The End of the World (1931)

THE END OF THE WORLD (1931)
(a.k.a. LA FIN DU MONDE)
Article #455 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing date: 6-13-2002
Posting date: 11-6-2002

A comet is on a collision course with the earth.

Apparently, this movie is not readily available in its original version; a fifty-five minute version for English audiences is all that is available. I can only guess what the original is like; this one is unique. After a stiff, talky introduction featuring a scientist who lacks the abillity to sound natural on camera, the movie starts in earnest. It hovers somewhere between sound and silent cinema, with rushes of voices, bizarre dissonant music, title cards and a plot which seems to be there only to support a nonstop barrage of montage scenes. The editing is bizarre and jarring; it would probably be extremely difficult to recreate the original print as it almost seems like it would be hard to tell what was intended and what was just spliced and edited. Victor Francen has the lead role of the scientist who discovers the comet; apparently most of the footage involving Abel Gance himself is not in this version. It’s not an easy watch: I can only take so much montage at once, but it’s worth a look to anyone interested in unique cinema.

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