Ain't It Cool News (
Movie News

A Movie A Day: Quint sees ON THE BEACH (1959)
God, forgive us. Peter… I think I’ll have that cup of tea now…

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with today’s installment of A Movie A Day. [For those now joining us, A Movie A Day is my attempt at filling in gaps in my film knowledge. My DVD collection is thousands strong, many of them films I haven’t seen yet, but picked up as I scoured used DVD stores. Each day I’ll pull a previously unseen film from my collection or from my DVR and discuss it here. Each movie will have some sort of connection to the one before it, be it cast or crew member.] Wow, what a fucked up, depressing-ass movie this is. Who would have thought there would be such a gut-punch of a movie made in this era? Maybe I’m just showing my naivite, but I do not associate the ‘50s with crazy downer movies, let alone post-apocalyptic ones.

Basically the flick is about Australia (strange coincidence that Baz Luhrmann’s movie was released today, ain’t it?) being the last bastion of humanity on the planet after nuclear war. And the diagnosis isn’t pretty for them, either. Something about the sea winds around the equator is keeping the nuclear fallout from hitting Australia yet, but their scientists estimate they only have months before it reaches Australia’s shore. Anthony Perkins is a young Aussie Navy man who is called in to represent Australia when Gregory Peck appears off Australia’s coast in an American submarine. He was on a mission when the missiles were launched and his crew might be all that remains of America.

Turns out the Naval higher-ups have been receiving a signal, sounds like morse code, but it’s erratic, probably meaning nothing. It’s coming from San Diego, which is supposed to be dead, without power… but something is transmitting. Maybe it’s a survivor that doesn’t know morse code? They decide to send the sub on a journey. First, they want it to go up North because some scientists theorize the snow and ice might have absorbed the nuclear fallout quickly enough to make it inhabitable. Then, if that turns out to be bogus, they’re to go to the Coast of California, locate the possible survivor and see how they survived. Sounds like a men on a mission movie, doesn’t it? It’s not, really. All that takes place in the second act and very little time is spent in the sub on the travel. What writer John Paxton and director Stanley Kramer instead focus on is the melodrama, exploring the psyche of a people that are on the brink of elimination… not just personally, but as a species.

And, of course, there’s a very, very strong and forward message about deproliferation of nuclear weapons, how it doesn’t make any sense to arm ourselves with weapons that essentially cause our suicide. We never see the war, only the results. And it’s not a barren wasteland, charred beyod belief. No, it’s more real than that. If nuclear war broke out, it’s not the impact zones that kill us all, it’s the radiation leftover. We never see an impact zone, we don’t see streets littered with bodies. When we do see areas outside of Australia, like San Francisco, it’s just empty. It’s a pretty creepy thing, actually to see the Golden Gate Bridge completely empty, with no movement on either side. Perkins has a family, a wife (Donna Anderson) and a baby girl. He’s strong for them, but his wife deals with the reality of their world in a different way than most. She just ignores it, not wanting to hear any talk of it, nothing. If she doesn’t hear about it then it’s not real for her. Perkins is a little more realistic, but still hopeful. Peck also under a bit of self-deception. He has a wife and family back home and he speaks of them as if there were no war. His kid is going to grow up and be a great sailor, for instance. Peck is fully rational, knowing full well what the state of the world is, but not when it comes to his wife and kids. He can’t accept that they’re gone and just won’t acknowledge it.

