Friday, July 17, 2009

Deluge (1933)

Don't know why, but people tend to think that overblown expensive Hollywood-movies with a thin storyline and special effects in the lead is something new, but it's been a part of movie business since the dawn of film. The thirties is one of the crazies and most creative parts of movie history with some big movies with effects, sex and big time melodrama! Deluge was a long time lost, but was found in 1981 in Italy - dubbed to Italian only - and what I know, it's never got a good distribution after that. So in a way it's still lost, at least from the memories of modern audiences. But now I've seen it, and that's the most important thing here

The world is in panic. Earthquakes, storms and floods are destroying the earth, on part after another. We're getting to know a couple of characters: a famous female swimmer, a lawyer and his family and of course a couple of different institutes that's monitoring the disasters. Finally the disaster reaches New York and more or less make it disappear from the face of the earth.

Some people survives. The lawyer has lost his family and the swimmer is more or less a prisoner at some rapists! She manages to escape, swims for seventeen hours and lands at the lawyers beach and starts a new life in his little cottage. Of course there's a little romance, but what he don't know is that his wife and children are alive! Complicated! At the same time, the Bellamy-gang is ravaging the area, rapes and plunders....

Deluge is having the same problems as The Day After Tomorrow - a great beginning and then a lot of boring doomsday-intrigues. But I've never seen such an aggressive destruction of a city in any other movie. There's not really any human angle of the disaster, but the city itself is being teared to pieces by earthquakes and tidal waves. There's some fantastic miniature effects here, and it looks fabulous! This was good practise of destruction for San Francisco I guess, the mega-spectacular blockbuster-hit of 1936.

The funny thing with the story after the disaster his how it shows the morality and culture of that time. The only to black characters and being shown as lazy and are only longing for a nice sofa, the women are tough - but when a charming man shows up, they're on their back without even hesitate. There's a fun scene when the lawyer explains that he loves both his wife and his new girlfriend, and the wife accepts it. This and some insinuations to rape, suicide and sex-murder is very daring, and I guess the Hays code would never have accepted this a few years later.

But to be on the safe side, the producers added a text in the beginning of the movie explaining that God and the bible promised us that there will never be a flood again. That feels safe.

Amazing disaster-scenes, but the rest is quite bad. But it's still a very fascinating child of it's time. The disaster-sequence is up on youtube, so take a look.

/Ninja Dixon

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