Friday, June 06, 2014

Review: On the Beach 1959 movie

On The Beach  (wiki link)

Gregory Peck as Commander Dwight Lionel Towers, USS Sawfish
Ava Gardner as Moira Davidson
Fred Astaire as Julian Osborn, Australian scientist
Anthony Perkins as Lieutenant Commander Peter Holmes, Royal Australian Navy
Donna Anderson as Mary Holmes

I can clearly recall when I really became interested in science fiction and the first few titles that I read, or movies that I watched, (which were often the self same thing) that cemented it all in place. 

One of the  major players for me was a book by Nevil Shute titled "On The Beach" which was part of my reading assignments for a class in "Social Comment & Criticism" as was another title I can recall which was "Fail Safe"

In the 70s, when I got to them, they were considered  social comment and criticism, but I could see the monikers of sci-fi, Technology gone astray which leads to society and possibly species break-down. As you can see both titles fall smack dab in the middle of field and would continue to even when a sub genre such as speculative fiction became popular.  

And so you can see how books like Shute's "On the Beach" would have had formative influences on the types of fiction that I would enjoy in the future. One the Beach tells the story of a world war with nuclear elements being exchanged.  Life in the northern hemisphere is now impossible, the only habitable land is Australia and that is fast becoming radioactive as well. 

The differences between the novel and the late 50s film are fairly minor.  I remember how I felt after my first reading of the novel  and my first viewing of the film.  The film was a bit heavy handed at the end, but hardly enough to preclude you watching, which is something I would suggest.  If you have not read classics like On The Beach or Fail Safe or watched the associated films then I am really going to have to strongly suggest that you take the time to watch and or read On the Beach.  You will not be disappointed. 

If you are looking for your own copy, I have seen them listed on Ebay and Amazon.

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