Panic In Year Zero, was released in 1962; this is an interesting film on several levels. Its borderline a B film, since there are no major current mainstream actors or actresses in the film. This is not something Paul Newman, Steve McQueen, John Wayne, Frank Sinatra, Kirk Douglas, or Burt Lancaster, Katherine Hepburn, Deborah Kerr, Audrey Hepburn, or would see Gregory Peck signing up for. I’m sure the producers asked some of these big stars. Instead what we get is a well past his prime English Oscar winning actor well past his golden age of the Paramount picture heyday is Ray Milland in the lead as the father, and as the mother Jean Hagen who’s biggest role of her career was about 10 years earlier in Gene Kelly’s Singing In The Rain, as Lina Lamont by far the biggest role for her before or since, but by now shes firmly planed in B movie status.
Now for the teeny boppers, we have Frankie Avalon as the son, now hang on this is not a musical, and there is no singing. This is a serious drama, about what would happen if our enemies, dropped nuclear weapons on the U.S.
The Baldwin family of four were heading out on a camping, and fishing trip, leaving early in the morning. The family gets maybe an hour in the drive then a massive nuclear weapon is dropped on there home town of Los Angeles, CA and we follow there survival through out the movie.
Other than Milland, and Hagen along with Avalon there are no other reconcilable actors who even have supporting roles. What I did notice is how mean, and selfish people were back then, a real all for himself kind of society. Instead of having some degree on all for me none for you. There dosnet seem to be much of helping thy fellow man or woman. We perhaps are just in a different time in America now thank god, and sadly we see a lot of this is older films.
The film is fairly predicable, and there are no surprise endings. If the Twilight Zone were to be offered a 2 hour TV movie, and since the show was still very popular around the time this film was release. I can see this as a Twilight Zone TV film. In the early 60’s we were at a time of a major Russian cold war, with other films due out around the same period, Seven Days in May, and the black comedy Dr Strange Love, so all movie companies were kind of on the band wagon, pushing out there nuclear movie. I personally liked the movie it was kind of fun very dated of course, got to see some early 60’s nostalgia, and great Lex Baxter jazz music through out the film.
Panic Iin Year Zero was directed by Ray Milland
This film Stars Ray Milland, Jean Hagen, Frankie Avalon, and Mary Mitchel, black, and white rated G running time 93 minutes