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Salient: An organ of student opinion at Victoria University, Wellington. Vol. 23, No. 5. Wednesday, June 15, 1960

Film Of The Century

Film Of The Century

(And so flay the advertisement)

"On the Beach" is an attempt at portraying the last days on the earth after an atomic war has so polluted the atmosphere that all living beings are doomed to die. The setting is Australia 1964.

Impact of Theme

What impact the film does have, is due to its theme and not to its execution; despite direction by Kramer the film verges on the mediocre. The plot is episodic, with abrupt jumps in location; from Australia a direct cut is made to the interior of a submarine at the north pole—the only warning to the audience of this, being a reference in the dialogue sometime before. The north pole is followed with a second direct cut to San Francisco, and so on, back to Australia. While at San Francisco an absurd conversation is had between the submerged sub and a man fishing on a launch. (Since when have periscopes contained microphones and loudspeakers?) At the end of this sequence the sub emerges and sails off—all very obviously done using back projection.

Inclusion of the old running gag of "picture being knocked sideways when the door slams" fails to amuse, and tilted camera angles in the close-ups are only distracting.

Astaire Best

Best performance comes from Astaire as the scientist, while Ava Gardner gives no performance worth speaking of. Peck, and Perkins fill their roles adequately, The film is too long, and could have been cut quite easily; the motor race towards the end is irrelevant to the main theme but is as thrilling as any you've seen.

Progress Before Humanity

It is the reviewer's opinion that wherever the blame may lie for the big blow-up, if it comes, the scientists must accept that blame for haying led us to its brink. This is a direct result of their attitude nowadays, that the progress of science is more important than any adverse effect that it may have on humanity. Science is no longer a philosophy it is a religion, and the film fails to analyse satisfactorily this changed altitude.


A View From The Bridge.

N.Z. Players. Opens at Wellington 6th July. Arthur Miller's tragedy of jealousy in the clocks of New York. Banned in London. Produced here by Roy Hope. This play continues the declared policy of the Players to develop a bolder line in 1960.—Advt.