Ava Gardner is an Aussie woman who turns to drinking and enjoying what little time is left. She falls in love with Peck, and he with her, forcing him to let go of the illusion of his wife and children’s safety and continued existence. Fred Astaire takes what I believe is his first dramatic, non-musical role in this film as a British scientist (with no accent, I might add) and doomsayer. But he’s not a dark, brooding dickhead by any means, just doesn’t seem to have a filter when speaking about the end of times or any sense of what that kind of talk does to those around him. Those are our core group we follow and it’s a fascinating hodgepodge of ideals and points of view. I won’t spend much more time describing the movie for a couple of reasons… I don’t want to ruin it, first and foremost, but I’m also under the gun on the Holiday Shopping Guide and need to focus entirely on that, but let me just say that the dour tone really surprised me and the ending even more so. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more depressing “The End” credit in my life. I’ve seen harsher endings, but the placement of that final image, with the Waltzing Matilda instrumental playing, really is a kick to the dick. Final Thoughts: Everybody is strong here, especially Peck and Gardner, but the real star of this movie is the total non-spectacle take on the end of the world. The focus is on the internal, not the external and it paints an honest look at the results of nuclear war. Although, I did spend most of the movie wondering what happened to New Zealand… Oh, and you get to see Fred Astaire race the Mach 5. I’m not kidding. It even has the 5 on it, same design. Go watch it, you’ll see I’m not BSing you…

Here’s what we have lined up for the next week: Thursday, November 27th: TWELVE O’CLOCK HIGH (1949)

Friday, November 28th: GENTLEMAN’S AGREEMENT (1947)

Saturday, November 29th: PANIC IN THE STREETS (1950)

Sunday, November 30th: THE HOT ROCK (1972)

Monday, December 1st: WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? (1966)

Tuesday, December 2nd: THE DAY OF THE DOLPHIN (1973)

Wednesday, December 3rd: CARNAL KNOWLEDGE (1971)

Alright, time to hunker down on this Guide. I've spent some 3 weeks researching and compiling and the last two days have spent about 20 hours getting it together... and I'm anticipating being up for another 12-14 hours to finish. Wish me luck! See you folks tomorrow for TWELVE O'CLOCK HIGH, following Mr. Gregory Peck! And Happy Early Turkey Day! -Quint

