HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Agent 505: Death Trap in Beirut
Lured
Jem and the Holograms
Burning of Red Lotus Monastery, The
Bag Boy Lover Boy
Sleepless Night
Willy McBean and His Magic Machine
Robbery
Tag
Never Back Down
Doraemon: Nobita's Little Star Wars
Kriminal
It Comes at Night
Strangled
Mojin - The Lost Legend
Poison Ivy
Celine and Julie Go Boating
Union Station
My Brother Talks to Horses
Storks
Big Sick, The
Phantom Creeps, The
Houseboat
White Dress for Mariale, A
Wall, The
Deadline at Dawn
Batman vs Two-Face
56, rue Pigalle
Mermaid, The
Fear No Evil
   
 
Newest Articles
The Whicker Kicker: Whicker's World Vols 5&6 on DVD
The Empress, the Mermaid and the Princess Bride: Three 80s Fantasy Movies
Witching Hour: Hammer House of Horror on Blu-ray
Two Sides of Sellers: The Party vs The Optimists
Norse Code: The Vikings vs The Long Ships
Over the Moon - Space: 1999 The Complete Series on Blu-ray Part 2
Alpha Males and Females - Space: 1999 The Complete Series on Blu-ray Part 1
Animated Anxieties: From the Era of the Creepiest Cartoons
Manor On Movies--Clegg (1970)
Plans for Nigel: The Crunch... and Other Stories on DVD
   
 
  Atomic Cafe, The Duck And CoverBuy this film here.
Year: 1982
Director: Kevin Rafferty, Jayne Loader, Pierce Rafferty
Stars: Richard Nixon, Harry S. Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower
Genre: War, Documentary
Rating:  7 (from 2 votes)
Review: The United States of America developed the atomic bomb for use in the Second World War, and after it was dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the war ended. But where one ended a new one sprang up: The Cold War, where both the U.S.A. and the Soviet Union convinced its citizens that the only way to protect themselves from either superpower was the nuclear bomb.

As far as Americans were concerned, the bomb would be survivable if dropped on their heads, whereas Communists would suffer defeat, and the propaganda films shown here illustrate why they thought that. It starts with footage of the Enola Gay and its attack on Hiroshima, with the head of the project explaining what happened in reasonable tones. However, something is not right here: he admits that these two targets were chosen because they had never been bombed before and were a perfect "experiment" to see how the bomb would affect a major city. Then we see the results: devastation, dead bodies and diseased victims.

Each minute of The Atomic Cafe throws up a new lunacy. We see the island paradise of Bikini Atoll being evacuated, bungled bomb tests contaminating unwary Pacific natives and getting irraditated fish and tea into the food chain, first pigs and then U.S. soldiers being used as guinea pigs to gauge the effects of radiation, and heavy handed anti-Communist films justifying the destruction. (Why do the Communists wear glasses in these films? Is it an anti-intellectual thing?). Also worth mentioning are the ridiculous instructional shorts about how to survive nuclear attack, with unreliable "facts" and ill-disguised political messages.

A few contemporary reviews said that this documentary would have you laughing at the attitudes on display, and it's true that the mocking tone encourages a feeling of superiority over the people we see. There are funny moments, such as the anti-Communist information film that turns into a commercial for shopping centres, but most of the footage is likely to leave you disturbed - and it's not as if there was a lack of pro-nuclear bomb feeling at the time this was assembled, even if we did have Threads and The Day After on TV, and Frankie Goes To Hollywood singing "Two Tribes" in the pop charts.

Some would say that the threat of mutually assured destruction brought by the Cold War gave us peace, and it is better to live in fear than die in fear. But at what cost? The hostility and paranoia bred by these information films is chilling; one of the most unsettling sequences depicts the reaction to spies Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, and instead of thinking they deserved what they got you feel revolted at the bloodthirsty attitudes of the public.

Having said all that, the fifties and perhaps The Atomic Cafe itself are in love with all those nuclear explosions which punctuate the story - it even finishes with a depiction of the nuclear war that never happened. By the end, the apparent naivety of the authorities looks more and more like outright lies disseminated amongst the credulous citizens, and anyone who disagrees with them is labelled Anti-American. The belief that they have God on their side is pretty hard to take with all the "do it to them before they do it to us" views of the experts we see. Music consists of pro-bomb country and rock and roll records of the time.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 11983 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (1)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Who's the best?
Robin Askwith
Mark Wahlberg
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Andrew Pragasam
Graeme Clark
Keith Rockmael
Paul Shrimpton
Enoch Sneed
Ian Phillips
Jensen Breck
Paul Smith
   

 

Last Updated: