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Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1963)

It's the height of the Cold War and the superpowers are engaged in a nuclear stand-off. Just one small error, or one mad General, could see the whole world plunged into the horror of a nuclear war.

So it's lucky that there aren't any mad Generals around with a finger on the nuclear button. Well, maybe there is just one. General Jack D. Ripper (played by Sterling Hayden) of the US Air Force. Ripper has become obsessed with communist infiltration and subversion in the United States. Discovering the sinister plot of fluoridation of water supplies, Ripper has decided that this is obviously a corrupt communist scheme directed against America.

Ripper decides that he can't stand by and do nothing any longer, while ordinary Americans are being poisoned. So he has decided to launch a pre-emptive nuclear strike against the Soviet Union. He puts his base, Burpelson Air Force Base, into lockdown, orders the removal of all radios as sources of outside information, and tells his me…
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Film and TV Inspired by The Great Train Robbery

The Great Train Robbery of 1963 was one of the most famous crimes in 20th Century British history. As a result, it inevitably inspired numerous films and TV series, from the factual to the semi-fictionalised to the almost entirely fictional.
At around 3 am on Thursday 8th August 1963, a Royal Mail train travelling overnight from Glasgow to London was halted by a red stop signal near Mentmore in Buckinghamshire. The stop signal was a fake, the signal's green light having been covered with a gloveand the signal wired to show a false red light instead.
With the mail train stopped, a gang of 15 men went on board to steal its cargo of £2.6 million in used bank notes. In under 30 minutes the robbers carried off two and a half tons of money in 120 sacks. It was the biggest cash robbery in British history, the haul being the equivalent of about £55 million today, just over $73 million in US dollars.

The press were quick to name it "The Great Train Robbery", and the audaciousnes…

12 Lessons from 3 Years of Blogging

Cinema Essentials is now officially 3 years old, so I'd like to take this opportunity to say "Thank You" to my loyal readers.

Both of you. :)

If it wasn't for social distancing, then right now I'd be buying you a drink. Or at least thinking of a plausible excuse for why I can't, or making up a story about how I lost my wallet on the bus.

I have to admit, when I first started this website, I never dreamed that I would get thousands of subscribers and earn millions of pounds. Which is just as well, because I haven't. But I have met plenty of friendly, interesting bloggers and been accepted into the film blogging community (I think).

As I've said before, and am now going to tediously repeat, I don't really consider this website to be a blog as such. But it does use blogging software and some of the infrastructure of blogging, and I have learned a little bit about the subject in the last three years. So I'm going to share these amazingly valuable …

This Island Earth (1955)

This Island Earth is a quintessential 1950s sci-fi film, with flying saucers, alien beings, strange planets and weird monsters.

The film stars Rex Reason as leading scientist Dr. Cal Meacham. Meacham isn't one of those stuffy boring scientists. His job involves him flying fighter jets around and briefing hordes of journalists eager to know what major scientific problem he's working on next.

Flying into an airfield where he's going to be doing some cool top secret scientific work, Meacham takes a few minutes to buzz the guys in the control tower first. As he flies towards them, they have to instinctively duck their heads. But they don't mind about him giving them a fright. They know what a great guy he is.

But as Meacham comes in to land on the runway, he finds that his plane's controls have mysteriously stopped working. His colleagues in the control tower can see that the plane has become enveloped in a strange green glow. Some mysterious force has taken control of…