Panic In Year Zero! (1962)

panic in year zero! 1962

Directed and starring Ray Milland with a soundtrack by Les Baxter. Good Jazzy theme opening. The credits don’t show up until the end. This is a mostly dull one about World War Three.

Harry Baldwin (Ray Milland) is taking the family on a fishing trip. His wife is Ann (Jean Hagen), his son Rick (Frankie Avalon) and his daughter is Karen (Mary Mitchel). The trailer’s hitched up and they’re on their way until…….mushroom clouds over L.A.

A stop at a gas station turns hostile as a customer slugs the attendant and takes off. Harry and company head for a small town where they think no one knows what’s going on. They spend some big bucks at a grocery store. The owner gets the hardware store owner to hurry on down.

Ed Johnson opens his place and Harry buys more supplies. Now he wants some guns. He can pay for everything except the weapons. Ed doesn’t want his check. Ed and Harry start to brawl until Rick comes in with a pistol. That stops that.

Back on the road they’re stopped by three guys who want to rip them off. From the trailer Rick shoots one on the shoulder. Ann pushed his hand or else he would have killed him. Rick’s disappointed. Harry gives him a lecture saying it’s not nice to kill people.

They go to another gas station. Gas is thirty-four cents a gallon. So why is the bill for thirty gallons ninety dollars? Welcome to the new world. Harry takes exception and knocks the attendant out with one punch. Rick”s impressed.

The road is crowded and they have to get across. Harry pours gasoline on the highway forcing traffic to stop. They make it across and head for a campground. Rick leads them to a cave where they take up residence. They abandon the trailer and keep the distributor cap of the car.

A visitor…with a gun. It’s Ed Johnson from the hardware store. Rick gets the drop on him. He’s living in their trailer with his wife. He says there are some guys in a farmhouse boozing it up. Harry being all friendly gives Ed a pistol and tells him to take off. Ann’s not happy with his attitude.

Harry thinks Ann’s right and he and Rick go to invite Ed and the Mrs. to the cave. Too late. They’ve been murdered. Later at the river Ann is doing some laundry when one piece takes a swim. One of the guys at the farmhouse finds it. They trace it back and find Karen sitting by the water minding her own business.

They assault Karen and one takes her into the bushes. Ann spots them and fires off the shotgun chasing them away. When Harry and Rick get back and find out what happened they head for the farmhouse.

No surprise that it’s the three guys from the road. One drove off in Ed’s truck. Harry and Rick go inside and sees two of them. He blows them away. In the back room is Marilyn (Joan Freeman). The three guys killed her mother and father. They take her back to the cave.

Rick tries some moves on her. No luck. One day he’s chopping wood and she’s holding the shotgun. Here comes the last of the trio. He’s got a pistol. Rick ends up with a serious leg wound and the guy ends up dead.

They drive Rick to a doctor (Willis Bouchey). Via the car radio they learn the war is over. The doctor patches Rick’s leg but he’ll need a transfusion. They have to get him to a hospital or there won’t be any beach pictures with Annette. If you’re still awake this snooze-a-thon is almost over.

TV sitcom fans know Jean Hagen as Danny Thomas’ first wife on “Make Room For Daddy” (1953-56).

Mary Mitchel was Ann Morris in “Spider Baby or,The Maddest Story Ever Told” (1968).


About vintage45

I'm a big fan of vintage books,movies,TV shows and music. I encourage everyone to patronize your local used book/record store and pick up some of the good stuff. My posts are capsule reviews of some favorites that you may want to investigate. The albums posted aren't really reviews but items from my collection that are still available. I try and point out highlights of each one and let the music speak for itself. Thanks to all for checking out the blog.
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