Previous Movies: June 2nd: Harper
June 3rd: The Drowning Pool
June 4th: Papillon
June 5th: Gun Crazy
June 6th: Never So Few
June 7th: A Hole In The Head
June 8th: Some Came Running
June 9th: Rio Bravo
June 10th: Point Blank
June 11th: Pocket Money
June 12th: Cool Hand Luke
June 13th: The Asphalt Jungle
June 14th: Clash By Night
June 15th: Scarlet Street
June 16th: Killer Bait (aka Too Late For Tears)
June 17th: Robinson Crusoe On Mars
June 18th: City For Conquest
June 19th: San Quentin
June 20th: 42nd Street
June 21st: Dames
June 22nd: Gold Diggers of 1935
June 23rd: Murder, My Sweet
June 24th: Born To Kill
June 25th: The Sound of Music
June 26th: Torn Curtain
June 27th: The Left Handed Gun
June 28th: Caligula
June 29th: The Elephant Man
June 30th: The Good Father
July 1st: Shock Treatment
July 2nd: Flashback
July 3rd: Klute
July 4th: On Golden Pond
July 5th: The Cowboys
July 6th: The Alamo
July 7th: Sands of Iwo Jima
July 8th: Wake of the Red Witch
July 9th: D.O.A.
July 10th: Shadow of A Doubt
July 11th: The Matchmaker
July 12th: The Black Hole
July 13th: Vengeance Is Mine
July 14th: Strange Invaders
July 15th: Sleuth
July 16th: Frenzy
July 17th: Kingdom of Heaven: The Director’s Cut
July 18th: Cadillac Man
July 19th: The Sure Thing
July 20th: Moving Violations
July 21st: Meatballs
July 22nd: Cast a Giant Shadow
July 23rd: Out of the Past
July 24th: The Big Steal
July 25th: Where Danger Lives
July 26th: Crossfire
July 27th: Ricco, The Mean Machine
July 28th: In Harm’s Way
July 29th: Firecreek
July 30th: The Cheyenne Social Club
July 31st: The Man Who Knew Too Much
August 1st: The Spirit of St. Louis
August 2nd: Von Ryan’s Express
August 3rd: Can-Can
August 4th: Desperate Characters
August 5th: The Possession of Joel Delaney
August 6th: Quackser Fortune Has A Cousin In The Bronx
August 7th: Start the Revolution Without Me
August 8th: Hell Is A City
August 9th: The Pied Piper
August 10th: Partners
August 11th: Barry Lyndon
August 12th: The Skull
August 13th: The Hellfire Club
August 14th: Blood of the Vampire
August 15th: Terror of the Tongs
August 16th: Pirates of Blood River
August 17th: The Devil-Ship Pirates
August 18th: Jess Franco’s Count Dracula
August 19th: Dracula A.D. 1972
August 20th: The Stranglers of Bombay
August 21st: Man, Woman & Child
August 22nd: The Little Girl Who Lives Down The Lane
August 23rd: The Young Philadelphians
August 24th: The Rack
August 25th: Until They Sail
August 26th: Somebody Up There Likes Me
August 27th: The Set-Up
August 28th: The Devil & Daniel Webster
August 29th: Cat People
August 30th: The Curse of the Cat People
August 31st: The 7th Victim
September 1st: The Ghost Ship
September 2nd: Isle of the Dead
September 3rd: Bedlam
September 4th: Black Sabbath
September 5th: Black Sunday
September 6th: Twitch of the Death Nerve
September 7th: Tragic Ceremony
September 8th: Lisa & The Devil
September 9th: Baron Blood
September 10th: A Shot In The Dark
September 11th: The Pink Panther
September 12th: The Return of the Pink Panther
September 13th: The Pink Panther Strikes Again
September 14th: Revenge of the Pink Panther
September 15th: Trail of the Pink Panther
September 16th: The Real Glory
September 17th: The Winning of Barbara Worth
September 18th: The Cowboy and the Lady
September 19th: Dakota
September 20th: Red River
September 21st: Terminal Station
September 22nd: The Search
September 23rd: Act of Violence
September 24th: Houdini
September 25th: Money From Home
September 26th: Papa’s Delicate Condition
September 27th: Dillinger
September 28th: Battle of the Bulge
September 29th: Daisy Kenyon
September 30th: Laura
October 1st: The Dunwich Horror
October 2nd: Experiment In Terror
October 3rd: The Devil’s Rain
October 4th: Race With The Devil
October 5th: Salo, Or The 120 Days of Sodom
October 6th: Bad Dreams
October 7th: The House Where Evil Dwells
October 8th: Memories of Murder
October 9th: The Hunger
October 10th: I Saw What You Did
October 11th: I Spit On Your Grave
October 12th: Naked You Die
October 13th: The Wraith
October 14th: Silent Night, Bloody Night
October 15th: I Bury The Living
October 16th: The Beast Must Die
October 17th: Hellgate
October 18th: He Knows You’re Alone
October 19th: The Thing From Another World
October 20th: The Fall of the House of Usher
October 21st: Audrey Rose
October 22nd: Who Slew Auntie Roo?
October 23rd: Wait Until Dark
October 24th: Dead & Buried
October 25th: A Bucket of Blood
October 26th: The Bloodstained Shadow
October 27th: I, Madman
October 28th: Return to Horror High
October 29th: Die, Monster, Die
October 30th: Epidemic
October 31st: Student Bodies
November 1st: Black Widow
November 2nd: The Ghost & Mrs. Muir
November 3rd: Flying Tigers
November 4th: Executive Action
November 5th: The Busy Body
November 6th: It’s A Mad Mad Mad Mad World
November 7th: Libeled Lady
November 8th: Up The River
November 9th: Doctor Bull
November 10th: Judge Priest
November 11th: Ten Little Indians
November 12th: Murder On The Orient Express
November 13th: Daniel
November 14th: El Dorado
November 15th: The Gambler
November 16th: Once Upon A Time In America
November 17th: Salvador
November 18th: Best Seller
November 19th: The Holcroft Covenant
November 20th: Birdman of Alcatraz
November 21st: The Train
November 22nd: Gunfight At The O.K. Corral
November 23rd: Mystery Street
November 24th: Border Incident
November 25th: The Tin Star

Readers Talkback
comments powered by Disqus
    + Expand All
  • Nov. 26, 2008, 11:24 p.m. CST


    by Archive

    12 O'Clock High is my favorite war movie, and I used to watch On the Beach when I was about 5 or 6. We had the VHS. Very quiet film.

