Nuclear Terrorism on Screen: 1950-2005

The direct-to-DVD agit-prop film LAST BEST CHANCE airs tonight (October 18) on HBO in a publicity coup for the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), a nonpartisan policy outfit aiming to "reduce the global threats from nuclear, biological and chemical weapons." Intended as a dramatized "wake-up call" about nuclear terrorism the NTI co-production is intended to generate awareness and support for their campaigns to secure weapons-grade nuclear material scattered throughout dozens of countries around the world.

Earlier this month the Pacific Film Archives screened John Boulting's SEVEN DAYS TO NOON as part of the Steve Seid curated series Dr. Atomic Goes Nuclear. The extremely rare 1950 production is arguably the first cinema treatment of nuclear terrorism where an deranged scientist (played by Barry Jones) threatens to destroy London if all atomic weapons are not outlawed. Seid's series (he also curated the 1995 Becoming Death atomic cinema program) runs through the end of the month and features selections from CONELRAD's Atomic Platters (Cold War Music from the Golden Age of Homeland Security) in the twenty minutes preceding each screening.

The almost forgotten but fondly remembered Ed Zwick TV-movie SPECIAL BULLETIN (1983) was recently reprised (so to speak) by NORTHCOM, the US Northern Command in charge of defense of the US homeland, in its Joint Task Force Civil Support nuclear terror exercise SUDDEN RESPONSE 05 staged last August Charleston, SC.





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