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On The Beach Review


Excellent
Never mind the unfortunate title, this ain't Frankie and Annette. On the Beach is a movie that begins with the apocalypse: Nuclear war has wiped out the entire world except for Australia. (They were making movies like this in 1959???) It's here we find a U.S. submarine hanging out amidst Aussies living their lives, pretty much as normal only with less booze. The catch: Everyone knows the end is coming, as nuclear fallout makes its way across the Oceans, due to arrive in a month or two. But what's this Morse code signal coming from San Diego? Could someone be alive and transmitting? The sub's off on a recon mission to the wasteland, and meanwhile the Australians come to grips with certain death in a matter of weeks. While heartbreaking and touching, it's hard to imagine that riots aren't rampant and that martial law isn't required, but hey, it's a movie, and quite a good -- if overlong -- one, at that.

Inherit The Wind Review


Excellent
Stanley Kramer produced and directed one of the masterworks of the legal drama by bringing to the screen this story of one of the landmark lawsuits of history -- the 1925 Scopes "monkey trial." The names have all been changed (unfortunately so), but that takes only a little away from the proceedings. (Odd note -- the descriptions on the cover of the new DVD release refer to the actors playing the characters by their historical names, not the character names from the movie. We'll follow suit in this review.)

And so, for the historically uninterested, we find ourselves in a small town in 1925 Tennessee, where a highschool teacher named John Scopes (Dick York) has done the unthinkable: He has brought Darwin's theory of evolution into the classroom, casting doubt upon the literal interpretation of the Bible in the process. The state arrests him, and his trial became one of the first "celebrity" lawsuits ever. The prosecution was led by Fundamentalist and three-time presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan (Fredric March). The defense (hired by the ACLU -- in the movie, by a Boston newspaper) was led by Clarence Darrow (Spencer Tracy), a wild agnostic and verteran lawyer, nearly 70 years old.

Continue reading: Inherit The Wind Review

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