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Let's talk about Doomsday..

by tuasfait Thu Apr 13th, 2006 at 04:31:08 AM EST

movies, for fun, while we can. I hope this will be a good introduction to the nuclear scare for youngsters here too.

1. On the Beach (1959)
One of the most frightening movies I ever saw as a kid; in fact, it ranked second only to Godzilla. I remember my mother wept (although I don't know if she liked the Ava Gardner/Gregory Peck melodrama or the story). The most horrifying scene to me was the empty SF street seen from the periscope of the nuclear sub. Also shocking was the scene of the empty plaza at Melbourne with the sign "There Is Still Time."  Yes, there was, back in 1959. This movie will live on, with the tune of Waltzing Matilda.

2. Sekai Daisenso (World War) (1961)
I saw this Japanese movie on television. Some of the storyline was freely copied from On the Beach. But the scene of the main character (a tax driver) shouting from his home that his kid would go to college no matter what happens tomorrow is moving. (I think the actor really meant it.)

3. Dr. Strangelove (1964)
A knock-out masterpiece, as most of you would agree. I wasn't old enough to see this movie real time. We were only 2 years out of the Cuban missile crisis and this was too vivid. For trivia lovers, watch carefully the nuclear blast scenes at the ending. There are a few footages of the Bikini experiments. You can see a few navy vessels under the mushroom cloud. They are former Japanese navy vessels to guage the impact, and one battleship Nagato was reputed to have withstood a blast, to the pride of a young Japanese military fan (who grew up to be an anti-war teenager, and later to a pro-America realist, and then...).

4. Planet of the Apes (1968)
The ending of the remake follows the original story, while this one knocks you out. Unfortunately, a classmate of mine spoiled my pleasure telling the ending to everyone.

OK, it's your turn.


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The Day After.

I'd read that Reagan had watched it during his stay at the WH and croed. Maybe that movie daved the world.

I doubt Bush would cry.

The War Game.

1965. Scared the daylights out of me.

No Blade of Grass.

A very British apocalypse. A wonderful little film.

Threads.

by Lupin on Thu Apr 13th, 2006 at 04:42:29 AM EST
Threads still terrifies me now.

I know someone who showed Threads to some school kids, and they completely didn't get it. The threat just wasn't real to them.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Apr 13th, 2006 at 07:11:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We who grew up tall and proud, in the shadow of the mushroom cloud...
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Fri Apr 14th, 2006 at 05:02:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I saw The Day After only years later, and the one scene that shook me wasn't any of the devastation scenes, but when a main character drives along a road and sees two mushroom clouds rising on the horizon. vThat was somehow more real and unexpected and scary than all the scenes in the fallout and such, I don't know why.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Apr 13th, 2006 at 11:24:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I was living in Kansas City (the city destroyed in "The Day After") and it was incredibly gut-wrenching to see your own city destroyed.

There was one scene where one of the characters (I believe it was the one played by Jason Robards) visits the ruins of the Liberty Memorial, which is the US national monument to those killed in World War I.  The large sculptured figures on either side of the base of the tower are two winged griffins, who are hiding their faces with their wings at the horror of the war.

From the hill where the monument stands, the character could see for miles in every direction that nothing was left of the city (in the linked photo you can see the buildings of downtown KC about two kilometers away, in the distance behind the monument).

After the movie a candelight protest/peace vigil was held at the monument.  The police expected only a small crowd, as it was about midnight, but a throng of tens of thousands spontaneously descended on the site and filled the park surrounding it.  Me and my wife and baby son went down; it was incredibly powerful.  Almost 25 years later and I'm still getting filled up as I remember it and type...

Another strange memory from that time was driving on the backroads, going to the Missouri state fair, and happening to run across a missle silo site out in the middle of nowhere by the side of the road.  There was not a lot to see: heavy fencing with barbed wire, concrete pad, and the lid of the silo - on tracks so it could roll back - but it gave one a shiver down the back to be unexpectedly in the presence of such monstrous evil power on what had been a pleasant late summer morning.

What is the use of a house if you haven't got a tolerable planet to put it on? - Thoreau

by Dem in Knoxville (green_planet_2000 (at) yahoo (dot) com) on Thu Apr 13th, 2006 at 08:43:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You already named all the good ones I know and have seen: Dr. Strangelove and Planet of the Apes (I was similarly knocked by its ending, and I had no idea!).

28 Days later...
That one was a pretty disturbing watch. Not for the faint of heart.

Twelve Monkeys
Terry Gilliam at work in his best form.

Of course, there's always The Postman, but I only recommend that those with sadomasochistic tendencies and a predilection for internal haemorrhages...

by Nomad on Thu Apr 13th, 2006 at 06:05:03 AM EST
12 monkies... I forgot that one. "When the Wind Blows" is good too, I heard.

I will become a patissier, God willing.
by tuasfait on Thu Apr 13th, 2006 at 11:08:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Of the action flick version, there is Terminator (I+II+III) too.

