The Dutch East Indies, in the late 19th century. Capt. Hanson of the "Batavia Queen" is preparing to embark on a salvage expedition. His mistress, Laura, knows the location of a ship ... See full summary »
A documentary on the 1883 eruption of Krakatoa in the Sunda Strait of Indonesia, bringing tsunamis, rains of pumice and ash, and a deadly flow of hot steam, sulfuric acid, and ash. More than 36,000 died; survivors had bad burns.
The Dutch East Indies, at the end of the nineteenth century. An adventurous captain of an American merchant vessel is looking for a sunken Dutch vessel containing 10,000 precious diamonds. ... See full summary »
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The Dutch East Indies, in the late 19th century. Capt. Hanson of the "Batavia Queen" is preparing to embark on a salvage expedition. His mistress, Laura, knows the location of a ship belonging to her late husband, a shipwreck concealing a cargo of rare pearls. A diver and a diving bell are aboard ship. But a government agent coerces Hanson into accepting a shipment of convicts for the ship's hold. The wreck lies dangerously close to the erupting volcano on the island of Krakatoa, where Laura's young son attends the convent school... Written by
In the early phases of production there was no script, but they knew what special effects sequences were needed and special effects creator Eugène Lourié shot many of the miniature sequences before the writing was complete. See more »
Near the start of the film, some boys are looking at the volcano through wooden tubes. As they do not have any lenses, all this would do would be to restrict the boys' field of view. See more »
This film was shot using Super Panavision 70 and Todd-AO formats for presentation in single-strip Cinerama. The opening title sequence has the image devided into three frames just like the original three-strip Cinerama. See more »
Spectacular special effects in search of a plot...
If only for its Oscar-nominated special effects simulating the fireworks caused by a very active Krakatoa, the film has enough eye appeal to be worth a look. But it's a pity that with a cast of talented actors aboard ship, the script and characters are so one-dimensional that after awhile one's mind wanders to watching for the next special effects sequence--and there are plenty of them to watch.
KRAKATOA, EAST OF JAVA almost looks as if it was designed for the 3D camera, with objects being tossed at the camera from above or below and must have looked even more spectacular on the big theater screen. The studio certainly has spared no expense in handsomely photographing this story of a salvage expedition that turns into a search for buried pearls on a shipwreck at the bottom of the sea. It includes a bevy of convicts aboard ship (a plot device that really makes no sense), while Captain MAXIMILIAN SCHELL stays at the helm of his ship steering it into one perilous situation after another and comforting his distraught passengers, including DIANE BAKER as a worried mother whose son is at a convent school near Krakatoa.
BRIAN KEITH, ROSSANO BRAZZI and SAL MINEO have cardboard supporting roles but go through their paces with conviction, never seeming to mind the one-dimensional aspect of their characters. Brazzi makes an ill-fated decision to leave the ship for shore when a tidal wave is about to approach and leaves his son (Mineo) aboard ship with the other characters who survive the storm.
There's virtually no plot to really hook the viewer into caring about the fate of these wooden characters. Even Schell seems much too calm to be amidst such dire situations involving the safety of his ship but manages to look ruggedly handsome in torn shirt as he watches the fireworks that seem to bombard the ship at various intervals throughout.
If the fireworks alone are enough to capture your interest, this is escapist adventure at best--but don't expect a plot that makes much sense. The characters all speak in modern phrases akin to 1969 rather than the late 19th century, an anachronism that gets lost in all the fiery explosions and fireworks of a raging volcano.
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