On The Beach. (Film)
I read the novel (by Neville Shute) many years ago, and always remembered the story. It was very haunting and some people would say that it was a depressing story because there are no happy endings.
I recently purchased a copy of the original film on DVD from eBay, starring Gregory Peck and Ava Gardner. This film was made (in black and white) in 1963, and I think it was actually the first of two film versions. I cannot comment on the re-make because I haven't watched it.
However, from what I remember of the original story, this film version is very true to the book.
Briefly, the story is as follows. There has been a devastating Nuclear War, it does not recall who started it, or why, but so many atom bombs have been dropped, that the whole of the Northern Hemesphere has been wiped out. A U.S. submarine, the USS Sawfish, arrives at an Austrailian dockyard, and the Captain (Gregory Peck) soon becomes involved with a local girl (Ava Gardner). They spend time together before the sub and it's crew, along with an Aussie Officer and Scientist (Fred Astair), is sent on a fact-finding mission to test for radio-active fall-out. There is also a strange signal that doesn't make any sense which is being constantly tapped out in Morse Code, that seems to come from an oil installation on Americas East Coast. The sub first visits San Francisco, and passes under the deserted Golden Gate Bridge, and continues up the river. There are shots of a completely deserted waterfront, no movement, no people. One of the crew members jumps ship and returns, against orders, to his home town. The Captain let's him stay because he knows that due to the extremely high radiation levels, he won't live for very long.
The submarine continues along the coast, and homes in on that strange Morse signal. They send a well-protected crew member ashore to investigate. He lands at a large oil refinery and starts exploring. He has only one hour to do this. He finds the radio-transmitter and realises exactly what has been causing the signal. An empty coke bottle has been caught up in a window blind cord, and has been knocking against the transmitter key.
He removes it, and sadly returns to the sub, which then traces it's journey back to Australia.
Meanwhile, the Aussies know that they only have a few weeks of life left due to the encroaching radiation cloud.
The relationship between the subs Captain and his girlfriend blossoms, and they deciede to spend as much time together as possible during the days remaining. However, a lot of the Crew members want to return to their homeland to die, and don't want to die in Australia.
So, they say their goodbyes, and the sub heads out to sea again, as his girlfriend sits in her Austin Healey sportscar, and sadly watches the submarine taking the love of her life back home to die.
This is just a very brief synopsis of the film, to do it full justice, may I recommend searching for your own copy? I can assure you, that if you like a good Drama, then you certainly will not be disappointed.