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S.O.S. Tidal Wave (1939)

Newsman Jeff Shannon wants to expose political corruption in his city, but backs off when his wife and son are threatened. On election day politicians try to prevent voting by broadcasting ... See full summary »


John H. Auer


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Complete credited cast:
Ralph Byrd ... Jeff Shannon
George Barbier ... Uncle Dan Carter
Kay Sutton ... Laurel Shannon
Frank Jenks ... Peaches Jackson
Marc Lawrence ... Melvin Sutter
Dorothy Lee ... Mable
Oscar O'Shea ... Mike Halloran
Mickey Kuhn ... Buddy Shannon
Ferris Taylor ... Clifford Farrow
Don 'Red' Barry ... Curley Parsons (as Donald Barry)
Raymond Bailey ... Roy Nixon


Newsman Jeff Shannon wants to expose political corruption in his city, but backs off when his wife and son are threatened. On election day politicians try to prevent voting by broadcasting footage from the disaster film Deluge (1933) to keep everyone watching the developing (fake) story that NYC is hit by a massive tidal wave. But Shannon realizes the story is a trick. Written by joshua169

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

criminal | television | See All (2) »


The March Of Crime! Televised on a coast-to-coast hook-up by an underworld lord whose weapons are the latest wonders of science. See more »


Crime | Sci-Fi







Release Date:

2 June 1939 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

S.O.S. na Onda Tidal See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Republic Pictures (I) See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


| (edited)

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA High Fidelity Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Includes a large amount of stock footage from Deluge (1933). See more »


Features Deluge (1933) See more »

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User Reviews

A truly bad film, absurdly bad...saw it on TV about 50 years ago.
4 September 2005 | by sharper3dSee all my reviews

I remember this as an amazingly bad film, for years after seeing it, late one night in my preteen years. One of the absurdities about it, was that it was about television, some six years before commercial TV was actually seen by most of the public. The so-called TV cameras were film newsreel cameras with big magazines for film. They could have left them off to "fake" a TV camera, but they didn't. The TV screens looked nothing like actual TV. The movie showed "live" coverage coming from these film cameras.Much of it the film was stock footage from "Deluge", a big 1933," King Kong era" film about a tidal wave (tsunami) wrecking ships & flooding Manhattan. This "End of the world theme" survived with only the Manhattan footage, then crudely re-edited, and mixed with a little new material, with a new cast, about crooks and TV as a news reporting medium.It looked like the new stuff was shot in about 2 days! The result, I'd say, was the worst late 30's movie ever made.. Later, 20 to 25 years, people like Ed Wood, Ray Steckler, & Vic Savage made some "nearly as bad" films,("Plan 9" etc.)but that was "semi-intentional".I wrote the scenario, (there was no screenplay!) at age 20 for "The Creeping Terror" directed by Vic Savage.He, Ed Wood, Steckler and others were more or less playing "AT" movie making, as a kind of life style thing!I think "SOS Tidal Wave" was more genuinely bad... because the makers were probably more professional,truly trying to weave a story out of loose ends, assuming people were too dumb to notice the cameras shooting "new-fangled" TV ,were movie news cameras. The real "dumbies" were the professionals who threw this mess together, so off handedly...Or so it seemed to me, as a kid, 50 years ago.

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