This remarkable early-talkie "disaster" flick was the first directorial effort of Felix E. Feist. An enormous tidal wave destroys New York City and most of the Eastern seaboard -- and that's only the beginning of the picture! The rest of the film deals with the aftermath of the deluge. Hero Martin (Sidney Blackmer), certain that his wife Helen (Lois Wilson) and his children have died in the disaster, begins a romance with bathing beauty Claire (Peggy Shannon). They must fight for their lives against Jephson (Fred Kohler Sr.) and his band of outlaws, who are using the apocalyptic crisis as an excuse to rape and pillage. Surviving one peril after another, the couple is forced to face their biggest crisis when it turns out that Martin's family has not perished after all. Claire nobly solves everyone's problem by swimming out to sea, never to be heard from again. Ned Mann's special effects and miniature work are first-rate, resurfacing as stock footage for years afterward (incidentally, some of the earthquake footage was filmed during an actual California quake in early 1933). Also praiseworthy is the superb, wall-to-wall musical score. For years considered a "lost" film, Deluge was found again in 1987 and has since been restored to an approximation of its original form -- though a full-scale videotape release is long overdue.
by Hal Erickson synopsis