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THE CHINA SYNDROME
March 30, 2015  | By David Bianculli

TCM, 8:00 p.m. ET

 

This intense thriller, released in March 1979, presented a story of a TV fluff feature reporter (Jane Fonda) and her more radicalized cameraman (Michael Dougas) doing a piece on state-of-the-art nuclear energy when a power-plant manager in California (Jack Lemmon) shifts from proud proponent to concerned canary in a radioactive coal mine. At the time, the movie went nuclear itself, due to an astounding and frightening coincidence: 12 days after the film’s release, an accident similar to the meltdown dramatized in its fictional story occurred at the Three Mile Island nuclear plant in Pennsylvania. Even divorced from those real-life headlines, though, The China Syndrome is frightening – and very intense, with all three leading actors turning in memorable performances.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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