Joseph Cunningham stars in WARNING RED, directed by Nicholas Webster for Norwood Studios.

Warning Red (1956, Nicholas Webster)

What’s strange about Warning Red—a Federal Civil Defense Administration commissioned short about atomic attack—is how effective some of the short can be. Not the silly stuff about the nuclear attack or the neighborhood banding together, but the actual procedural. Joseph Cunningham heads all over his destroyed neighborhood, trying to find his wife and child (of course he does; they’re safe and sound in a new bomb shelter).

His journey is pretty lame and nonsensical, but director Webster really does create an off-putting setting. It’s fires around destroyed buildings (the budget initially hurts it, before the creepiness sets in) and not particularly flashy.

Webster has a good opening shot and then his composition goes south. Similarly, Cunningham starts better than he finishes.

The short tries painfully never to get goofy (which makes it worse). But it’s really worth a look for the scenes set in the destroyed neighborhood.

1/3Not Recommended

CREDITS

Directed by Nicholas Webster; written by Kirby Hawkes; director of photography, Bert Spielvogel; produced by Phillip Martin; released by Norwood Studios.

Starring Joseph Cunningham (Martin Dale).

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