Customer Reviews for

China Syndrome

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A rare combination of an urgent message and vigorous entertainment.

    "The China Syndrome" is a terrifically exciting, brilliantly directed film that sweats suspense. The suspense here makes "North By Northwest" look like a picnic. Will the atomic plant blow up? Will Fonda and Douglas save the day? The tense screenplay has you holding on to your seat belts at all times. Jane Fonda is absolutely electric as the ambitious Los Angeles reporter Kimberly Wells, while Jack Lemmon as plant foreman Jack Godell, in his best role since "The Apartment", captures the full anguish of the tormented technician. Terrifying as it is, the film is much more than a thriller. It's a film full of urgency that cannot be dismissed. Power is what it's all about. One of the most controversial and often debated issues of the decade was whether or not the convenience and efficiency of the nation's nuclear power plants were worth the obvious risks they entailed. Curiously, however, the Seventies managed to produce only one feature film dealing with the subject, "The China Syndrome", an excellent, thought-provoking "doomsday" thriller that became the first major screen success of 1979. The film, a big-budget, major-studio production directed by James Bridges that featured Fonda, Lemmon and Michael Douglas in perhaps their finest roles in the decade, involved a full three years of preparation before it was finally released to theaters. Michael Douglas, who produced as well as starred in the film as photographer Richard Adams, his first production since "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" {1975), had for many years been fascinated by the idea of making a picture about a nuclear accident, but in the project's early stages he had a great deal of trouble finding someone willing to finance such an enterprise. Most of the companies and individuals Douglas approached felt that a film dealing with a nuclear mishap would be too disturbing to attract a large audience. Of course, when the picture was eventually made and released, it became an immediate hit, and somewhat ironically an accident nearly identical to that in the movie occurred at the Three Mile Island nuclear plant near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania two weeks after "The China Syndrome" had its premiere. As a result, the film became more significant and hard-hitting than Douglas ever dreamed possible. Three Mile Island benefited not only the picture, but the credibility of leading lady Fonda who also co-produced. Cover stories in "Time" and "Newsweek" prominently tied "The China Syndrome" in with the whole nuclear issue, and of course, the actress shortly waged a national campaign against nuclear power plants. [filmfactsman]

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 24, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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