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The Atomic Café

A compilation of film clips from the late '40s and '50s, chronicling America's attempts to make the nuclear bomb an acceptable part of its cultural life. The material evidently took years to unearth, and most of it is fascinating by any standards. But like so many compilations, this emerges as much less than the sum of its parts. For one thing, the sheer bizarreness of the cultural phenomenon it displays utterly swamps some weak attempts at humour in the editing. For another, the film fails to offer even the barest social context for its material, as if atomic madness was an isolated phenomenon unrelated to the whole constellation of '50s paranoia from McCarthyism to UFOs.

Release details

Duration: 89 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Kevin Rafferty, Jayne Loader, Pierce Rafferty