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The House in the Middle (1954)

 -  Documentary | Short
5.4
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Ratings: 5.4/10 from 197 users  
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Atomic tests at the Nevada Proving Grounds (later the Nevada Test Site) show effects on well-kept homes, homes filled with trash and combustibles, and homes painted with reflective white ... See full summary »

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Title: The House in the Middle (1954)

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Atomic tests at the Nevada Proving Grounds (later the Nevada Test Site) show effects on well-kept homes, homes filled with trash and combustibles, and homes painted with reflective white paint. Asserts that cleanliness is an essential part of civil defense preparedness and that it increased survivability. Selected for the 2002 National Film Registry of "artistically, culturally, and socially significant" films. Written by waldo

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The World is About To End. Should I Mow the Lawn?
28 December 2008 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

This short subject, which starts off with a picture of a mushroom cloud arising from a nuclear explosion, is produced by "The National Clean Up

  • Paint Up - Fix Up Bureau" -- with of course, the cooperation of the


Federal Civil Defense Administration. In an era when they exposed soldiers to atom bombs to study effects -- indeed, a couple of years before Howard Hughes imported sand from atomic testing sites for studio retakes of THE CONQUEROR, eventually resulting in the death by cancer of Dick Powell and the removal of one of co-star John Wayne's lungs -- this seemed a sensible question. In retrospect this industrial film looks like a parody of itself -- will a semi-gloss or a latex best resist the end of the world and should I use a white undercoating? Or would wallpaper do a better job? Maybe one of the Morris prints which uses lots of green arsenic for the nursery. In the meantime, you'd better throw out those old newspapers because when they drop the Bomb next door, they will burst into flames and lower real estate values.

But, in many ways, B movies and industrial films provide us with the best view of contemporary thought from an era. For a major picture, you have many bright people laboring intensively to make every choice. For something like this, it's a matter of getting it today, not right, and so the casual, easy choice that reveals the habits of the era is the one taken.

So while you're busy laughing your head off at the stupidity of people more than half a century ago -- and trying hard not to think of what people will think about us in another half century -- consider this from a sociological viewpoint, if you would.


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