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Entry updated 9 February 2022. Tagged: Film.

Film (1933). RKO. Directed by Felix E Feist. Written by John Goodrich, Warren B Duff, based on Deluge (1928) by S Fowler Wright. Cast includes Sidney Blackmer, Peggy Shannon and Lois Wilson. 70 minutes. Black and white.

One of the first Disaster movies, this is an impressive spectacle showing first the destruction of much of California and then of New York by a series of earthquakes and tidal waves, leading to a modestly effective Last Man ordeal for Martin Webster (Blackmer) in Manhattan, before the inevitable survivors – including a love interest, Claire Arlington (Shannon) – are discovered. There are good special effects by Ned Mann, who later designed and supervised the effects in Things to Come (1936), but the survivors' melodramatic love story is disappointing – Webster finds his wife Helen (Wilson) alive, and dutifully returns to her – and less shocking than the one in the book. The more "shocking" finale of The World, the Flesh and the Devil (1959) may consciously transgress the morality transmitted here. The disaster sequence was later used as stock footage, continuing to show up in other films for decades. [JB/PN/JC]


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