The Danish astronomer Herr Professor Wisemann ( as he is called) is a learned scientist who recently discovers a new comet. Herr Wisemann, an expert on the subject, calculates that the comet is likely to enter the earth's atmosphere, causing huge destruction and disaster. ( It's funny, but some centuries ago a very similar comet passed by the Earth and probably due that in those ancient times astronomy wasn't yet perfected, the people thought that such sign in the sky meant a totally merry event ) But even in such horrible situation, there are greedy and scrupulous men who will try to get some personal benefit from such disaster, as the mine owner Herr Frank Stoll intends to do "Verdens Undergang", a film directed by Herr August Blom in the silent year of 1916, is a very interesting metaphor about the WWI; the film was made precisely during the Great War and there are constant and sibylline references about such warlike conflicts during the whole film.
As the main title implies, "Verdens Undergang" (well for all those illiterate youngsters who don't know Danish, this means "the end of the world")... reflected a terrible feeling that existed in Europe during the first and most important conflict between mankind. Specifically "North-Western Europe" is the place which according to Herr Professor Wisemann's calculations, the comet will enter the Earth's orbit, causing a huge disaster. Certainly that's an obvious reference to the land in where the war caused destruction, damage and pain.
During the whole film there is a continuous feeling of helplessness since peace wasn't in sight. For this reason the film is a consecutive sequence of uncertainties and how the worst nature of human beings ( ambition, greed, hate, familiar feuds ) arises to aggravate an unexpected big disaster in a turmoil of primal human conduct that will succumb with the coming of the comet.
But in spite of such cataclysm for mankind, there is a flicker of hope with a new and better future at the end of the film. Among the few survivors are a priest (the most obvious representation of hope) and two youngsters in love reunited again in a small chapel (more obvious religious references, ja wohl!) happy for being together again in the middle of such disaster. But after all, they are looking with hope at what is an uncertain future in a scene that exemplifies perfectly the yearning for a new hope reborn after the cataclysm.
The film is a proper and well manufactured Danish film production, that in those early times had a lot of reputation around the world ( the film starred Herr Olaf Fonss who was one of the most important early Danish actors and who worked with the most important German directors of that time too ). Seen in this picture are early techniques and special effects achieving a solid film narrative by intertwining the worst of human nature with the comet's menace. In images in the form of a sci-fi film, everything is placed in a modern context that basically is valid today insofar as the pain and sorrow that causes the outrage of men.
And now, if you'll allow me, I must temporarily take my leave because this German Count is waiting for a visit by Herr Halley.
Herr Graf Ferdinand Von Galitzien http://ferdinandvongalitzien.blogspot.com
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