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About Fallout (1955)

Ken Smith sez: Radiation is something we live with every day." This film drips Eisenhower; promoting a cozy, nuclear-war-isn't-so-bad approach, as opposed to the more frenetic drumbeat of the Truman years. As long as we "know the facts" and "act intelligently," the narrator assures us, we'll be able to weather any nuclear firestorm that blows our way. "The key to survival is adequate shelter," we are told. "The fallout shelter is the best defense. Without shelter, millions would face death." To ensure that we understand this, we are shown an animated map of the U.S. after its been hit with about 1000 nuclear warheads, all ground bursts, and we see a terrible cloud of resulting fallout that quickly covers the entire country. It's a bone-chilling graphic, but this is, after all, a motivational movie. Chock-full of the usual fuzzy advice ("Fallout swallowed accidentally with food or drinking water would do you no immediate harm"), and a nice, Ike touch -- any concept remotely unsettling is shown through animation, while live action is reserved for happy, under-control Americans. This film very clearly shows how mid-fifties Washington, having worked America into a nuclear frenzy, was trying to put a reassuring spin on a messy situation."
Length: 08:21

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