Docudrama on the development of the first atomic bomb. Told from the perspective of a film recovered from a time capsule several hundred years into the future, the story is narrated by Robert Oppenheimer (Hume Cronyn) and Major General Leslie Groves (Brian Donlevy) beginning with the Nazis stated goal of developing an atomic bomb. Along with Britain and Canada, the U.S. reacts by beginning its own atomic program. The major developments are all presented: Fermi's successful atomic chain reaction; building the huge complex at Oak Ridge, Tenn.; the production of the first supply of plutonium; the testing in the Nevada desert; and finally the dropping of the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima.Written by
The idea from this film originated with actress Donna Reed and her high school science teacher Edward R. Thomkins, who was a chemist at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. See more »
The view from the cockpit of the Enola Gay about to take off shows the plane "The Great Artiste" in the background, even though it had already taken off just moments before. See more »
Colonel Jeff Nixon:
[as the "Enola Gay" is approaching Hiroshima, 0815 in the morning]
250,000 people down there are starting their day. City about the size of Dallas, Texas. In about one second it'll be wiped off the map. They'll never know what hit them.
Captain William S. Parsons U.S.N.:
We've been dropping warning leaflets on them for ten days now. That's ten days more warning than they gave us at Pearl Harbor.
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A 1947 recounting of the making of the atomic bomb
As a window on 1947society's attitudes toward the making and use of the atomic bomb it is wonderfully revealing. Opie is a hero, not the unfairly hounded"commie" of the McCarthy era. GE, Dumont, and other major firms are surprisingly prominently featured and treated as essential partners of the professors drawn from around the world. The rationale for using the bomb is presented with some tentativeness and includes the intention of saving Japanese lives by avoiding a prolonged war. An "Oath" to protect the secrecy of the project is placed in a legal context, not a political or loyalty test context. Even the "propaganda" noted by other reviewers is of historical interest. Cheers to TCM for showing it. For a comprehensive history of the Manhattan Project the pulitzer prize- winning book by Richard Rhodes is the gold standard.
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