Tuesday, July 4, 2023

Day the World Ended, Grouches Survive

Several grouchy men and two sultry babes...they're all that's left. It doesn't take a genius to figure out how this will go. Add a really neat rubber suited monster, and men anxious to sow their seeds and we have a Roger Corman classic: 1955's "Day the World Ended." Every five years we get some 'crisis' that the citizenry preach is their reason for being the most beset and worried generation in the history of mankind. Now we have a phony pandemic, and in the 1950s we had the constant threat of nuclear annihilation.  AIDS had its turn...so did terrorism and biological bombs...the corruption of never ending wars and Vietnam...and being ignored on social media cause or have caused people to lose sleep. Roger Corman was on the atomic bomb scare of post World War 2, and here is his love letter to that 'crisis.'

An atomic apocalypse has occurred. Jim (Paul Birch) is a grouch survivalist who has a compound secreted in between lead-laden mountains. He lives there alone with his sultry daughter, Louise (Lori Nelson). As in all these last-man-on-Earth films...a crowd then shows up. First it is a hunk geologist, Rick (Richard Denning). He brings with him a poor schmuck dying of radiation poisoning, Radek (Paul Dubov). He's deteriorating into a mutant. Then Mannix...er, Tony (Mike Connors) and the sultry cabaret performer Ruby (Adele Jergens) arrive.  Tony is a thug and immediately sees Louise and wants to trade in Ruby for her. This makes Ruby sad. Uh oh...Jim promises his daughter to Rick...not that Louise has anything to say about this.

Bad news. Mutants are forming in the wilderness. These monsters now beckon Louise. Louise and Ruby will have some nice swimsuit scenes, and the monster is very happy about this. To add insult on Ruby...the monster also chooses Louise over Ruby. Can't a girl get a break? As Tony tries to steal a gun so he can shoot everyone, Rick and Jim try to contact more survivors on their radio and plan for Rick's day as the new Adam and Louise as the new Eve. Uh oh...the monster and Tony might have something to say about this. As the monster gets bolder, so does Tony and survivors will begin joining the ranks of the dead.

Will Rick survive the nuclear fallout and Tony, and then get to plant his seed into the bathing beauty Louise, before the rubber suited monster does? What will become of Ruby, the showgirl, now that jealousy and anger are guiding her?  Were folks really scared the Soviets were going to bomb us or did this 'action line' just create some dramatic news stories for the Edward F. Murrows' of the day? Either be calm and live life or cower under your bed...either way, enjoy "Day the World Ended," and realize we have thousands and thousands more nukes now than we did in the 1950s...and look who we elected to hold the "nuclear football." 

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