Father Rivard is a priest in a small, economically depressed coal mining town. Working on what he thinks is a "controversial" work, he lives with the brutal lives of his poor parishioners, ... See full summary »
Dick Van Dyke,
R.P.M. stands for (political) revolutions per minute. Anthony Quinn plays a liberal college professor at a west coast college during the hedy days of campus activism in the late 1960s. ... See full summary »
It's oil boom time in Oklahoma and Lena Doyle, a hard-bitten, cyncial feminist has a fight on her hands: the big oil companies don't like the fact that she's working a potentially ... See full summary »
The story in this movie deals with the perseverance of Spaniards to take back their country from the French who have conquered Spain under Napoleon as he marched over Europe. A huge cannon,... See full summary »
Post WWII yarn about a young GI abducted by the Soviets in West Berlin and hauled off to the East. His recovery gets complicated as Colonel Steve Van Dyke (Peck) tries to sort out the ... See full summary »
1933: An ocean liner belonging to a second-rate German company is making a twenty-six day voyage from Veracruz, Mexico to Bremerhaven, Germany. Along the way it will stop in Cuba to pick up... See full summary »
Tucker is a chronic underachiever and a loser. A Vietnam war veteran who just can't seem to keep out of trouble, in the years since his discharge. The only thing he got out of the war was ... See full summary »
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? Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
The U.S. Department of Defense and the United States Navy declined to cooperate in the production of this film, including access to a nuclear-powered submarine, which forced the film production to use a non-nuclear, diesel-electric Royal Navy submarine, HMS Andrew (RN submarines were based in Australia until 1967 when the RAN commissioned its own submarines). See more »
Lt Sunderstrom enters the oil refinery and walks past a sign warning away trespassers. Although the setting was supposed to be San Diego, the warning sign uses the British/Australian spelling of the word "AUTHORISED" rather than the American spelling "AUTHORIZED", which gives away that an Australian refinery stood in for an American one. See more »
Perfectly paced and well acted, it keeps melodrama minimised
In an era (1959) and on a topic (nuclear war) that usually demands melodrama, "On the Beach" resists. In fact, the all-star principal cast and director Stanley Kramer seem to treat the topic as a stage play, focussing on the individual. And that is how such a story should be treated. Life on the northern hemisphere has been destroyed a defence mistake by one of the (then) two superpowers. Gregory Peck's nuclear-powered submarine was submerged at the time (they stayed under water for a hell of a long time in those days). The sub heads for Melbourne, Australia, which is one of the only places in the world not yet affected by radiation. But the radiation will come, and this is where the truth of the piece comes out.
The inhabitants of 'the end of the world' go through what you would expect: denial, anger, clinging to the thinnest hope, and finally, resignation. As I said at the start, this is clearly a story about the individual. Kramer knows this, and the cast of Ava Gardner, Tony Perkins, John Meillon and Fred Astaire play it with a reality that is all too rare. Even recent films like Final Impact fail to deliver on this count. The real joy of the film is the pacing, which gives the cast the chance to play it like it should be played. Astaire proves he is an actor, and only once slips into his raised eyebrow 'top hat and tails' mode. It is a well thought out movie without the Hollywood ending, but such is the art of Kramer that the ending is a good resolution, not just a funeral. The camera work is exceptional throughout, starting with the continuous shots in Peck's submarine. I don't know about the Waltzing Matilda music at the start, however. But it does work later in the piece, and makes it worthy of the Academy Award nomination it received.
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