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Krakatoa, East of Java (1969)

Cast: Maximilian Schell, Diane Baker, Brian Keith, more...
Director: Bernard Kowalski
    see all cast/crew...
Studio: MGM
Genre: Action, Disaster Action, Adventure
Running Time: 131 min.
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
    see additional details...

Volcano is the reissue title of the muddled disaster flick Krakatoa: East of Java. The name change was reportedly put into effect after thousands of filmgoers noted publicly that Krakatoa is west of Java. As might be expected, the story takes place in 1883, when the long-dormant volcano at Krakatoa erupted with A-bomb force. Since everyone knows what's coming, the filmmakers try to stir up suspense with a gratuitous subplot involving ship's-captain Maximilian Schell and his mutinous crew (a similar plot device had been used in a previous dramatization of the Krakatoa incident, 1953's Fair Wind to Java). The climactic special effects are spectacular enough to make the script, and the all-star cast (including Diane Baker, Brian Keith, Rossano Brazzi, and Sal Mineo), seem utterly superfluous. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

Much better than I thought by JKelly December 30, 2005 - 10:11 PM PST
1 out of 1 members found this review helpful
I recently read Winchester's book Krakatoa, so I thought I'd rent this as a campy peek into an obscure film, just to see how badly they screwed up the details of the events. Although many details are wrong and some we should be kind enough to put down to artistic license, willful suspension and all that, I was very impressed by several things. This is a really nice old actioner, the kind you might have watched with your family on a Sunday afternoon. It has several recognizable actors, always good to have that to add to the nostalgia of a film. And the effects are fairly well done, although you might avail yourself of the fast forward through some. I was very impressed by the quality of the filmwork. The color is vivid, focus sharp, and I really can't believe how well they do some things, given the pre-computer era of the film.

Right - some of the warning signs, like dead fish; the destruction of the port town Anjer by tsunami; ships in deep water fared better than those at port.

Wrong - Krakatoa is west, not east of Java; there was no ship's telegraph at the time, which was why ships would stop at Anjer, to pick up and send messages via the land line; the temperature dropped (ash blocked the sun), the weather didn't get hotter.

In memoriam - this movie is a sober reminder of the destructive geological powers in that region, as experienced recently by the marine earthquake that caused a tsunami at the north end of Sumatra, in Banda Aceh. Sumatra, what was formerly Krakatoa and Java form a sort of almost open book, looking down on the top edge with the volcano at the spine. The islands are the product of plate tectonics, with the Australian plate pushing into and subducting under the Asian one. Tens of thousands of lives were lost in the 1883 destruction of Krakatoa, mostly by tsunamis that ravaged the coasts, some reaching over 100 feet.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 5.38)
8 Votes
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