(6/10) In a nutshell: Danish moral story and apocalypse film about the coming of a comet, The End of the World (1916), has stunning special effects and some interesting drama, but is bogged down by too many subplots and unexplored themes.
The End of the World (Verdens Undergang), 1916, Denmark. Written by Otto Rung. Based on the novel La Fin du Monde by Camille Flammarion (uncredited). Directed by August Blom. Starring: Olaf Fønss, Ebba Thomsen, Johanne Fritz-Petersen, Frederik Jacobsen. IMDb score: 6.3
Danish August Blom is unfortunately one of those early film pioneers that don’t get much recognition these days. If remembered, it is chiefly for Atlantis, his ambitious film about the sinking of a large passenger ship – released in 1913, just a year after Titanic had gone down. Among film buffs he has a reputation for developing the genre of the erotic melodrama, and for being an early pioneer for cross-cutting of scenes for dramatic effect. Among fans of sci-fi, though, he is remembered for making the first post-apocalyptic science fiction film, Verdens Undergang, or The End of the World, made in 1916.
If Atlantis can be faulted for something, it’s that we never get a shot of the actual sinking of the ship, or even decks filling with water. One moment she is floating perfectly straight while people climb into life boats, in the next shot only the stern protrudes above the water line. Blom did not make the same mistake in The End of the World, depicting a comet brushing the Earth. Here we get superbly exciting scenes of burning meteorites scorching the landscape, houses on fire, explosions and water flooding buildings with people inside. With this film, Blom has captured an apocalyptic event on a truly epic scale, and the films deserves at least as good a reputation as Atlantis. Continue reading