In 1883, ship captain Hanson plans a shipwreck salvage mission in The Dutch East Indies to retrieve a cargo of pearls but an unexpected volcano eruption and a state-ordered transport of convicts upset his plans.
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.
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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
The producers learned of the geographic error (Krakatoa was west of Java in the Sundra Strait) only after all of the advertising and publicity materials had been prepared. It was deemed too costly to re-do these materials, and possibly delay the release, for the sake of simple geographic accuracy. See more »
Near the start of the film, some boys are looking at the volcano through wooden tubes. The camera is looking upwards to their faces, yet the view of the village behind them is one that is looking down from a height. 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 »
Instead of using the original Cinerama version, the MGM DVD used a 35mm version that was restored to 131 minutes. This version has been cropped at the top and bottom of the frame to create the 2.35:1 aspect ratio. this version is also missing the overture, intermission and exit music. See more »
Back in the early Fifties, Republic Pictures made a feature film Fair Wind to Java that featured the Krakatoa volcanic eruption and explosion that was a B film and didn't pretend anything else. Too bad the era of B films was at an end when this one came out.
Don't get me wrong, Krakatoa, East of Java had great special effects, but it would have been nice if there had been a story worthy of those effects.
Captain Maximilian Schell is using his tramp steamer to go on a diving expedition to recover lost pearls. He has to locate the ship that they went down in so Max is prepared. He's got a father and son team of balloonists, Rossano Brazzi and Sal Mineo, a deep sea diver Brian Keith and his sweetheart Barbara Werle and Diane Baker who is the widow of the guy who lost the pearls in the first place.
And then the Dutch authorities decide he's to take on a gang of convicts for transportation. Their leader, J.D. Cannon is a former mate on Schell's ship and Schell out of friendship gives him the freedom of the deck.
I'll stop here because this thing gets dumber as it goes along. Why in heaven's name would Schell even take his ship out looking for riches with a group of convicts on is beyond me. If the authorities insisted he take them, I'd have dropped the convicts where they were to go first and then gone for the pearls. Or maybe not taken the thing out at all. And surely not have given Cannon the freedom of the deck. What a moron.
Why Brian Keith has Barbara along also doesn't make sense. Maybe he don't trust her to behave, but his reasons are obscure. And director Bernard Kowalski gives Werle a musical number. Whose decision was that to include it in the film? It's not even that good.
In a recent biography of Sal Mineo, the author recounts that when this film was having its premiere in Honolulu, Mineo walked out of the premiere, proclaiming to one and all what a piece of trash this film was. I probably think Sal knew it, but at the time he needed the dough.
Maximilian Schell is a fine actor, but action adventure hero he's not. Either he did this as an effort to expand his horizons or he too needed the dough.
Maybe one day someone will make a good film about Krakatoa, but this ain't the one. And who knows, maybe that someone will correctly place Krakatoa west of Java.
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