La cite foudroyee (1924)

aka The Thunderstruck City
Article 4851 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 6-19-2015
Directed by Luitz-Morat
Featuring Daniel Mendaille, Jane Maguenat, Armand Morins
Country: France
What it is: An epic of destruction…maybe

An angry scientist has come up with an idea for a machine that can control lightning and cause it to strike where he pleases. Such a machine could be used to blackmail the city of Paris…

The full-length version of this movie runs about 72 minutes, and I’ve not seen it. However, I have seen a cut-down show-at-home version which reduces the story to six small reels that altogether run about a quarter of the length of the movie. Seeing how this may well be the only way I’ll be able to see this one at all, I’m going for it. Yes, in this format the story is very rushed, but there are some truly moody scenes and impressive scenes of destruction. In some ways, it’s quite impressive…. that is, until the final reel comes around. Now, being that this is an edited version of the original movie, there is the real possibility that the ending of this cut-down version may not match the ending of the full version, but if that’s not the case, then this movie has the most jaw-droppingly maddening plot twist of all time, and I don’t mean that in a complimentary way. In fact, I imagine the plot twist would be even worse if it was encountered after seeing a full-length feature film. It’s still worth seeing for the good scenes, but beware of that last reel; it’s a doozy.

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