Movie Diary 8/4/2019

Deluge (Felix E. Feist, 1933). Special-effects curio, in which earthquakes and floods destroy the world, causing mankind to, you know, rebuild. Rapid-fire opening sequences, with panicked officials including Edward Van Sloan (Van Helsing himself) and Samuel S. Hinds. When the waters subside, lonely survivor Sidney Blackmer hooks up with long-distance swimmer Peggy Shannon, unaware this his wife (Lois Wilson) and children have survived elsewhere. A bunch of miniature cities are destroyed, with ingenious effects. Strangely, almost the entire remainder of the film is obsessed with the threat of sexual violence against women, an unpleasant emphasis that ignores lots of other storytelling possibilities.

Desert Fury (Lewis Allen, 1947). I think watching this movie once every 30 years is about right, especially to check out the Technicolor-iffic DVD from Kino Lorber. You can get drunk off these colors and costumes (Edith Head in high gear) and designs. The story is soporific, as spoiled kid Lizabeth Scott returns home to Nevada, where her mother (Mary Astor) runs a casino and local lawman/failed rodeo rider Burt Lancaster nurtures a torch. Scott, whose character is completely infuriating, falls into romance with gambler John Hodiak, much to the irritation of his longtime companion Wendell Corey. A lot of scenes of people getting into cars (very nice cars) to go places, some of which look like they were shot in Sedona. Scott’s performance is swallowed up by her costumes, which, given her nonsensical tendency to smile broadly at the wrong time, is a good thing. Astor wipes the floor with her in their scenes together, and is the standout human in the cast.

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