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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

S.O.S. Tidal Wave [Blu-ray]


(John H. Auer, 1939)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Republic Pictures

Video: Olive Films



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

Runtime: 1:01:27.684

Disc Size: 15,658,600,125 bytes

Feature Size: 15,463,766,016 bytes

Video Bitrate: 30.00 Mbps

Chapters: 9

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: October 31st, 2017



Aspect ratio: 1.33:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 1771 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1771 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core:
2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)



English, None



• None





Description: Stalwart Republic contractee Ralph Byrd wades through a sea of stock footage in SOS-Tidal Wave. Byrd is cast as Jeff Shannon, a hotshot television commentator who goes after a corrupt political machine. When Shannon refuses to be dissuaded by bribes or threats, the villains promise dire consequences for his wife Laurel (Kay Sutton) and son Buddy (Mickey Kuhn) if he doesn't lay off. As a last-ditch measure, the head crook (Marc Lawrence) uses TV technology to scare away voters on election day by faking a devastating tidal wave which supposedly engulfs the city. The spectacularly soggy special-effects climax of SOS-Tidal Wave was lifted in toto from the 1933 fantasy feature Deluge.



The Film:

S.O.S. Tidal Wave is both a political thriller and one of the earliest examples of the disaster film genre. The corrupt Clifford Farrow (Ferris Taylor, A Man Betrayed), his sights set on winning the New York City mayoral race with backing from the nefarious political boss Melvin Sutter (Marc Lawrence, Flame of Barbary Coast), sees the world as his oyster.

That’s until stalwart television journalist Jeff Shannon (Ralph Byrd, Jungle Book) unmasks a system that would place the unscrupulous and unqualified Farrow into power. S.O.S. Tidal Wave remains true to its crime thriller roots until a very surprising twist. The devious Farrow and Sutter, using stock horror film footage of a tsunami-like tidal wave, try to convince an unsuspecting public that the killer wave is about to hit New York, thereby throwing voters into a War of the Worlds-type panic. Will Jeff be able to convince the public of this hoax in time to save the election?

Excerpt from Olive located HERE

In more distress than it realizes, the Criterion is hammering out "S O S Tidal Wave," a synthetic quickie produced in a flash by Republic Pictures. We have a vague recollection of seeing the destruction of New York by earthquake and flood once before. The shots of the Empire State Building crumbling, a liner piling up against the Subtreasury walls, Times Square melting away—these all have a familiar look.

Excerpt from The NYTimes located HERE

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

S.O.S. Tidal Wave arrives on Blu-ray from Olive Films. This is only single-layered but it has a high bitrate. Actually the main feature is quite strong in appearance but the infused Deluge footage is significantly grainier. The Blu-ray is kind of faint but contrast helps exports some depth and detail is at pleasing levels. This 'B' effort must have had a decent source. The image quality is solid.


















Audio :

Audio is transferred to a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel track at 1771 kbps (24-bit). Effects of the dister lack depth but have some impact in the lossless - dialogue is clear. The score uses segments compsoed by Cy Feuer (Republic serial's Adventures of Captain Marvel and Jungle Girl, 1939's Sabotage), William Lava (War Arrow, The Night Riders, Retreat, Hell!), Joseph Nussbaum and Paul Sawtell (Another Man's Poison, Silver City, The Fly, Denver and Rio Grande). The music is fairly generic but is supportive. There are optional English subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.



Extras :

No supplements - not even a trailer which is the bare-bones route that Olive are going with the majority of their releases.



The transition from crime-drama to disaster is quite ham-fisted. It's almost like they didn't get the Deluge footage till after the production started and they simply wrote the 'tidal wave' disaster into the narrative at the end. I thought I would like this more than I did because I liked Deluge so much. The Blu-ray (cool cover) is fine, typically bare-bones but the cache of an HD presentation. I don't think I would recommend this film. 

Gary Tooze

November 1st, 2017


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