On On the Beach

Book coverWell, I didn’t get to watch this film on the first try, but I did get to watch it after my triathlon class ended.

For those of you unfamiliar with the premise, it’s a film from 1959 where, after a nuclear war, an American submarine comes to Melbourne, Australia, where people are trying to carry on even though the scientists are pretty sure that the fallout will eventually reach Australia and kill them all.

The captain of the submarine, played by Gregory Peck, doesn’t like to think that his family in the states is dead. The Australian navy places a young officer, played by Anthony Perkins, as a liaison with the American forces, and he introduces Gregory Peck to a local drunk played by Ava Gardner. They start to have feelings for each other, but it’s complicated.

The Australian admirality receives a radio signal, so it sends the sub and its crew to the coast of California to investigate, which gives the sub crew a chance to view the empty coastlines and cities. Unfortunately, it’s not a remnant of civilization. So the sub returns to Australia, and everyone dies.

Well, the film ends with the sub heading back to America because the crew wants to die at home, but, man, it’s a heckuva downer of a film.

As you might know, gentle reader, Gregory Peck is not high on my list of favorite lead actors from the era, and Ava Gardner is not high on my list of actresses, either. However, the film does have Fred Astaire in it, so that’s a bonus.

A downer of a film, for sure, and anti-nuke agitprop. Not something to watch when you want to watch something entertaining, but if you fancy yourself a film buff, you might want to watch it for completeness.