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It’s the first disaster movie of all time, and 90 years later, its special effects still hold up!

It’s the first disaster movie of all time, and 90 years later, its special effects still hold up!

Have you ever seen Deluge? Probably not, since it’s a 1933 film that was completely lost until a copy was discovered in 1981 in Italy. Poor quality and dubbed in Italian, it nevertheless made it possible to show the film to a generation of moviegoers until a very nice new copy was found in France by Lobster Films. It is this restored copy that allows us to see the film almost as if it had just been released.

One of the first disaster movies

Deluge is considered one of the first disaster movies. Loosely adapted from the book of the same name by Sidney Fowler Wright, after a natural disaster destroys much of the United States, a group of survivors try to maintain a semblance of civilization.

Martin (Sidney Blackmer) and Claire (Peggy Shannon)

The flood visually suggests the total destruction of New York during earthquakes and floods. For the time – we are in 1933 – the special effects are essentially based on models being shot in close-up, but still deserve praise. They are the work of Ned Mann, assisted by inventive cameramen (Ernie Crockett, Victor Scheurich, and Carl Western) and matte painter named Russell Lawson.

Released shortly before the introduction of the Hayes Censorship Code, Déluge contains scenes that will no longer be in theaters—the studios censor themselves and the censors enforce the code. Thus, we can see startling nudity or learn that a group of survivors kidnap and sexually abuse their captors, something unheard of since the Code was enacted in 1934.

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Peggy Shannon and Fred Kohler

Give it a chance, Deluge has just been released as a brilliant restoration on DVD and Blu-ray. On its own level, it represents a small piece of history, as a kind of progenitor of Roland Emmerich’s cinema, 2012’s The Day After.

Source: Allocine

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