Long before the overstuffed, CGI abominations such as The Day After Tomorrow and Man of Steel which I refer to as disaster porn and four decades before the disaster cycle of films of the ’70s such as The Towering Inferno and Earthquake there was the end of the world opus Deluge.
The movie starts with concerned scientists collecting data and not liking the looks of that data. Something bad is going to happen. No real reason is given. It’s just going to be bad. Real bad. Biblical bad. End of the world bad. At which point the filmmakers end the world in a series of very ambitious and spectacular special effect sequences that bankrupted the production company according to IMDB. From there, the movie follows the survivors as they scavenge for food, fight marauders and try to rebuild civilization. It’s sort of like The Walking Dead without the zombies.
One of the things I noticed while watching this movie is that it was Pre-Code. It came out before the strict guidelines for film content laid down by the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America starting in 1934. The movie doesn’t really show anything explicit although the disaster sequences are nightmarish. It’s fairly violent and a lot is implied such as sex outside of marriage and rape. The world has ended and law and order is gone so I think the filmmakers ran with that idea rather than candy coating their story. The collapse of society is not kid friendly.
Although I have spent an inordinate amount of time watching and reading about movies, I have to admit that I have never heard of Deluge. I found this 1933 opus by accident, and I was glad I did. My ignorance may be due to the fact that it was considered a lost film. In recent years a dubbed Italian version was uncovered and more recently an excellent English print was discovered in the French National Archive. I watched it on the Pub-D-Hub channel on my Roku.
Watch Deluge for yourself. I have embedded it above for your perusal. If that doesn’t work, head over to The Internet Archive where you can view or download it there.