people sitting around talking about how they're doing all sorts of things that don't seem to actually stop the carnage.
2)The ups and downs as various Federation and Alliance officers struggle to both fight the war and keep it from going nuclear. Neither side is presented as being either face or heel, and the soldiers are generally presented as not being especially fanatical. Although, in the end, I'm not sure how much difference it makes whether you press the Go Button eagerly or reluctantly, if you still press it in the end. We see an alert at a Federation base, as tensions ratchet up along the 38th Parallel. Back at the Federation base, an officer asks his men if they believe in peaceful coexistence. There's another alert, and the birds almost fly before it's discovered that it was down to a technical fault. There is a touch of perhaps forgivable overacting here. Fighting breaks out in Korea. These scenes are a bit of a low point, as the tanks look straight out of a Godzilla picture. Some unconvincing mini-nukes are used here - would there really be a nuke small enough to take out only a helicopter? Later, there's a near miss at an Alliance base as an avalanche causes a missile to arm, and only quick action stops it from going off. A ceasefire is announced in Korea, and we see celcbration at a Federation base. However, the fighting starts up again almost immediately. The situation worsens, and then the nukes fly!
3)The meat of the picture revolves around the Tamura family and their reaction to the world situation. We start off with scenes of daily life in Tokyo. We then meet Tamura (Frankie Sakai, who was in the first Mothra picture), a bluff, hardworking fellow who works as a chauffeur. Sakai is quite good in this. He come across as a somewhat more genial Ralph Kramden, who has managed to rise a little in the world. His wife is Oyoshi (Nobuko Otowa), sickly, but the real heart of the family. She listens to Tamura's bluster meekly, but is the one who really directs the family. Their eldest daughter is Saeko (Yuriko Hoshi), who is in love with Takano (Akira Takarada, veteran of many Godzilla films), a sailor who rooms with the Tamuras. They have two school age children, Ichiro and Haru. We first meet them as Tamura drops his wife and yougest children at a shrine for the Shichi-Go-San festival. Tamura listens to his various passengers discuss the world situation, but is dismissive of the idea that there will be a war. He mostly uses what he hears to tweak his stock portfolio. On his ship, Takano sees a mysterious light in the sky. (It's funny, but every time I see a ship in a Toho picture, I expect to see a monster sink it.) We learn that Tamura has a different guy in mind for Saeko. We meet an old man who sells sweet potatoes out of a push cart. He lost everything in Hiroshima and contributes to anti-nuclear causes. When Saeko visits his cart, she spots his Bible and reads from James 4:1-4, while we see stock shots of New York, London, Paris and Moscow. Takano goes to visit Ebara, his ships' chef who has been on medical leave and is visiting his daughter at the school where she teaches. Takano comes home and Saeko tells him that she has gotten an amateur radio license so that they can communicate while he's at sea, using the telegraph he has in his room. Saeko and Takano practice how they're going to tell Tamura about their love, and he reveals that Oyoshi has already told him. Ma and Pa Tmaura talk about how they fell in love, and in the end, Tamura agrees to the match. Later, a reporter interviews Takano about the light he saw, and says it must have been a sodium bomb. I've never heard of such a thing, I have an image of a bomb that dusts everything with salt. The young lovebirds plan for their wedding and look forward to having children. Takano segues into an anti-nuclear speech. Oyoshi plants tulip bulbs. Tamura helps her, and they too discuss plans for the future. This is a running theme, and we feel sad, since we know they haven't got a future. Ebara's daughter has the children sing a New Year's song for him before he goes back to his ship. I'm not familiar with the song, so I can't say what significance it may have. Takano's ship must leave early, and Oyoshi gives permission for her to go down to Yokohama to see him. They get married off camera and spend the night in a hotel room together. Back home, Tamura and Oyoshi discuss their first night together. Later, on board the ship Takano and Ebara discuss Saeko. Ichiro and Haru are sent home from school early, and the Tamura's neighbors flee. Tamura refuses to go, since he doesn't think it would do any good. As with On the Beach, we see shots of streets, empty excpet for a group of religious (I believe Buddhist) folks marching in the distance. We see a print of Munch's Scream briefly. Back at the school, Ebara's daughter sits with the remaining children and reads them The Two Goats, looking up as though she realizes its relevance to the world situation. Takano and Saeko express ther love for one another via telegraph. The Tamuras gather for a last meal together. they try to put a brave face on it, but impending doom dampens their spirits. When they check on the tulips, Saeko breaks down, and Tamura rails about the future they'lll never have, in particular about how he'll never get to send Ichiro "to the college I couldn't go to". Eventaully we see them sitting silently together as Saeko looks at a picture of Takano.
The film ends with the destruction of Tokyo. This scene is well-done and quite haunting. We also see Moscow, New York, London and Paris being hit, although these scenes are not so well done. On Takano's ship, the men have voted to return to Tokyo (Another parallel with On the Beach). Ebara brings them all coffee. As the ship returns, he hears the children singing again. We pan over the ruined Tokyo, and end with a caption suggesting that having a nuclear war would be a bad thing and should be avoided.
Overall: I thought this was a good film. Sakai was quite good in this, particularly. The device of letitng the viewer get a know a family, and their hopes and dreams, and then seeing them all smashed was quite effective, I thought. There were a few "monster movie" moments, but they were largely able to avoid this.
Next: 1962, and "Tonight, on a very special Highway Patrol..."