Poor Ava Gardner had recently turned 36 when the filming of On The Beach began in January of ‘59. She looked at least 45…more than a bit puffy, the ravages of a fast life. Stanley Kramer’s apocalyptic drama opened 11 months later, and it lost money, you bet — $700,000 in the red. Educated folk gave it a tumble; Joe and Jane Popcorn mostly said “no thanks”. The fertilizer line is still a howler.