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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Deluge [Blu-ray]

 

(Felix E. Feist, 1933)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: K.B.S. Productions Inc.

Video: Kino Lorber

 

Disc:

Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:06:15.638 

Disc Size: 28,166,407,025 bytes

Feature Size: 13,941,927,936 bytes

Video Bitrate: 24.64 Mbps

Chapters: 8

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: February 21st, 2017

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.33:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1553 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1553 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 256 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 256 kbps

 

Subtitles:

English, None

 

Extras:

Audio Commentary by Film Historian Richard Harland Smith
The Complete 1934 Feature Film BACK PAGE Starring Peggy Shannon, the star of Deluge(1:04:50.428 - 13 Meg - 23.98 Mbps)
Trailers - The Hurricane (2:42), Avalanche (2:12), Meteor (3:36)

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Newly Restored! Earthquakes in the Pacific send a massive tsunami around the globe, reducing New York City to rubble. Martin Webster (Sidney Blackmer, Rosemary's Baby) survives the catastrophe but is separated from his wife (Lois Wilson) and children. Pairing up with a headstrong young woman (Peggy Shannon), Webster struggles to rebuild civiilzation and cultivate a new post-apocalyptic moral code amidst the pillagers and vigilantes who remain. For years considered a lost film, and later emerging in a poor-quality Italian-dubbed version, Deluge is the holy grail of disaster movies. In 2016, Serge Bromberg of Lobster Films, with the help of the Library of Congress, located the original 35mm film elements, including the English-language soundtrack, and it is from these materials that the restoration has been meticulously performed. Directed by Felix E. Feist (The Devil Thumbs a Ride, Donovan's Brain), DELUGE lives up to its near-mythic reputation. Not only are the destruction scenes truly extraordinary, the drama of survival among the rubble is presented with a dark candor that is far more complex than one expects of a film of this vintage. Also featured on this disc is the Pre-Code drama BACK PAGE, starring Peggy Shannon (DELUGE) as a small-town newspaper woman who tries to bring down a notorious white-collar criminal.

 

 

The Film:

After dilating upon the actions of alarmed meteorological experts and then showing what purport to be cities demolished by earthquakes and a flood, "Deluge," the current pictorial attraction at the Rialto, turns to villainy and romance. It is remarkable how soon the few remaining mortals regain their composure after the world disaster and become quite interested in living in caverns and shacks. There is the handsome but not precisely brainy hero who battles with a rugged scoundrel to save a fair college graduate, presumed at the time to be the only woman alive in that part of the world.

Most of the incidents in this rumbling and gurgling thriller occur somewhere about forty miles from "where New York City was." Martin Webster, the stop-look-and-listen hero, tells Claire Arlington, the pale, blonde co-ed and marvelous swimmer, that they cannot be far from where his country home once stood.

Excerpt from the NY Times located HERE

 

This remarkable early-talkie "disaster" flick was the first directorial effort of Felix E. Feist. An enormous tidal wave destroys New York City and most of the Eastern seaboard -- and that's only the beginning of the picture! The rest of the film deals with the aftermath of the deluge. Hero Martin (Sidney Blackmer), certain that his wife Helen (Lois Wilson) and his children have died in the disaster, begins a romance with bathing beauty Claire (Peggy Shannon). They must fight for their lives against Jephson (Fred Kohler Sr.) and his band of outlaws, who are using the apocalyptic crisis as an excuse to rape and pillage. Surviving one peril after another, the couple is forced to face their biggest crisis when it turns out that Martin's family has not perished after all. Claire nobly solves everyone's problem by swimming out to sea, never to be heard from again. Ned Mann's special effects and miniature work are first-rate, resurfacing as stock footage for years afterward (incidentally, some of the earthquake footage was filmed during an actual California quake in early 1933). Also praiseworthy is the superb, wall-to-wall musical score. For years considered a "lost" film, Deluge was found again in 1987 and has since been restored to an approximation of its original form -- though a full-scale videotape release is long overdue.

Excerpt from B+N located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Firstly, Deluge is a hoot. What an ambitious, pre-code film topic. The Kino Lorber Blu-ray is transferred in 1080P. It has some predictable marks and damage (see last 2 captures) but it seems to lessen after the first 15-minutes but there are frame-specific marks throughout. The grain is rich but the visuals, can vary from scene to scene. It looks like Lobster Films and Serge Bromberg are to thank for restoring and reviving this title (and 'Back Page'). This Blu-ray gave me a pleasurable viewing but individuals should be aware of its inherent weaknesses. I find that they add an intangible historical value to the film experience. The texture is a gorgeous attribute - exemplified by this higher resolution.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Examples of damage

 

 

 

Screen captures from 'Back Page' included in the set

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Kino Lorber use a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel track at 1553 kbps (16-bit) in the original English language. There many effects in the film - wind, rain, rumbling earthquakes, floods, gunplay but they are at the mercy of the production's modest capabilities. The dialogue was a bit scattered but audible - which would probably on-par with the production. There was an uncredited score by Val Burton (doing a few film compositions including James Whale's 1931 Waterloo Bridge) and it rocks and rolls right along with the intense action of the first 1/3 of the film. Super. There are optional English subtitles offered and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.

 

Extras :

Kudos to the, new, audio commentary by film historian Richard Harland Smith - it's filled with interesting tidbits, references and production details. I found it very rewarding. Kino also include the complete 1934 feature film BACK PAGE, another early effort (still pre-code?) also starring Peggy Shannon, the lead of Deluge. It runs about 1 hour 5-minutes and is of decent video quality (see captures). It's about a young female reporter who is fired from a big city newspaper, then decides to take over a troubled small town journal. She encounters difficulties bringing up details about 1930's feminism etc. There are also trailers for The Hurricane, Avalanche, and Meteor.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Deluge combines two of my favorite genres - pre-code and limited survivor apocalypse features (we should now add this to our recent article HERE.) It seems one of the most desirable commodities after the apocalypse is not only guns and food but lithe hottie Peggy Shannon - a former Ziegfeld gal once proposed to replace Clara Bow! She's carried near naked, twice, saved but only to return looking better than ever - and eventually realizing her prospects have become limited in the aftermath of fewer men than she would appreciate. The Kino Lorber Blu-ray is a fabulous way to see this gem - a totally imperfect presentation but no doubt the best available. The commentary adds significant value and I am immediately putting this on my 'keeper' shelf. Wow - I loved the modest effects - great package. Absolutely recommended to the right crowd! 

Gary Tooze

February 18th, 2017

 

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

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60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
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Gary W. Tooze

 

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