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A Reel Life film section

Issue: Spring, 2013

Fallout (2013) movie review

Revisiting On the Beach


In 1964 the Americans returned. Not the armed forces, but something more exciting -- Hollywood.

Neville Shute was a popular adventure novelist who moved to Australia to write, be a gentleman farmer, and escape the British taxes. In a time when young children were taught that the correct response to a nuclear strike was to 'duck and cover' (hide under their desks), and people were building backyard bomb shelters (see Blast From the Past), he wrote an end-of-the-world story where weapons on mass destruction had been used and all human life was ending on Earth.

Movie poster, Fallout

Set mainly in Melbourne, Australia where the winds were slowly bringing death from the northern hemisphere, On the Beach was a frightening and dire warning that hiding in a hole wouldn't save you from the effects of a nuclear cloud of radioactivity.

On the Beach was a huge story, written by someone whose name guaranteed that it would be widely read. It caught the eye of Sydney Kramer who decided to bring a group of Hollywood stars (including Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner and Fred Astaire) to Melbourne to shoot the film.

Fallout is about the fallout of the film-making process. It is about the media frenzy, added to my antagonistic comments by Gardner, about Shute's disaffection with the script and about the arrogance of Hollywood, including Mrs Kramer who claimed it was the first feature film made in Australia totally ignoring the vigorous and ground-breaking film pre-war Australian film industry.

Fascinating, it reminded me of how powerful the euthanasia scenes were in the original novel, it may bring On the Beach back onto the screens for a reappearance. Fallout is a reminder that we have, surprisingly, learned to live with the bomb and radioactive fallout that scientists and politicians and professional war-makers have unleashed upon our world.

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by Ali Kayn
Australian release October 31 2013
For credits and official site details, see below
Search Festivale for more work by the film-makers below.

See also: Cinema Nova

Just the facts:

Title: Fallout (2013)
Written by:
Directed by: Lawrence Johnston
Running time: 86 min
Rating: CTC

IMDb entry

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