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    Information Films

    - /Main Archive

    Operation Cue - 1955

    1955 documentary designed as part of the drive to sell the concept to the American public of a survivable nuclear war. A 'reporter' named Joan Collin drops by before the blast and familiarizes herself with all the stuff that will be blown up, and shares her female asides such as "being a mother and a house wife, I was quite interested about the food tests". Purpose built houses filled with every day items and life-like 50s style mannequins were incinerated, producing some of the eeriest and most striking imagery of the 1950's Atomic Age. The actual nuclear weapon depicted in the film was the Apple-2 shot, fired during Operation Teapot May 5th 1955.

    House in the middle - 1954

    A 1954 documentary produced by the Federal Civil Defense Administration and the National Clean Up-Paint Up-Fix Up Bureau. Actually produced by the National Paint, Varnish and Lacquer Association, the film asserts that cleanliness is an essential part of civil defense preparedness and that it increased survivability. One can envision 50's dad smugly admiring his tidy yard through freshly vaporized retinas. The film is based on actual testing during shot Harry of Operation Upshot-Knothole in May 1953, a test infamous for creating the heaviest contamination of civilians of any U.S. continental test.

    Duck and Cover - 1951

    The infamous film produced in 1951 by the United States federal government's Civil Defense branch shortly after the Soviet Union began nuclear testing . The cornerstone of the government's "duck and cover" public awareness campaign, shelters were built, drills were held in towns and schools, and the film was shown to schoolchildren. The 10 minute film uses a turtle and a jolly ditty to explain some basic survival tactics in the event of a nuclear war.

    About Fallout - 1955

    An attempt to dispel many common myths and fallacies about radioactive fallout, produced in 1955 during the height of the Cold War. Like many of these Cold War relics, this film is meant to reassure the viewer that the nuclear family is strong enough to survive a nuclear war, and that fallout isn't really that dangerous if you wait two weeks in your shelter before dealing with it. I wonder if these films did not serve a twofold purpose: to encourage the populace to remain calm in the face of what we now know to be a potentially far more dangerous situation, and to reassure us that our own use of nuclear weapons on a certain other country was not that horrible. I find the narrator's tone particularly unsettling here. In the calm tones of science and authority, he tells us that the thing that may kill us is our friend.

    Survival Under Atomic Attack - 1951

    Explains the dangers of the atomic bomb, the effects of radiation and what the individual should do to protect himself if caught in the open or in his home. "Let us, without panic, face the reality of our times," says the authoritative, measured, resonant voice of Edward R. Murrow. That's good advice; unfortunately, this blatantly unrealistic film doesn't follow it. The actual threat of nuclear war is shown to seem no more frightening than a bad storm.

    Bikini Atoll

    Propaganda film intended to put a positive spin on the wholesale displacement of the indigenous population of Bikini Atoll in preparation for operation Crossroads in 1946. Told that their sacrifice was for the good of all mankind, the native population was relocated to Rongerik Atoll while their ancestral home was turned into a radioactive wasteland. Three Bikini families returned in 1974 but were evacuated again in 1978 because of radioactivity in their bodies from four years of eating contaminated food. The atoll remains unpopulated to this day.

    This Little Ship - 1953

    Documentary short about frigate HMS Plym, a World War II British warship mothballed after the war. Britain chose this vessel to be the platform for its first atomic bomb test during operation Hurrican, in the Monte Bello Islands off the western coast of Australia. Using propaganda skills learned during WW2, the tale unfolds as a eulogy of a ship making the ultimate sacrifice in the name of national defense.

    Protect and Survive - 1980

    Protect and Survive was a public information series on civil defense produced by the British government during the early 1980s which was to use booklets, radio broadcasts, and 20 public information films to inform British citizens on how to protect themselves during a nuclear attack. It was originally intended only for release in the event of a crisis, and was not intended for general public consumption in peacetime. Though comparable with other emergency planning advice, the ‘Protect and Survive’ films were deeply fatalistic and disturbing and had a significant cultural impact during the 1980's.

    Web-based version of the 'Protect and Survive' pamphlet.

    Weapon Effects Training - 1968

    Low-brow 1968 US Army training film designed to educate troops on the effects of blast, heat and radiation from a nuclear weapon.

    Project Shoal Newsreel - 1963

    Project Shoal was an underground nuclear test that took place on October 26, 1963 within the Sand Springs Range, approximately 48km southeast of Fallon, Nevada. Shoal was part of the Vela Uniform program sponsored jointly by the U.S Department of Defense and the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission. It involved detonating a 12-kiloton nuclear device in granitic rock at a depth of approximately 369m below ground surface.

    Published on: 2008-12-21 (29598 reads)

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