Beginning of the End Overview:

Beginning of the End (1957) was a Science Fiction - Horror Film directed by Bert I. Gordon and produced by Bert I. Gordon.

SYNOPSIS

In an attempt to beat Paramount to the punch, MGM rushed this into production. Speed of production notwithstanding, it's a grade-A-A-bomb movie. The documentary aspects of the planning, development, and deployment of the atomic warhead are well-meshed with the standard Hollywood drama. The result is an entertaining portrayal of the nuclear-age beginning.

(Source: available at Amazon AMC Classic Movie Companion).

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Quotes from

Dr. Ed Wainwright: You can't drop an atom bomb on Chicago!


Gen. John T. Short: Dr. Wainright, you're a scientist, you know what grasshoppers can do. I'm a soldier, I know what guns can do.


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Facts about

There really is a town called Ludlow, in the right area in Champaign County, IL, and the town Paxton is just north of it in Ford County. They are also near Chanute AFB, where reporter Audrey Aimes (Peggie Castle) was headed at the beginning of the film.
The National Guardsmen wear the insignia of the U.S. 33rd Infantry Division, which is indeed the designated unit of the Illinois National Guard. The soldiers in Chicago wear the insignia of the U.S. Fifth Army, which at the time was headquartered in Chicago, where the film takes place.
200 grasshoppers were used for the film. During the filming, they began to cannibalize one another, so by the time the last shots were done, only a dozen were left.
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