A Movie A Day #328: Panic in Year Zero! (1962, directed by Ray Milland)


The year is 1962.  Lights flash over California and the news on the radio is bad.  What everyone feared has happened.  Atomic war has broken out and the world is about to end.  Refugees clog the highways as a mushroom cloud sprouts over Los Angeles.  This is year zero, the year that humanity will either cease to exist or try to begin again.

Harry Baldwin (Ray Milland) and his family were among the lucky ones.  They were camping in the mountains when the war broke out.  Harry does not hesitate to do what he has to do to make sure that his family survives.  Harry alone understand that this is a brand new world.  When a local storekeeper refuses to allow Harry to take any goods back to his family, Harry takes them by force.  While his wife (Jean Hagen) worries about whether or not her mother has survived in Los Angeles, Harry’s teenage son and daughter (Frankie Avalon and Mary Mitchel) try to adjust to the harshness of their new situation.  Harry may now run his family like a dictator but his instincts are proven correct when the Baldwins find themselves being hunted by three murderous, wannabe gangsters (Richard Bakalyan, Rex Holman, and Neil Nephew).  This is year zero.

As both a director and an actor, Ray Milland does a good job of showing what would be necessary for a family to survive in the wake of a nuclear apocalypse.  Milland doesn’t shy away from showing Harry as being harsh and violent but he also makes a good case that Harry has no other choice.  Everyone who tries to hold on to their humanity is either killed or sold into slavery.  What sets Panic In Year Zero! apart from so many of the other nuclear war films that came out in the 60s is that, instead of focusing on an anti-war message or calling for disarmament, Panic In Year Zero! seems to argue that end of the world is inevitable and only those who prepare ahead of time are going to survive.  Get a gun and make sure you know how to use it before it is too late to learn, the movie seems to be saying.  That the movie is probably correct in its pessimistic view of humanity makes it all the more powerful.  Panic in Year Zero! is a little-known but gritty and effective film about the end of the world

 

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The LAFCA embraces Call Me By Your Name!


Awards season continues with the Los Angeles Film Critics Association.  Here are their picks for the best of 2017!

PICTURE: “Call Me by Your Name”
Runner-up: “The Florida Project”

DIRECTOR: Guillermo del Toro, “The Shape of Water” and Luca Guadagnino, “Call Me by Your Name” (tie)

ACTOR: Timothée Chalamet, “Call Me by Your Name”
Runner-up: James Franco, “The Disaster Artist”

ACTRESS: Sally Hawkins, “The Shape Of Water”
Runner-up: Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

SUPPORTING ACTOR: Willem Dafoe, “The Florida Project”
Runner-up: Sam Rockwell, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Laurie Metcalf, “Lady Bird”
Runner-up: Mary J. Blige, “Mudbound

SCREENPLAY: Jordan Peele, “Get Out”
Runner-up: Martin McDonagh, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

ANIMATION: “The Breadwinner”
Runner-up: “Coco”

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: “BPM” (Beats Per Minute) and “Loveless” (tie)

DOCUMENTARY / NON-FICTION FILM: “Faces Places”
Runner-up: “Jane”

NEW GENERATION: Greta Gerwig

FILM EDITING: Lee Smith, “Dunkirk”
Runner-up: Tatiana S. Riegel, “I, Tonya”

CINEMATOGRAPHY: Dan Laustsen, “The Shape of Water”
Runner-up: Roger Deakins, “Blade Runner 2049

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Dennis Gassner, “Blade Runner 2049
Runner-up: Paul D. Austerberry, “The Shape of Water”

MUSIC/SCORE: Jonny Greenwood, “Phantom Thread”
Runner-up: Alexandre Desplat, “The Shape of Water”

DOUGLAS E. EDWARDS INDEPENDENT/EXPERIMENTAL FILM/VIDEO: “Purge This Land” from director Lee Anne Schmitt

CAREER ACHIEVEMENT: Max von Sydow

Music Video of the Day: Lust for Life by Iggy Pop (1996, dir by Danny Boyle)


Hi everyone!  Lisa here with today’s music video of the day.

Lust for Life, which was co-written by David Bowie, was originally released in 1977 but it didn’t become a hit until it was used in the 1996 film Trainspotting.  The director of Trainspotting, Danny Boyle, also directed this video, which is basically scenes from the movie mixed in with footage of Iggy Pop performing.

Appropriately for a song that would become the theme to Trainspotting, Lust For Life is a song about heroin addiction.  (The majority of the song is told through the eyes of Johnny Yen, a character created by noted heroin aficionado, William S. Burroughs.)  Because of the song’s rousing chorus, it has regularly been used in advertisements for things that have absolutely nothing to do with heroin.  For instance, it was used to promote Royal Caribbean Cruises.

The recent Trainspotting sequel featured The Prodigy’s remix of Lust for Life.  Sadly, this one doesn’t come with a music video but you can listen to it below:

Enjoy!