On the Beach (2000 film)
|On the Beach|
|Directed by||Russell Mulcahy|
|Written by||John Paxton (1959 screenplay)
David Williamson and Bill Kerby (teleplay)
|Editing by||Mark Perry|
|Running time||195 minutes|
It is a remake of the 1959 film of the same title, based on the 1957 novel by Nevil Shute, and updates the setting of the story to the film's then-future of 2006, starting with placing the crew on the fictional Los Angeles-class submarine USS Charleston (SSN-704) (there has never been a submarine named USS Charleston, and SSN-704 is named Baltimore).
The USS Charleston (SSN-704) is a 688i variant of the Los Angeles-class and is equipped with a caterpillar drive. The Morse code signal picked up by the submarine crew in the original novel and film was updated to an automated digital broadcast powered by a solar-powered laptop computer. The nuclear war was preceded by a standoff between the United States and the People's Republic of China, after the latter blockaded and later invaded Taiwan.
This film's picture of human behavior is darker and more pessimistic than in the original 1959 adaptation, where social order and manners do not collapse. When the submarine investigates the Northern Hemisphere, surfacing in San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge has collapsed and the city shoreline is in ruins, indicating an adjacent nuclear detonation, as in the book, but not the first film version. The ending also differs from both the novel and the first film version in that Commander Dwight Towers (Armand Assante) chooses to die with Moira Davidson (Rachel Ward) instead of scuttling the submarine beyond Australian territorial waters (as in the novel), or attempting to return with his crew to the United States (as in the earlier film). This film ends with the reunion of Towers and Moira, while their implied suicides occur offscreen, as did the original version of Moira in the first film. Unlike the first film, there is no final postmortem scene of deserted Melbourne streets and the absence of human life depicted.
The film ends with a quote from a Walt Whitman's poem "On The Beach at Night", describing how frightening an approaching cloud bank seemed at night to the poet's child, blotting the stars out one by one, as the father and child stood on the beach on Massachusetts' North Shore. As much as it resembles the plot of the movie and of Shute's novel, however, the book gives no reference to the Whitman poem and the phrase "on the beach" is a Royal Navy term that means "retired from the Service." The novel took its title from a fragment of T. S. Eliot's poem The Hollow Men.
The film received two Golden Globe award nominations and itself was nominated as Best Miniseries or Television Film and Rachel Ward was nominated in the Best Performance by an Actress in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television category for her role as Moira Davidson. Some film commentators, however, have called the film one of the worst remakes ever.
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- "Walt Whitman : On the Beach at Night", retrieved 2012-05-11 from http://www.portablepoetry.com/poems/walt_whitman/on_the_beach_at_night.html, which states it is an 1871 poem. Not to be confused with another Whitman poem "On the Beach at Night Alone".
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