  • Nov. 26, 2008, 11:26 p.m. CST

    Awesome film, decent remake too

    by Regicidal_Maniac

    Love this story! I got way way into this, Threads, The Day After, Mad Max trilogy, Defcon4 and a bunch of other post apocalyptic films when I was a kid.

  • Nov. 26, 2008, 11:52 p.m. CST


    by Anti-fanboy

    I was also dumbfounded by On the Beach. Caught it on TCM recently. I was amazed that I'd never heard of it before, for one (fairly hardcore classic/genre film geek), and two, that a movie in '59 was tackling, realistically, this ultra-grim subject matter. Didn't supplant Testament as the standard-bearer in my mind for most traumatically depressing nuclear war aftermath flick. The intimacy of it is what makes Testament so powerful. I'd recommend it, Quint, just keep some Zoloft handy for after.

  • Nov. 27, 2008, 12:05 a.m. CST

    The posters for this film are awesome

    by m_reporter

    ... especially the Yugoslavian one, it pronounces Ava's juggs beautifully.

  • Nov. 27, 2008, 12:12 a.m. CST

    The remake is so depressing

    by tristeele

    One of the toughest movies Ive ever tried to sit through. I need to see the original. btw Regicidal - love Threads, Day After and Defcon 5 as well. If you guys like end of the world stuff check out the 70s series The Survivors. A British series where 99% of the population is killed by a plague caused by scientists. It details what the people left do to survive. Its slow but ultimately rewarding. The series has just recently been remade by the BBC as well.

  • Nov. 27, 2008, 12:16 a.m. CST


    by Aloy

  • Nov. 27, 2008, 12:22 a.m. CST

    .....and again - Couldn't get through this as a kid

    by Aloy

    ....Way too solemn and lacking in special effects for a 14 yr. old. Now though, it's a great film, depressing but very worth watching. I think this was Ava Gardner's first film as a free agent away from the Hollywood contract system and a chance to make some decent money.

  • Nov. 27, 2008, 12:33 a.m. CST

    great movie & book

    by taff

    As a kid, I was fascinated by the movie, which motivated me to read the book. The moody ending intrigued me. I wanted to be one of those last people.

  • Nov. 27, 2008, 1:16 a.m. CST

    Mach 5 scene...

    by Don Lockwood really quite awesome. It shows how a racing movie, and in my opinion Speed Racer the movie, should have been done and that was back in 1959. Who needs DayGlo? <p> Also, tristeele, there's a remake of The Survivors just starting on BBC this month. Dunno if it's nearly as good as the original, though.

  • Nov. 27, 2008, 1:31 a.m. CST

    Nihilistic-as-Hell Flick...

    by Leto III

    ...and it makes me want to put a gun in my mouth at the end, every single time I see it. Seriously, to this day, every time I hear "Waltzing Matilda," I want to kill myself. Christ, this movie's depressing. (Neville Shute's novel ain't exactly full of Care Bears, either.)

  • Nov. 27, 2008, 2:19 a.m. CST

    1950s films about impending nuclear destruction...

    by Phil Spiderman

    Well, there was The Day the Earth Stood Still. On The Beach was also a ground-breaker for Hollywood filming movies in Australia too. In fact, it was such a big deal they even named some of the streets after the cast from the film.

  • Nov. 27, 2008, 3:26 a.m. CST

    Ava Gardner

    by PadewanKlaatu

    Having been born and raised in Melbourne, that Ava Gardner described the city as the perfect place to make a film about the end of the world was always funny as hell to me. Great film, the remake is also damn good.

  • Nov. 27, 2008, 3:32 a.m. CST

    Way depressing

    by Jinxo

    The first line describing this movie in the review was almost all you need to say. Summed up how I felt watching it. The movie takes the idea of the world ending not with a bang but with a whimper and really makes it real.<br><br> The Day After is goofy compared to On The Beach.<br><br> I had a high school teacher who showed us Threads. Not sure everyone would agree with his style though. He fast forwarded past some of the slower parts. That's okay. But anytime a girl in the class would react, go, "Ewwww," over something, he would back the tape up and show that bit again. I think we saw that leg amputation 3 times. In the moment it was funny but not sure it was really right. lol.

