|Bort - 2012-10-13 |
This is the movie that ruined RKO studios.
This is also the movie that may have given cancer to John Wayne and half the rest of the cast: it was filmed downwind of atomic test sites in Nevada, so John Wayne et al spent 13 weeks just soaking it in.
I've seen and heard debunkings of the cancer allegations, but I don't find them very persuasive: the ones I've encountered amount to "well LOTS of people get cancer" but are suspiciously lean on the details (such as how likely people are to get cancer at what ages).
It's hard to write off a case of 91 people who worked on the same set downwind from a nuclear testing site developing cancer within 20 years from doing so as sheer coincidence.
Also, what was it with Hollywood back then? Were white people the only marketable actors at the time, or were people who actually resembled Mongolians, Egyptians and Arabians just in really short supply back then?
It couldn't have had anything to do with actual acting ability, since both this and Cleopatra are trainwrecks in that department.
To make matters worse they actually trucked like 60 tons of the irradiated Utah dirt back to Hollywood to build sets with to finish the rest of filming.
91 out of about 220 people developed cancer, not including all of the local extras. Statistically 30 cancer cases would be expected.
St George regularly were subjected to thick clouds of fallout passing over, residents describe a metallic taste in the air. Leukemia rates there were 5 times the national average. The dirtiest bomb test in history happened a bit before filming, Upshot Knothole Harry. That bomb alone accounted for like 1/3 of all gamma radiation exposure for downwinders of all some 80 tests through 1958. The fallout cloud was 1200 times permissible exposure limits and those levels remained for a week. Livestock was dropping dead. The AEC told everyone, including the filmmakers who did ask them about it, that there was nothing to worry about.
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