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NEWMAN, KIM – MILLENNIUM MOVIES. 1999 Titan Books.  

 

A large sprawling ill-disciplined look at how the cinema has treated the impending End Of The World, mostly through the threat of nuclear war. The first print run of the book was issued with the text upside down between the covers.  The book was clearly rushed   to get it out in time for the birth of the tear 2000, when many people believed that the world would end. Newman, undoubtedly a fine writer, given his classic Anno Dracula novel,  (also reviewed by me on Shvoong) has a genuine enthusiasm for the subject, but the book often just lists films and describes his favourite scenes without a great deal of analysis. The effect on anyone trying to read the book as continuous narrative is ultimately rather tedious.  This is best seen as a book for occasional browsing and reference, rather than as cinema study textbook in its own right. The films we would expect to see are all here, i.e., Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangeglove, and On The Beach, which look at the threat of World war Three quite realistically.  There are a few inclusions of non-nuclear Armageddon films, i.e., When Worlds Collide, when another planet crashes into ours, and the few survivors (picked by a lottery for a ride in the one and only rocket available) go to the new World and start again. There is less excuse for Newman’s inclusion of films about bugs eyed monsters, alien invasion stories, (including the Peter Cushing Dalek Invasion Of Earth movie) and even Superman Four with its depiction of the very silly Nuclear Man. There are lots of photos, (frustratingly often inserted without captions explaining their relevance to the text) and lots of quotations from the film scripts, as well as from people like Einstein and Oppenheimer on the nuclear arms race. http://www.titanbooks.com/

 

Copyright. Arthur Chappell                              

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