S.O.S. Tidal Wave (1939)

S.O.S. TIDAL WAVE (1939)
Article #929 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 9-30-2003
Posting Date: 2-27-2004
Directed by John H. Auer
Featuring Ralph Byrd, George Barbier, Kay Sutton

A television newsman feels ambivalent over blowing the whistle on a local corrupt politician.

I was initially unsure as to why this movie qualified as fantastic cinema, but one of the guides I used pointed out that the movie took place in the future when television was common. This is pretty much the qualifying factor in what is essentially a pretty ordinary political melodrama that borrows from both the panic that accompanied Orson Welle’s broadcast of ‘The War of the Worlds’ as well as ample footage from DELUGE. At times it’s quite effective; at other times it’s quite silly, and at least one manipulative sequence involving an injured child and a ventriloquist’s dummy is about as badly handled as any scene I’ve ever seen. Ralph Byrd is largely remembered for playing Dick Tracy in several serials and movies.


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