A Guide to Apocalyptic Cinema

By Charles P. Mitchell | Go to book overview

Deluge (1933)

Rating: ** Threat: Global earthquakes and floods

RKO. Written by Warren Duff & John F. Goodrich based on a novel by S. Fowler Wright; Photographed by Norbert Brodine; Special effects by William Williams & Russell Lawson (matte drawings); Edited by Martin G. Cohn & Rose Loewinger; Music by Val Burton & Edward Kilenyi; Produced by Samuel Bishoff, Burt Kelly & William Saal; Directed by Felix Feist. B & W, 70 minutes.


ANNOTATED CAST LIST

Sidney Blackmer (Martin Webster, lawyer and survivor); Lois Wilson (Helen, his wife); Ronnie Crosby (Ronnie, their son); Billy N. Williams (Mary Ann, their daughter); Peggy Shannon (Claire Arlington, champion swimmer); Fred Kohler (Jepsen, brutish survivor who pursues Claire); Ralf Harolde (Norwood, Jepsen's partner); Matt Moore (Tom, survival community member who befriends Helen); Lane Chandler (Jack, community member); Philo McCullough (Bellamy, gang leader); Harry Semels (his sidekick); John Elliott (preacher); Samuel S. Hinds (meteorologist); Edward Van Sloan (top astronomer).


SYNOPSIS

For many years Deluge was considered lost, known principally for the clip of the tidal wave that obliterates New York City that was recycled as the climax of the serial King of the Rocketmen (1949) and other Republic efforts. Then a virtually complete Italian print was located under the title La Distruzione del Mondo. The original soundtrack is lost, and this print is dubbed in Italian. It made its way onto video in several versions, primarily as a silent movie, with the Italian dialogue removed, replaced by an ineffectual organ score while the dialogue is related with English subtitles. In this edition, the only occasion when the original soundtrack is heard is during the earthquake and tidal wave destruction of New York City.

The story opens as meteorologists are puzzled by an unusual phenomenon. The barometric pressure is falling to a record low, indicating that an unprecedented tremendous storm is brewing. All aircraft are grounded and all ships are ordered back to port. Claire Arlington, a champion swimmer, is forced to cancel her proposed swim around the island of Manhattan. When an unexpected eclipse occurs, the chief meteorologist goes to consult with the American Astronomical Society. Their leading astronomer reports the conditions are worldwide, and in Europe, a cycle of major earthquakes has started. Panic is breaking out in the general populace. Next, the astronomer receives a report that the entire West Coast has been wiped out by a massive quake, and all means of communication

-54-

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A Guide to Apocalyptic Cinema
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Overview: Cinematic Visions of the Apocalypse xi
  • A Guide to Apocalyptic Cinema: Fifty Films in Depth 1
  • The 27th Day (1957) 3
  • Armageddon (1998) 10
  • Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970) 17
  • Crack in the World (1965) 22
  • The Dawn of the Dead (1978) 27
  • The Day the Earth Caught Fire (1961) 33
  • The Day the Sky Exploded (1958/61) 40
  • Day the World Ended (1956) 44
  • Deep Impact (1998) 48
  • Deluge (1933) 54
  • Doomsday Machine (1967/72) 59
  • Dr. Strangelove Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) 63
  • The End of the World (1930/34) 70
  • Five (1951) 74
  • Holocaust 2000 (1978) 78
  • The Horn Blows at Midnight (1945) 83
  • Kronos (1957) 88
  • The Last Man on Earth (1964) 93
  • The Last War (1961) 98
  • The Last Wave (1977) 103
  • The Last Woman on Earth (1960) 108
  • Lifeforce (1985) 112
  • The Lost Missile (1958) 117
  • The Magnetic Monster (1953) 122
  • The Man Who Could Work Miracles (1936) 127
  • Mars Attacks! (1996) 133
  • Meteor (1979) 139
  • Moonraker (1979) 145
  • The Night the World Exploded (1957) 152
  • Noah's Ark (1929) 157
  • No Blade of Grass (1970) 162
  • No Survivors Please (1964) 168
  • One Night Stand (1984) 172
  • On the Beach (1959) 177
  • Quiet Earth (1985) 184
  • Robot Monster (1953) 189
  • Runestone (1991) 194
  • The Satan Bug (1965) 199
  • The Seventh Sign (1988) 205
  • Solar Crisis (1990) 210
  • Star Trek—the Motion Picture (1978) 214
  • Target Earth (1953) 221
  • Them! (1954) 226
  • Virus (1980) 231
  • Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (1961) 238
  • The War of the Worlds (1953) 243
  • When Worlds Collide (1951) 249
  • Where Have All the People Gone? (1974) 255
  • The World, the Flesh and the Devil (1959) 259
  • Zarkorr the Invader (1996) 265
  • Appendices 269
  • Appendix A 271
  • Appendix B 279
  • Appendix C 283
  • Index 285
  • About the Author 311
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