You could probably say that productions about (nuclear) destruction of the earth make up a unique genre of movies. This reviewer has never found these particular types of movies (doomsday) to be appealing. I must vacate that opinion for this film though. In fact, after watching it, I watched it again less than 48 hours later.
This film was made in 1959 and is set four years later in 1964.
I became interested in the movie at the very beginning. It starts aboard a submarine of the United States Navy, the U.S.S. Sawfish. It is quickly revealed that nuclear war has occured and that the only place left on earth where there is life is Australia. The submarine heads there.
The people of Australia know that the radiation is coming. People ask, “How long?”
This movie moves with a certain pace. The acting is good. Gregory Peck is well-cast as the commander of the submarine. Ava Gardner also is well-suited for her role as Moria Davidson. She becomes close with Peck’s character.
Fred Astaire is an interesting addition. There is no singing and no dancing. If you forget that Astaire is Astaire, he is also well-cast as he plays his character perfectly.
Not much more about the story should be said to anyone before they have watched the movie. This movie left me thinking, even the next day I could not get it out of my mind and I watched it again the second day.
Much of the movie was filmed in Australia. There are no stunning special effects yet the camera work throughout is very good and for me, it felt like film noir.
If you like the emotions that movies can provide, watch this one. It’s very melancholy but very magnetic. Ultimately, you are left to decide what to take away from the movie. No message is rammed down your throat. This would not be the case today with the political message in many movies that comes at you like a laser. This movie will not box you in, yet it heads for an unescapable conclusion.