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Great Scenes: Waltzing Matilda Finale

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Published on Apr 20, 2009

In the 1959 Stanley Kramer film "On the Beach", composer Ernest Gold adapted the music for Waltzing Matilda in a variety of motifs throughout the movie, culminating with a valiant theme as the doomed American submarine crew heads for home. We hear it again as "Taps" in the final apocalyptic scene in the deserted streets of Melbourne, blended with it's ominous companion throughout, the ticking of a watch slowly winding down.

Set five years in "the future" (1964 at the time of it's release), the film tells the story of the survivors of a nuclear war, living out the last months of their lives in Australia, as a cloud of radioactive fallout envelopes the globe. Just three years after the release of this film, we lived through the Cuban Missile Crisis, coming very close to realizing this fictional but prophetic story. Ironically, the stark visual image in the final frame of this film still resonates 50 years later: "There's still time...Brother"

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