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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…
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.
Una guerra nucleare ha distrutto il mondo, solo l'Australia si e' salvata, ma le radiazioni hanno cominciato a salire e in pochi mesi diventeranno letali.
Forse il meno riuscito dei film di Stanley Kramer, procede affannato e sconclusionato, nonostante il dispiegamento di stelle (da Gregory Peck a Ava Gardner al maturo Fred Astaire all'Anthony Perkins pre-Psycho) non convince.
In pieno clima da guerra fredda e con l'incubo dell'attacco atomico, Kramer gira questo pseudo film di fantascienza, tutto giocato sulla pesante e ingombrante caratterizzazione dei personaggi in scena, cedendo come spesso avviene nel suo modo di far cinema alla verbosità più indigeribile. Effetti banditi: è l'attesa (pure troppa) a farla da padrona. L'ultima parte è veramente degna di nota, con paesaggi desolanti, messaggi mortificanti, paurosi e decisamente inquietanti. Non molto a suo agio Peck. Gustoso il personaggio di Astaire; conturbante la Gardner.
While it does occasionally veer into melodrama (not unskillfully, mind you, but there are those who despise the very genre), it's a terribly moving, clear-eyed view of what it would be like at the end of the world. Ava Gardner, Fred Astaire, and Gregory Peck are especially good; Anthony Perkins's acting is great but his accent is a bit dodgy. Oh, well.
Startlingly nihilistic for a Hollywood film, if also a bit preachy at times, but still quite effective. Some of the melodramatic moments aren't quite as effective, but still taps into that isolation that the only the end of the world can provide. The saddest Fred Astaire you'll ever see.
Gregory Peck slaps a man's butt! This film does not age that well, but still, it has to be one of the best anti-war films ever made! It makes a strong case against nuclear weapons. With all of the remakes that they do, I wish they would make a strong updated version of this film! The message needs to be kept alive!
Restarted my Netflix sub for the latest OITB which was great but utterly devastating. Want to get my money's worth…
Every film that has ever been nominated for an Academy Award in any category. Enjoy!