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
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 »
I can get down there and I can get back up again, now what happens after that's up to me.
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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 »
Originally premiered in Cinerama format at 136 minutes. After tepid reactions, film was cut to 101 minutes and re-released. See more »
Director Bernard L. Kowalski's resume reveals that he was more suited to television than movies, and that's apparent in the distinct lack of grandeur that accompanies this movie. It's a historical adventure film based on the real-life eruption of the volcano Krakatoa in 1883 and like later, modern-era disaster epics such as THE TOWERING INFERNO the storyline gives us a bunch of characters in a single location forced to deal with the ensuing disaster staples. Unfortunately, for those of us hoping for mucho destruction, it's not until the last half hour or so that things begin to (literally) hot up, with a plethora of miniature effects used to simulate the eruption. It doesn't disappoint but it comes far too late.
The first hour is s-l-o-w in the extreme. The supporting characters are numerous and not drawn very well, so they end up feeling like clichés: the group of inmates you just know are going to escape at some point; the square-jawed captain with the Steve Reeves beard; the drug-addicted diver and the heroic young Italian. The movie has an episodic feel to it, with one incident following another: there's the bit with the hot air balloon, the bit with the diving bell, the scene with the divers, then the volcano eruption at the end. When there's stuff going on it's enjoyable, but in-between you'll be chomping at the bit for the next occurrence.
Casting could have been better, not that the actors have much to do. Brian Keith bags the most interesting role as the laudanum-swigging diver while Maxmilian Schell plays little more than a clean-cut one-dimensional hero type. Diane Baker is shrill and irrelevant, but Barbara Werle does better, especially in an amusing impromptu song-and-dance/striptease sequence. Other actors, like father/son team Rossano Brazzi and Sal Mineo, barely register. For instance, there just isn't enough time to develop the latter's romantic sub-plot with too much time spent on Baker's uninteresting histrionics.
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