  • Nov. 27, 2008, 3:42 a.m. CST

    This movie has faded into obscutiry for a number of reasons

    by ricarleite

    It was a depressing view of nuclear war in an ear this was not common - it would take 30 years for "The Day After" and the superior "Threads" to show up. Second, it was a rather implausible scenario, which was, in a way, sort of improved by other films such as Dr. Strangelove. Loved the ending though.

  • Nov. 27, 2008, 3:54 a.m. CST

    The 2000 TV movie remake wasn't too bad!

    by NeilF

    Worth a watch...

  • Nov. 27, 2008, 6:08 a.m. CST

    war...war never changes...

    by The Amazing G

  • Nov. 27, 2008, 6:16 a.m. CST

    someone set us up the bomb!

    by The Amazing G

    how are you gentlemen? all your Australia are belong to us

  • Nov. 27, 2008, 6:53 a.m. CST

    And another

    by The StarWolf

    WHEN THE WIND BLOWS was an animated film on the same subject. It, too really kicks one in the gut. Very effective anti-nuclear war movie. As for the excellent ON THE BEACH (both novel and film) ... there was a remake? Why?

  • Nov. 27, 2008, 7:07 a.m. CST


    by FluffyUnbound

    I am sometimes surprised by the movies you haven't seen, Quint. The reveal of the source of the "Morse Code" is one of the great reveals in movie history, in my opinion. Has any movie ever built itself around the slow erosion of hope and creep of despair as effectively as this film?

  • Nov. 27, 2008, 7:31 a.m. CST


    by Quint

    It's not just the reveal, but their reaction to it. When you're in that situation, I guess you just can't help but laugh when your one hope for survival turns out to be bullshit.

  • Nov. 27, 2008, 7:46 a.m. CST

    This has got to be better than DeCaprio's

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    The Beach. Keep up the good work Quint.

  • Nov. 27, 2008, 7:49 a.m. CST

    50's and post apocalyptic cinema

    by mukhtabi

    To put on my professor's cap for a moment, The 50's was the point when the Cold War between us and the USSR matured to the point people actually thought they would die. Three books written around this time really put out there the fear of the nuke - Fail Safe, A Canticle for Leibowitz and Dr. Strangelove: or how I learned to stop worrying and love the bomb. Granted the last one is a satire - brilliantly adapted to film as well, but in each one of these stories the apocalypse is assured of happening by the stupidity of people. The 50's were a lot darker than we think.

  • Nov. 27, 2008, 7:50 a.m. CST

    Oh man I thought I'd give a smart ass

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    comment before reading the review. I forgot about this movie. I didn't recall who was in the original, but I remember there was a remake a few years ago. Rachel Ward was in the Ava Gardner role, and I think her husband Brian Blair was in this too, but I don't recall. I really need to see both of these. Peck has always been great. I just re-watched To Kill a Mockingbirg a few weeks ago. They don't make movies like that anymore. It won't be long before they'll ban it because it has the word nigger. If anything it is needed because it shows people how society used to be, and it shows how people like Atticus Finch made a difference.

  • Nov. 27, 2008, 8:31 a.m. CST

    Fuck bithc NIGHT OF THE HUNTER, sex/musical/christmas

    by EvilWizardGlick

    Someone watch the goddamned movie. <p> It was one of the strangest american movies yet.

  • Nov. 27, 2008, 8:34 a.m. CST

    End-of-the-world movies are the best

    by Drunken Rage

    What is most remarkable about "On the Beach" is that everything is so subdued, so very quiet. Far superior to "The World, the Flesh and the Devil," for example, which kind of hits you in the face with its message. Also a big fan of "The Quiet Earth," a Kiwi end-of-the-world movie.

  • Nov. 27, 2008, 8:36 a.m. CST

    The Quiet Earth

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    Was that the one where there's one guy left, driven to the brink of madness(and it was his own company that did it) and he find another survivor, a woman, then another, a black male, and about the bond/friendship/ and invetible power/love struggle that ensues?

