Dina and Edith West (Ebba Thomsen and Johanne Fritz-Petersen) live in a poor mining town and are the daughters of the foreman of the mine, Forman West (Carl Lauritzen).  While West entertains a traveling priest (Frederik Jacobsen), his two daughters go to the local inn to enjoy some dancing with other locals.  At the dance is the owner of the mine, Frank Stoll (Olaf Fonss).  Dina is sort of engaged to a local man, Flint (Thorleif Lund), however, when the wealthy Stoll sees Dina, he falls in love with her at first sight and asks her to elope with him.  When Dina comes home late, she gets into an argument with her father.  She decides to run away with Stoll.  Her father disowns her.  Stoll becomes even wealthier from the stock market.

Dr. Paul Wisemann (K. Zimmerman) is an astronomer.  While looking through his telescope he discovers that there is a comet hurtling towards the Earth.  After critical observation he determines that the comet will pass close to the Earth and wreak havoc on the planet.  News leaks out that the comet is approaching but not what its effects will be.  The stock market is affected to a degree and stocks go down.  Stoll buys up the discounted stock expecting that the comet will have no effect on Earth. 

Wisemann brings his findings to his colleagues who confirm his hypothesis.  There is concern that bringing this information to the public will create panic.  Wisemann does tell his cousin, Frank Stoll.  Frank thinks that perhaps he can take advantage of the event.  He plants a story in the paper that the comet will not pass by the planet, to calm the public.  He believes that once people believe everything is fine, the stock market will go up and he can make another killing selling everything off.

Unfortunately for Stoll, the comet can’t read and continues on its path toward Earth.  When Stoll realizes that the planet is really in danger, he must come up with a way to save himself and Dina.  As this is all happening, Dina and Edith’s father dies leaving Edith alone waiting for her fiancé, Reymers (Alf Blutecher), who is out at sea.      

“The End of the World” AKA “Verdens Undergang”, or “The Flaming Sword” in Britain, was released in 1916 and was directed by August Blom.  It is a Danish science fiction apocalyptic silent film.  In 2006, the film was restored by the Danish Film Institute.

The movie generated a buzz because six years previously, in 1910, Halley’s Comet passed by Earth.  It is said that Denmark’s neutrality during the First World War influenced the types of films they produced.  Instead of the world ending due to war, it ends by nature.  There are some morality influences also inserted but that is more a sign of the times and not any political aspect trying to be brought forward. 

The actual apocalypse doesn’t come until later in the film.  Before that we are introduced to the characters and several sub-plots are outlined.  When the comet does arrive, the special effects are actually decent for the time.  There are some really nice miniatures and matte paintings during the apocalypse and the aftermath.  Even though I had to wait to see if the world ended, I didn’t mind.  The film was interesting.  I did have some confusion on the editing.  It seemed that some of the scenes were out of sequence a little, but it wasn’t noticeable until I watched it a second time.

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