Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Harry Belafonte in The World, the Flesh and the Devil (1959)

Obscurity factor: 3

The cold war brought about all sorts of apocalyptic explorations, but few of them had the visual impact of this film. Ralph Burton (Harry Belafonte) emerges from being trapped in a mine for several days to find the world devoid of people. He makes his way to New York City but encounters no one. He claims an apartment and makes a lonely home there until he discovers another survivor - a girl. As their friendship develops, Ralph starts to become uneasy about the difference in their races. Matters are further complicated when another survivor - a white man - finds his way to New York.

This film has some of the most disconcerting footage of New York I've ever seen. The deserted streets with evidence of the chaos that preceded is at once majestic and ominous. The films attempts to delve into the touchy subject of race is thought provoking, but leaves many questions unanswered. In addition to Harry Belafonte look for Inger Stevens and Mel Ferrar in the cast.

This has just been released on DVD as of January of this year. It was a much anticipated release by many who remembered the film and had trouble finding it. It's occasionally aired on TCM. The trailer for it is above, uploaded to YouTube by conelrad6401240. The poster above is available at

Obscurity factor: 3 (Recently released on DVD, little remembered film except by hard core fan base)

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