  • Nov. 27, 2008, 8:49 a.m. CST

    Soylent Mean, where have you been

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    Haven't seen you for a while. Like I said I haven't seen either. It's like you hear about a movie, want to see it, forget about it, and then years later it's like oh yeah, I need to see that.

  • Nov. 27, 2008, 9:39 a.m. CST

    I only read the book

    by Ingeld

    The scene in which the sub surfaces somewhere in the northeast US right at the hometown of one of the sailors was the most memorable for me. Even though he knows that leaving the sub will mean his own death, the sailor leaves to walk through his deserted hometown and visit his house one more time. It was haunting in a quiet way. Was that scene in the movie?

  • Nov. 27, 2008, 9:42 a.m. CST

    The World, the Flesh and the Devil

    by FluffyUnbound

    I always thought of that one as sort of a magic realist piece, where the disaster primarily just sets up this very stage-y morality play between the 3 survivors. Although I will say that the scene where Belafonte finds the tapes at the radio station, of the various cities going off the air one at a time, and the second-to-last guy tells the last guy to just go home, was really awesome.

  • Nov. 27, 2008, 9:43 a.m. CST


    by FluffyUnbound

    That scene was in fact in the movie.

  • Nov. 27, 2008, 9:47 a.m. CST


    by Ingeld

    Thanks. I really should rent the movie, but I don't know if I want to get that depressed.

  • Nov. 27, 2008, 10:15 a.m. CST


    by filmfanatic1

  • Nov. 27, 2008, 10:18 a.m. CST


    by filmfanatic1

    Showtime made that remake, it's 3 hours long, they changed the ending to a somewhat happy one. Armand Assante is no Gregory Peck, in other words, a complete waste of time.

  • Nov. 27, 2008, 11:11 a.m. CST


    by SuburbanJedi

    On the contrary, do see the remake at least once. While I agree with filmfanatic1 that Armand Assante is no Gregory Peck, and yes the ending was changed somewhat, as well as a few other scenes altered, the remake is still a good one to watch. I still like the scene in the remake where Assante finds the source of the signal/message coming from Alaska and the very brief exchange between him and his first officer (?) on why did the person at the laptop just die there. For me that part was my kick to the dick.

  • Nov. 27, 2008, 11:17 a.m. CST


    by SuburbanJedi

    I just saw "Threads" for the first time two weeks ago and highly recommend anyone who hasn't seen it, to put it on their list of things to watch. As decent as "The Day After" is, "Threads" makes TDA look like a G-Rated fun-filled family film. It pulls no punches and delivers the blow right to your gut and then some. Either way, just don't watch in tandem with "Testament" unless you have all your knives or guns locked up along with any prescription drugs that may be in the house, it's that depressing.

  • Nov. 27, 2008, 11:17 a.m. CST

    Speaking of post-apocalyptic movies

    by jim

    Is there a trailer for "The Road"? Isn't it supposed to be coming out in a month or two?

  • Nov. 27, 2008, 12:06 p.m. CST

    The Road

    by m_reporter

    Yeah, I am also looking forward to that one, but I think I read somewhere that it was pushed back or some crap like that...

  • Nov. 27, 2008, 12:21 p.m. CST

    Man, I hope they don't postpone "The Road"

    by Continentalop

    I was really looking forward to seeing that. I love Cormac McCarthy's work.

  • Nov. 27, 2008, 12:27 p.m. CST

    End of the World Movies

    by Continentalop

    One that should get a mention, even if it isn't as serious as "Threads" or "On the Beach" is 1961's "The Day the Earth Caught Fire", one of the best Doomsday movies ever. While the scientific explanation of why the earth is doomed is a little hokey, the responses and reactions from people on the street feel real and honest.

  • Nov. 27, 2008, 12:37 p.m. CST

    Grammaton Cleric Binks

    by Drunken Rage

    Yes, that's the one. Very open-ended but it's someone's end of the world. Good movie. Nice name, by the way.

