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Retro SciFi of the Week…

The Atomic Submarine (1954)

Released in the same year that the first nuclear submarine was commissioned, this film has many of the classic features of 50’s science fiction – theremin music, corny dialogue, miniature model FX – but it’s also original within the genre with its unique subject matter and plot.

The film predicted underwater ICBM launches and submerged transit of the North Pole years before they would actually be achieved, and lots of other technical tidbits. It also predicted widespread use of merchant nuclear subs for trans-arctic commerce, which never happened.

It took less than two years for the US to construct the first nuclear sub, the USS Nautilus, which occurred just ten years after the first sustained nuclear chain reaction had been achieved. Ten years after the USS Nautilus was commissioned the US had a fleet of 26 nuclear subs. Today, with 70 years of experience building nuclear submarines, it takes the US more than 10 years to build a single nuclear sub.

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