Johnstown Flood

"Weak"

Johnstown Flood Review


Believe it or not, the Johnstown Flood, the worst flood in American history, which killed 2,209 people, has been the subject of three prior films. At least, there are three prior movies called The Johnstown Flood. One presumes this is what they're about.

In this 64-minute documentary/docudrama, Richard Dreyfuss narrates the events leading up to and following the 1889 Pennsylvania flood. There's not a lot of archival video of what happened, this being the dawn of cinema and all, so much of the imagery consists of archival photos and re-enactments of people in period dress reciting letters and memoirs of the witnesses. There's also lots of video footage of curious, anonymous, raging waters.

Sure enough, this was an American tragedy the likes of which the country has seldom seen. And it was all our fault: Dunderhead engineers built a dam out of mud and cow shit. When it filled up, big surprise that the thing broke apart. Everyone knew it would happen. No one bothered to do anything about it. An entire town was wiped away; most of the victims were women or children.

That's kind of it. If you're a history buff or live in Pennsylvania (which has to be the most disaster-prone state in America, no?), you might find this enthralling -- and for short stretches, us laypeople can get into it, too. But ultimately this film is just not very cinematic. The archival photos quickly give way to illustrations (modern?) and re-enacted shots of people ("dead bodies," that is) lying on the ground. The recreated video is hopeless in its cheesiness. It's presented in black and white in order to fit in with the old stuff and to hide the problems inherent with shooting on video. Doesn't work; the "actors" are probably straight from Civil War re-enactment camp.



Johnstown Flood

Facts and Figures

Run time: 26 mins

Production compaines: Fox Film Corporation

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

IMDB: 7.9 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Mark Bussler

Producer:

Starring: George O'Brien as Tom O'Day, Florence Gilbert as Gloria Hamilton, as Anna Burger

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Colossal Movie Review

Colossal Movie Review

It's rare to find a movie that so defiantly refuses to be put into a...

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

It's unlikely that Guy Ritchie could make a boring movie if he wanted to. This...

Snatched Movie Review

Snatched Movie Review

It doesn't really matter that the script for this lively action-comedy is paper thin: teaming...

Jawbone Movie Review

Jawbone Movie Review

Boxing movies aren't usually this thoughtful. Sure, there are plenty of punchy moments in the...

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Scottish filmmaker Gillies MacKinnon (Hideous Kinky) remakes the 1949 Ealing comedy classic, although it's difficult...

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Master filmmaker Ridley Scott is back to continue the story 10 years after the events...

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

A fictionalised account of real events, this drama is reminiscent of Peter Morgan's work in...

Advertisement
Sleepless Movie Review

Sleepless Movie Review

In remaking the 2011 French thriller Sleepless Night, the filmmakers have dumbed down both the...

Unlocked Movie Review

Unlocked Movie Review

By injecting a steady sense of fun, this slick but mindless action thriller both holds...

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

A seriously impressive feature directing debut with a star-making central performance, this period British drama...

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

It was never going to be easy to match the impact of 2014's Guardians of...

The Promise Movie Review

The Promise Movie Review

The director of Hotel Rwanda, Terry George, turns to another humanitarian horror: the systematic murder...

Their Finest Movie Review

Their Finest Movie Review

Skilfully written, directed and acted, this offbeat British period film tells a story that catches...

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.