Then there is Sreamers.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Apr 13th, 2006 at 11:30:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Terminator is too uplifting to my taste.

I will become a patissier, God willing.
by tuasfait on Thu Apr 13th, 2006 at 12:34:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You're not alone, ET is the blog of doomsayers :-)

BTW, of the four in your diary, I have seen all but On The Beach.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Apr 13th, 2006 at 03:02:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
your earthly sins won't be absolved until you see the movie.

I will become a patissier, God willing.
by tuasfait on Thu Apr 13th, 2006 at 08:46:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have to agree with that.

On the Beach is IMO, one of the most powerfully shot movies.

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Fri Apr 14th, 2006 at 05:02:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Dutch film The Last Island doesn't show anything of the nuclear apocalypse itself, but reproduces humanity's self-annihilation in the microscopic among survivors stranded on an island.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Apr 13th, 2006 at 11:29:13 AM EST
I need someone from Hungary to learn about films from Dutch soil. With popular series such as "Lost" I hope that's a good reason to start broadcasting the thing.
by Nomad on Thu Apr 13th, 2006 at 06:46:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, and there is The Second Renaissance in the Animatrix.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Apr 13th, 2006 at 11:35:09 AM EST
Then we can perhaps go on to Matrix but I will save that for another diary.

I will become a patissier, God willing.
by tuasfait on Fri Apr 14th, 2006 at 02:38:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Akira Kurosawa's Dreams has a few apocalyptic vignettes, and those that aren't are pretty spooky as well, giving the whole film an eerie feeling.

Beautiful film; I highly recommend it.

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire

by p------- on Thu Apr 13th, 2006 at 12:51:40 PM EST
Also, I recently saw War Games again for the first time in decades.  Some of it is so out-dated to be funny, but more outdated than the technology is the  portrayal of the American Government.  This kid would be locked up in Gitmo now rather than helping the Pentagon avoid mutually assured destruction.

I think this movie is also single-handedly responsible for placing that fear in every first-time PC owner that they could irreperably harm the balance of the Universe by accidentally hitting the wrong key. :)

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire

by p------- on Thu Apr 13th, 2006 at 02:01:55 PM EST
Heh, I saw it about two weeks again, too.

Maybe some subversive TV editors want to warn us...?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Apr 13th, 2006 at 02:58:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Silent Running

Idaho Transfer (a failure of film making but an interesting failure)

Millennium (lousy adaptation of Varley's bizarro novel)

Grave of the Fireflies (some people have lived through the end of their world)

and of course the expensively bad Day After Tomorrow (yaaaawn, weary Oedipal drama amid gee-wow SFX and questionable physics)

Fahrenheit 451 (the end of our cultural world)

Rapa Nui (easter island drama, schlocky but at times somewhat engaging)

when you think about it the whole Star Trek mythos as fully developed via the movie series and TNG, is a post-apocalyptic redemption story (as someone insightfully pointed out on another thread):  humanity wrecks itself and is rescued by benevolent aliens (Vulcans as I recall) who offer (here we go) clean miracle-energy technologies and moral guidance.  it's a happy ending grafted onto an implicit crash-n-burn story.

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Thu Apr 13th, 2006 at 04:20:13 PM EST
oh and I forgot, that cheeseball flick 'Zardoz' -- definitely at least an 8 on the Plan9ometer.

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...
by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Thu Apr 13th, 2006 at 08:02:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not an atomic apocalypse, but I found Soylent Green (1973) powerful - especially the parts where the old man (Edward G. Robinson, I believe, in what may have been his last role) is remembering the world as it had been.  Little things, like strawberries or celery, move him to tears.  

And when he's being euthanized while watching a movie of nature long gone, Charlton Heston's character bursts into the room.  The old man turns to the young one, momentarily slack-jawed at the beauty we take for granted, and they have the following exchange (courtesy of Google):

Can you see it?
Yes.
Isn't it beautiful?
Oh, Yes.
I told you.
How could I know? How could I... How could I ever imagine?

Fear of leaving a world like that to my children keeps me going, day after day, doing my bit to oppose the current regime in DC...

What is the use of a house if you haven't got a tolerable planet to put it on? - Thoreau

by Dem in Knoxville (green_planet_2000 (at) yahoo (dot) com) on Thu Apr 13th, 2006 at 09:03:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I really lke the style of Fahrenheit 451. I guess it marks my affection for an older mode of storytelling.
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Fri Apr 14th, 2006 at 05:05:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's good but not on the top of my list. My problem with it, I guess, is that I read the book, which is superior, before not after.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Apr 14th, 2006 at 05:19:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hah.

If you don't keep a book and a film separate, as in "two presentations on similar themes" then you're unlikely to enjoy any film where the book is decent. There's just a lot more narrative room in a normal book vs. a normal film.

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Fri Apr 14th, 2006 at 09:15:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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