On the Beach Film Details
Overview: After a global nuclear war, the residents of Australia must come to terms with the fact that all life will be destroyed in a matter of months.
Tagline: The Biggest Story of Our Time!
Review: (There are Spoilers) Emotionally packed drama about a futuristic, for the time the movie was released in 1959, nuclear war that took place in the late fall and early winter of 1963/64. With the only survivors of the conflict being in Australia waiting for the Gime Reper to come and take them away in the form of deadly radioactive clouds. The USS Sawfish the only surviving vessel in the US Navy makes it’s way down from the North Pacific to Melbourne Harbor with it’s skipper Capt. Dwight Towers, Gregory Peck, on his first day on shore leave getting involved romantically with a local Australian woman Moira Davison,Ava Gardner. Towers a native of New London CT. where the Sawfish was based knows that his wife and two children had perished in the war and is in need to find himself someone who he can spend the last few months of his life with Moira filling that need. Moira herself had been involved for some time with nuclear scientist Julian Osborne, Fred Astaire, but he’s become impossible to Iive with since the war started. Julian had developed a deep guilt feelings about his involvement with and testing the hydrogen bomb that he’s become a suicidal mental case in both his, like Moria, drinking and driving. There’s also in the film the story about a young Australian couple Navy Lt. Peter Holmes and his wife Mary, Anthony Perkins & Donna Anderson, who had everything to live for.Now with the end coming they have to choose in not only taking their lives, with cyanide pills, but their infant daughter Jenny’s as well. That’s in order to avoid suffering the inevitable and horrific death resulting from deadly radiation poisoning. For the most part “On the Beach” plays like an afternoon soap opera but the fact that you, and those in the movie, know that no one in it will survive the final credits makes it a lot more personal as well as heart wrenching and involving. Getting a radio signal originating from the US Pacific Coast the Sawfish heads out to sea to find out if there’s any one still left alive in the United States by sailing thousands of miles and finally surfacing in San Francisco Bay. The eerie sights, through the Sawfish’s periscope, of an empty and dead city was just too much for San Francisco native seaman Ralph Swein, John Meillon, who jumped ship and swam to shore. Later telling Capt. Towers, who was shielded from the radiation inside the Sawfish, that he’d rather “get it” here, in SF, then in Australia with the rest of the sub’s crew. The last hope of human survival on the North American Continent is dashed to pieces when Lt. Sunderstrom,Harp McGuire, goes ashore with a protective, from radiation, suit in San Diago where the mysterious SOS-like signal that’s being picked up by he Sawfish is coming from. Lt. Sunderstrom is shocked to find out that its, the SOS signal, only coming from an empty coke bottle that’s attached, by a window shade, to the Morse Code clicker. The radioactive clouds from the nuclear devastated Northern Hemisphere starts sweeping into Melbourne and the rest of Australia a lot earlier then most of the scientific experts expected them to. It’s then that everybody frantically start to plan for their own deaths before the deadly radiation starts to take effect. This leads Mary Holmes to have a nervous breakdown not being able to bear to put her young daughter Jenny , more then herself and her husband Peter,to sleep forever. Julian not having any problems with the thought of his own demise, and alienating himself from all his friends and his former lover Moira, locks himself up in his garage and starts the engine of his beloved champion race car asphyxiating himself. Both Mary and Peter come to terms with the end by having little Jenny drink her formula, spiked with an lethal dose of sleeping pills. Then in a last and emotional embrace have a drink of hot tea with the deadly cyanide pills mixed and dissolved in it. Capt. Towers after saying a tearful good-by to Moira goes together with his men on the USS Sawfish out to sea and back home to the USA to die together with their already deceased families and loved ones as the movie sadly come to an end to the music of “Waltzing Matilda”. Powerful and thought-provoking movie about a nuclear holocaust without a single person being killed, as a result of it, in the film. “On the Beach” may have been dated a bit after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 but has come back to haunt us with the events, and wars, that followed the attacks of September 11, 2001. With many people, on both sides of the battle-line, who never had to live through in the 1950’s and 1960’s the fears and nightmares of a nuclear Armageddon are now sadly reminded that it’s a war that, like in the movie, nobody will win much less survive.
Country: United States
Duration: 134 min
Genre: Drama, Romance, Sci-Fi
Also known as: Den siste bredd,Ostatni brzeg,На берегу,On the Beach,La hora final,海濱,Das letzte Ufer,Le Dernier Rivage,Pe plaja,På stranden,渚にて,На пляжі,На березі,A Hora Final,L’ultima spiaggia,Oso tha yparhi o kosmos,Na plazi,Kumsalda,Az utolsó part,Ultimul tarm,Na beregu,Viimeisellä rannalla