  • Nov. 27, 2008, 1:03 p.m. CST

    Re: SuburbanJedi

    by ricarleite

    Threads is really good, but it's a bit dated, and not really all that scary anymore. The bomb sequence is effective, but really Dr. Who-esque, cheap looking (that was, of course, 1983's BBC). I'd remake Threads as a hard-R film, VERY disturbing and grafical: "Barefoot Gen" set in America in the 80s, minus the kids and the recovery plot.

  • Nov. 27, 2008, 4:43 p.m. CST

    Enough with "a movie a day"

    by Trazadone

    God this is tiresome. How about "A movie a month". It's too much and just not interesting. The whole thing depresses me.

  • Nov. 27, 2008, 5:15 p.m. CST

    For those of you who thought On The Beach was depressing...

    by tangcameo're going to need meds when 'The Road' premieres. The "The End" shot reminded me of Desmond from Lost. What bummed me out the most about the movie, and I think the movie is great, was where they showed the lineup of Australians at the hospital or city hall, picking up their cyanide ration.

  • Nov. 27, 2008, 8:05 p.m. CST

    Russell Mulcahey redid this...

    by MaguaSynfield

    With Armand Asaante and Rachel Ward. Was really very good, and had some very, very strong scenes. I have fond memories of the original, and Ava Gardner. Grrr.

  • Nov. 27, 2008, 8:30 p.m. CST

    Don't forget

    by kingink123

    Panic at Year Zero. Excellent nuclear attack film directed by and starring Ray Milland. A lot more brutal and pessimistic than I would have imagined for the time.

  • Nov. 27, 2008, 8:43 p.m. CST

    ricarleite, did you GET Threads?

    by Maniaq

    no offence, but it was all about the kids - one in particular - that's why the movie starts with that kid's conception... <p> I have to agree with those that thought the On The Beach remake was a bit weak - not sure if it was the acting tho, I think there's a fine line you tread when you're dealing with nihilism and if you cross that line, you've lost the audience - no matter how hard you try with other elements?

  • Nov. 27, 2008, 8:55 p.m. CST

    Drunken Rage , thanks

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    I thought I take the coolest thing, and the stupidest thing, and put them together. I remember The Quiet Earth quote "this man tells lies" as he if I recall saves the other two by sacrificing himself. It was a great flick.

  • Nov. 27, 2008, 9:23 p.m. CST

    The Auto Race is shocking in this one.

    by Sakurai

    It took me a minute to understand what was going on... But when I realized it, I thought, "wow, this is a brutal film."

  • Nov. 27, 2008, 10:55 p.m. CST

    bit of a slow news day eh?

    by The Amazing G

    there hasn't been a single new story all day....I wonder why......

  • Nov. 28, 2008, 1:28 a.m. CST

    not one person has mentioned "fail safe"

    by bacci40

    ok...not exactly an end of the world movie...but pretty depressing and frustrating ending...and tremendous performance by henry fonda....

  • Nov. 28, 2008, 4:06 a.m. CST

    Today's AMAD

    by Quint

    Will be delayed until tomorrow. I won't slip a day behind, just have to do two AMADs on one day in the coming days... but the Holiday Shopping Guide fucked over Twelve O'Clock High for today. Will definitely have it reviewed tomorrow and hopefully I'll follow that up immediately with the next AMAD.

  • Nov. 28, 2008, 4:27 a.m. CST


    by ricarleite

    No, I meant the Barefoot Gen kids, not Threads.

  • Nov. 28, 2008, 6:53 a.m. CST

    Reading The Road.....

    by redfist

    and if the movie doesn't puss out, people will be cutting their wrist after watching it. Papa explaining to the son how to shot himself and do it right...I want to see Viggo pull that one off.

  • Nov. 28, 2008, 8:54 a.m. CST


    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    I never saw the original, but a few years ago there was a live remake on tv. George Clooney was in it, as was Brian Dennehy. With the exception of the tiniest slip up the whole cast did great. I don't know how it compares to the original, but it was pretty good.

