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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The film had its world premiere on Dec. 17, 1959, in more than 20 cities worldwide, including Moscow. It was the first time an American film had had a premiere in the Soviet Union. The special premiere in Moscow was held at a workers' club, with 1200 Soviet dignitaries, the foreign press corps and diplomats including US Ambassador Llewellyn Thompson attending. Gregory Peck and his wife traveled to Russia for the premiere. See more »
When the film begins, it is, according to the calendar on the Holmes's wall, January 1964, and later that day, when Peter asks Admiral Bridie how long they have until the radiation arrives in Melbourne, the Admiral replies "about five months" - which would mean sometime in June. Yet later, when Julian tells Moira he's going to enter the auto race, he says it'll be held on "the 6th of August" - by which time, according to what was said at the start of the film , they would have all been dead for two months. See more »
"On The Beach", despite it's heavy subject of a nuclear holocaust wiping out all human life, succeeds because Stanley Kramer is mercifully more restrained and less pretentious than he would later be in "Inherit The Wind" and "Judgment At Nuremberg", which are memorable more for their polemics than their characters, in my opinion. Except for one minor speech by Fred Astaire at one point (which as the previous reviewer noted is somewhat ironic in light of the fact that the very thing Astaire rails against, the idea that large nuclear stockpiles could keep the peace, turned out to be absolutely true) the film is for the most part about people and how they react to the knowledge that their world and their lives will soon come to an end. This is what makes the film so compelling as far as I'm concerned. The cast is excellent, with fine performances by Astaire (his first non-musical part), Anthony Perkins and Gregory Peck. But the real strength of the movie is Ava Gardner's touching performance as the lonely, alcoholic Moira Davidson who manages for one brief moment before the end to find true love with Peck. Having read much about her life, there is something almost hauntingly autobiographic in Gardner's portrayal, and that only adds to the movie's overall poignance.
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