6 March 2002 | cloud_nine
Early Hollywood "End of the World" Film Quite Good
I read about this movie years ago but thinking that no prints existed, only recently looked for a rental copy. It was much better than reviews lead me to believe. The destruction of New York City was quite convincing especially when the earth opened up and the ocean rushed in. The screenwriters were smart not to offer any explanation for the disaster. Perhaps this was due to time and budget constraints. The scientists' bewilderment added to the tension.
The survivors' story was credible even though the lead characters were somewhat stupid. Martin and Claire spent the night in a tunnel knowing full well that armed men were coming for them at first light. They could have easily escaped during the night.
The story had several gaps probably due to lost or deteriorated film. How did Martin become separated from his wife and children? Why did each think the other was dead? The Statue of Liberty was still standing at the end of the storm sequence. Did it survive?
The Italian dialog was distracting and the English subtitles did not convey everything that was spoken. There was something said about Louisiana sinking and New Orleans being flooded. When survivors in the settlement cannot raise anything on the radio, a boy says to an adult, "Now you can be the fire chief". I'm going out on a limb and say the boy is referring to comedian Ed Wynn who portrayed the Texaco Fire Chief on an early radio program. This must have been very confusing to foreign audiences.
The actress who played Claire, Peggy Shannon, was strikingly beautiful with a modern look not normally seen in movies of that period. How sad that she died of alcoholism just 8 years after the movie was released.