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Rocket Attack U.S.A.

Entry updated 4 April 2017. Tagged: Film.

Film (1961; vt Five Minutes to Zero). Exploit Films/Joseph Brenner Associates. Produced by Barry Mahon. Directed by Mahon. Written by uncertain, possibly by Mahon. Cast includes Monica Davis and John McKay. 68 minutes. Black and white.

US special agent John Manston (McKay) is sent to the Soviet Union to find out how much data the Soviets have obtained from their Sputnik One satellite. Deposited by plane in a remote area, he makes his way to Moscow by foot and teams up with agent Tanya (Davis). Davis has become mistress to the Soviet Minister of Defence, and reports that the Soviet military has learned enough from the satellite to strike New York City with a nuclear-armed intercontinental missile. The Russians are unconcerned about retaliation because their air defences can intercept all US Strategic Air Command bombers, and the US lacks any counter-strike capability with missiles of its own. Efforts to perfect such a missile are unsuccessful inside the US owing to limited funding and effort. Manston and Tanya are assigned the task of sabotaging the Soviet missile before it can be fired; Tanya is wounded as they near the launch site, but kills a Soviet solider allowing Manston to reach the Rocket before she dies. Manston places a small bomb on the missile, but is discovered and flees, not realizing the Soviets were able to remove the device and detonate it harmlessly. He is gunned down before learning Tanya has been killed. The ICBM is launched, and while an effort is made to intercept it with the Nike anti-missile system (which used to surround Washington, District of Columbia), the missile strikes, destroying most of New York City. The film ends with the explicit demand that This Must Not Be Allowed To Happen.

A Cold War propaganda film produced in 1958 during the hysteria following the launch of Sputnik One, Rocket Attack U.S.A. was not released until 1961. It moves rather slowly, with considerable narration; it is of most interest as an example of US Paranoia over communism in the 1950s. [GSt]


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