Every film that has ever been nominated for an Academy Award in any category. Enjoy!
On the Beach
The Biggest Story of Our Time!
In 1964, atomic war wipes out humanity in the northern hemisphere; one American submarine finds temporary safe haven in Australia, where life-as-usual covers growing despair. In denial about the loss of his wife and children in the holocaust, American Captain Towers meets careworn but gorgeous Moira Davidson, who begins to fall for him. The sub returns after reconnaissance a month (or less) before the end; will Towers and Moira find comfort with each other?
When you make dystopian sci-fi today, you expect it to come out as some sort of action movie; when you made it in the 1950's, it came out as a melodrama. A complete tonal opposite to the recent Mad Max: Fury Road, On the Beach has all the social commentary and suicidal nihilism, but instead of the colorful visuals and explosive thrills it plays more like an existential soap opera. That's probably a turn-off for many people (and it seems a bit unappealing after the madness of Fury Road), but for what it's trying to do it delivers quite successfully.
The film is essentially a four-point character study, with the focus on Gregory Peck's submarine captain and Ava Gardner's landlocked…
"No time to love, and nothing to remember. Nothing worth remembering."
Well, that's my heart in a million pieces on the floor.
So far, all of the "end of the world" films I've seen have been about characters who mourned their lives being cut short as they were aware of all they had to live for. Never had I seen a character shrug their shoulders and go, "well, it's all a bit shit anyway, right, this is hardly a surprise" - until I saw Ava Gardner is this film.
Of course, summarising her character in that manner is hugely unfair, considering the incredibly fragile performance Gardner gives here. It goes without saying this is a massively emotional film, as essentially…
I wish I would have liked this more than I did. A movie about sad beautiful people in black and white, thrown together through tragic circumstances, occasionally drinking too much? Sounds like the kind of movie that swiftly lands in my favorites drawer. But something felt off.
To tell you the truth, I felt kinda stupid while watching this. It seemed like I couldn’t really follow the story. Maybe it’s the heat that’s melting down my brain. Or maybe it’s because everyone here looked so sickeningly gorgeous that I wouldn't be surprised if it makes one go a little dumb.
I’m talking about Gregory Peck (who's never looked more than a Greek God and has rarely been this nuanced) and…
The question at the heart of this film is " How would we live our lives knowing that all of mankind will be dead in 5 months"? Would be riot and be destructive? Would we be overwhelmed by the ridiculousness, fragility, and apparent disposability of life? Would this cause us to be despondent or would we discover a sense of calm euphoria, and a tranquility knowing the end is near? Would we become delusional hoping against hope?
One thing that I liked about this movie is that even with five months to live, life went on. People still got up…
Is it possible to protect yourself from nuclear radiation by using lots of sunscreen? Maybe SPF 1000.
“Who do you think started it, the war?”
I selected this film for the Cult Movie Challenge-theme with 50s sci-fi films and while On the Beach qualifies for that category it’s a pretty peculiar beast in that context. Granted, Stanley Kramer’s film revolves around a nuclear disaster wiping out humanity – but while this is a Cold War post (and non-post) apocalyptic sci-fi it holds an admirable comforting peaceful aura.
Starting out as somewhat of a love-story, On the Beach branches out to become a touching film about a possible end of the world in a way that’s not often seen. The relationships are easy to buy into it and the actors do a fine job in capturing this odd…
After a nuclear war wipes out humanity in the northern hemisphere, a U.S. sub goes to Australia where one of the last surviving patches of humanity still survives. Unlike a lot of other science-fiction films of this era which cautions against nuclear war in fantastical ways, this one tackles the issue more explicitly. It has wonderful intentions and is quite effective in its anti-nuclear message and featuring some really good performances. However, like with many similar films of this ilk, the film is such a downer. You will feel bad afterwards. I'd like to think that this film is a product of its time and that it's no longer relevant since we have safeguards against nuclear war but damn, the U.S. elections this year has me might worried this movie will be unfortunately relevant again.
This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
The apocalypse has already happened. The last survivors of the human race are waiting for the end. Just waiting.
Even after over 50 years this film remains immensely powerful. I can only imagine how powerful it must have been to viewers in the 50s, and I have no idea how it got passed the censors of the time.
The haunting story is made all the more crushing by the casting; Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner, Fred Astaire, Anthony Perkins...all strong actors we're used to seeing in strong roles. Imagine being a 1950s cinema viewer watching the usually heroic Gregory Peck break down, unable to admit that his family are dead...or the usually all singing all dancing Fred Astaire slowly…
Australia, radiación y Sharon
Unfortunately, this hybrid of sci-fi drama and message movie leans too heavily toward the latter to be fully satisfying as the former. It has a few passages, however, that are genuinely gripping looks at an eerily quiet post-apocalyptic world and throughout it has a sense of existential dread festering beneath the gung-ho busywork that keeps the plot's wheels spinning. The acting is all over the map with Clift's sensitive conflict earning top honors and Astaire's hamminess taking the booby prize.
The end of the world is nigh - the whole world has been destroyed by superpowers playing with atom bombs - except for Australia, but they won't be safe for long. The film was a pleasant watch even if it wasn't possible to suspend disbelief enough to believe in any of it.
Even for a film about people waiting to die from radiation poisoning, it's a bit of a downer.
"In this last of meeting places
We grope together
And avoid speech
Gathered on this beach...
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper."
- T.S. Eliot
An American submarine comes to Australia because the west has been destroyed in nuclear war. The bad news is that the fall out will eventually hit Australia too so everyone is living on borrowed time. Then a hope is awakened when a Morse code is heard from north.
As is with many 50s atomic war films, there is a serious lack of understanding of what the aftermath of such war would look like. Here (like in The World, the Flesh and the Devil) there are no bodies anywhere. It's like everyone just disappeared into thin air. The streets are clean and everything is still intact.
Also in Australia people are way too calm. In a situation like this people would…
Not subtle, but it a damning look at nuclear arms and the potential future they could bring about. A slow death of humanity offering a look back at what we've done wrong and what we as viewers can do differently to keep from destroying ourselves.
This list is the Letterboxd version of The Oxford History of World Cinema.
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