DIRECTORElse, Jon
TITLEThe Day After Trinity
DISTRIBUTORPyramid (KTEH)
ISBNn/a
DATE PUBLISHED1981
RUNNING TIME88 minutes


This excellent Oscar-nominated documentary film explores the life of scientist J. Robert Oppenheimer and his role in the dawn of the nuclear age. It presents interviews with experts including Freeman Dyson, Hans Bethe, Haakon Chevalier, and Francis Ferguson. The story begins with the impatient professor who brought quantum mechanics to Berkeley and his trips to New Mexico. Oppenheimer’s links to communism are presented as he marries a communist and his brother joins the party. The film's main focus is Oppenheimer’s role as scientific director of the Manhattan Project, for which he secretly recruited an assembly of top scientists. It follows the tense events surrounding the Trinity test and Oppenheimer’s postwar fame as the physicist who guided the production of the first nuclear weapons. The film concludes with the Atomic Energy Commission hearings which stripped Oppenheimer of his security clearance and led to his demise. Oppenheimer is described as an elegant, philosophical man, who quickly transformed into a successful pragmatic administrator but at the end of his life a tragic figure. The title of the film is taken from a question to Oppenheimer concerning his thoughts on Sen. Robert Kennedy's efforts to urge President Lyndon Johnson to initiate talks to stop the spread of nuclear weapons. "It's 20 years too late," Oppenheimer replies. After a pause he states, "It should have been done the day after Trinity."



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