  • Nov. 28, 2008, 12:33 p.m. CST

    You're a lucky man Quint...

    by BGDAWES

    Both 'The Hot Rock' and 'Carnal Knowledge' are absolute classics. <br> <br> Outstanding x-mas gift list article by the way.

  • Nov. 28, 2008, 2:54 p.m. CST


    by Mosquito March

    That is easily the best of the non-STRANGELOVE Cold War era nuclear scare pictures. Besides, Janet Munro was fucking smoking hot - and not just because of the sun.

  • Nov. 28, 2008, 7:17 p.m. CST

    Speaking of Janet Munro.......

    by darthliquidator

    Absolutely the cutest, hottest British babe of the 60's...Mosquito March was probably remembering the scene where crazed end-of-the-world rioters break into her apartment while she's taking a bath. She was a Disney contract slave for awhile (loved her as Sean Connery's girlfriend in "Darby 'O Gill and the Little People")..sadly, she fell into booze and drugs, died very young from blood infection, heart failure or something-or-other related to her deteriorating health.

  • Nov. 28, 2008, 8:46 p.m. CST

    "live remake on tv"

    by Maniaq

    really? is that like a War of the Worlds thing where they pretend the bombs have started dropping?? <p> coz THAT would be!

  • Nov. 29, 2008, 7:06 a.m. CST

    Grammaton re: live version

    by tangcameo

    Failsafe? That one moment in the live broadcast where they either cut too soon to the next scene or Norman Lloyd just blanked and sat there for like 5-10 seconds just doing nothing?

  • Nov. 29, 2008, 10:27 a.m. CST

    I saw this on PBS as a young teen

    by Catbarf the 12th

    ... and it blew me away. Haunted me ever since. Have seen it many times over the years. The novel is excellent also, just as stoic, but a little different. I also agree that Testament (which I saw at about the same time) is great, and in the "spectacle" department it makes OTB looks like Terminator 2 by comparison, but that only proves the point that by making the end of the world personal and small scale, instead of about incomprehensibly powerful mushroom clouds, you can make a MUCH more affecting drama. I saw some of it (Testament) on TV once with this one dude who just couldn't get it through his head that there were NO shots of ruined cities, dead bodies, Damnation Alley skies, gangs of mutant cannibals, etc... he marveled at its apparent pointlessness like a redneck at a John Cage concert.I felt sorry for him, sighted yet blind! Meanwhile, I was devastated... and I'd already seen it.

  • Nov. 29, 2008, 11:08 a.m. CST

    One of THE BEST evah!

    by Kentucky Colonel

    As a fan of end of the world flix...this was one of the ones that packs the mostpunch. No mushroom clouds, no bodies, hardly anything at all. And that's the kick in the balls. The sight of the lines for the suicide pills....(((shudder))). <p> Some of my other faves...there are the usual suspects The Day After, Testament, yadda yadda... <p> Some you might not know, BUT SHOULD, are <p> Threads <p> The War Game (the scariest no-nuke movie ever) <p> When The Wind Blows <p> Special Bulletin (about nuclear terrorisim) <p> Watch those movies...and then consider that the US is currently weighing options about replacing our nuke stockpile with newer, "better" weapons (while the economy is in the toilet, natch). <p> And it makes me wonder...

  • Dec. 1, 2008, 3:28 p.m. CST

    Alas Babylon...

    by The Eskimo

    ...was one of my favorite post-appocalyptic stories EVER. Anybody know if they ever made a movie based on that book?...even though it was an "advanced reader" in junior high, I think it could make a great film as long as hollywood didn't fuck it up.

  • Dec. 13, 2008, 2:21 a.m. CST


    by mr teaspoon

    It seemed like the movie was going to end wistfully and then the horns punch you in the face and zoom to a dead city with the 'THERE IS STILL TIME BROTHER' banner.....jesus christ!

  • Dec. 26, 2008, 2:34 p.m. CST

    This is what happens

    by TinkerTIW

    ...when Hollywood makes movies by adults for adults. Great movie. Great cast. Great Astaire especially. One of the greatest fadeouts ever.