The World Will Shake (1939)

Article #1341 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 11-15-2004
Posting Date: 4-14-2005
Directed by Richard Pottier
Featuring Claude Dauphin, Madeleine Sologne, Roger Duchesne

A scientist creates a machine that can predict a man’s moment of death.

I find it quite plausible that the invention of a machine that could predict anyone’s exact moment of death of anyone would have repercussions that would lead to rioting, and I would really like to see a movie that would deal with this subject. However, I find myself once again in that familiar bind; the only print I’ve been able to find of this one is in unsubtitled French, and since the concept requires talk, that’s what fills most of this movie. In short, I found it very difficult to follow; I only got as much out of it as I could glean from short plot summaries in reference books. This being the case, my favorite moments are obviously visual ones, including some comic scenes of a man setting up a booby trap to have himself killed (there does seem to be quite a bit of comedy to this movie), a scene of the scientist finally testing the machine on himself, and any of the scenes with Erich von Stroheim, who not only serves as a familiar face, but he knows how to use a cane as a prop in an entertaining way. Still, this one must be filed away for future reference. There’s also the chance that I may be disappointed; it’s rating on IMDB at the time of this writing (4.1) seems to reflect that the movie isn’t exactly considered a classic. Still, I’d rather decide that for myself.

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