Deluge Blu-ray Review
“Deluge” is a flawed, but fascinating film.
The Plot: After natural disasters have been sweeping the country, New York becomes essentially destroyed by massive earthquakes and floods. A number of survivors manage to make it out of the destructive chaos including a man (Martin), a strong woman (Claire) who is escaping the clutches from the possessive scumbag Jepson, a dangerous murderous gun toting gang, and a peaceful settlement which happens to include Martin’s wife and two children whom he was separated from since the disaster. The main story involves Martin falling in love with Claire because he thinks his family is gone. Of course that’s not the case…
The 1933 “Deluge” is a film that is ahead of its time in many ways. First and foremost, the special effects are certainly impressive for the time. Considering that “end of the world” subgenre was extremely rare at this point in time, it’s curious to see how they depicted such a devastating disaster on screen. The model and miniature work was actually quite a visual spectacle that worked well. It’s essentially only one long sequence, but it’s effective to be sure. Visual effects aside, the movie is also quite striking from a cinematography perspective. Norbert Brodine crafted so many emotional shots that say so much without any dialogue. I don’t want to spoil the images, but you’ll know them when you see them.
Another noteworthy aspect about “Deluge” is how dark it is. Granted, it is a pre-code movie, but the content is really quite daring. Not only does the film show a dark post-apocalyptic world with violent people and rapists, but the movie also takes creative risks most notably with its complex romantic dynamics and the heartbreaking ending.
With all of that said, “Deluge” is not without its problems. While perhaps intentional, the movie is all over the place structurally at the start as it crams in multiple characters, radio announcers, stock footage, religious overtones, and so on. The movie does thankfully settle in eventually after the disaster hits NY. Additionally, as emotional as the movie can be, there is some decidedly cheesy character moments. Most of this is due to the dopey dialogue written by John F. Goodrich and Warren B. Duff.
Presentation: 1.33:1 1080p. How does it look? Although the film has been restored, the print is in rough shape as it is plagued by scratches and grain. Still, considering this film was once thought lost, I’m just glad it exists period.
Audio Track: Unspecified Audio. How does it sound? A solid track that certainly fares better than the picture quality.
* Trailers for “The Hurricane,” “Avalanche,” and “Meteor.”
* “Back Page”- A solid ahead of its time feature-length 1934 film about a smart female reporter who gets a new gig for a small paper. The print is stunning too.
* An informative scripted solo commentary by film historian Richard Harland Smith.
Overall Thoughts: “Deluge” is well worth seeking out for classic film buffs.
No comments yet.