Cinema: Imagining the Unimaginable

The War Game, Suppose the Bomb were dropped on England. Who would survive? What would daily life be like? Would the living envy the dead?

Focusing on a handful of ordinary citizens in Kent, this 47-minute film begins with coolly British preparations for a conventional war—rational rationing, orderly evacuation to the safe suburbs. Abruptly, a nuclear bomb explodes off-camera. The screen whitens with the flash, then rumbles with the shock wave. The sound, intones an off-screen narrator, is "like an enormous door slamming in hell." Children with seared eyes grope for help, fires rage incessantly, food riots begin. The police execute looters—and...

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