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'And The World Went Crazy': How Hollywood Changed After Hiroshima

On the Beach, the 1959 film version of Nevil Shute's cataclysmic bestseller, kicks into gear with a newscast designed to transport 1950s movie audiences from the nuclear age into a post-nuclear age:

"Scientists disagree as to when radiation will reach Australia," intones the newscaster. "The atomic war has ended. But the prime minister reports no proof of survival of human life anywhere except here."

The film then tags along as the world's last submarine crew, captained by Gregory Peck, searches the globe for signs of humanity. The ship's Geiger counter readings are dire even in mid-Pacific.

Then, in a scene met by hushed silence from '50s audiences, the sub surfaces in the San Francisco Bay to discover an unbombed but irradiated ghost town. Nothing moving, no sign of life. It was the first portrait most movie patrons had seen of what the world might look like without them.

Read entire article at NPR