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Saturday, July 8, 2017

'The World, The Flesh, and The Devil' DVD: Guess Who's Coming to Post-Apocalyptc Dinner



This latest entry in a summertime series of posts on vintage Warner Archive posts shares thoughts on the 1959 CinemaScope social commentary drama "The World, The Flesh, and The Devil." An alternative title would have been "Two Guys, A Girl, and The Apocalypse."

As shown below, the themes of "Devil" still are highly relevant 58 years after the theatrical release; the sad aspect of that is that there are social issues regarding which we have not come a long way Baby.

The following YouTube clip of the Warner trailer for "Devil" arguably is the most apt promo for any film from any era. It PERFECTLY highlights the style and the primary theme of the movie.


Legendary entertainer/real-life civil rights activist Harry Belafonte plays resourceful Ralph Burton, who emerges from five days of underground isolation to discover that the heating up of the Cold War has a (potentially globally) devastating impact. His search for fellow survivors brings him to Manhattan, which is as empty as a ghost town.

Ala Charlton Heston in "The Omega Man" and other characters who essentially are "the last man on earth," Burton sets himself in a luxurious home and helps himself to art and other treasures. Unlike most of his counterparts, the hoarding of Burton has a noble purpose.

"Devil" also precedes the Tom Hanks film "Castaway" in having the "stranded" Burton develop a close friendship with a named inanimate object. We even get a scene in which anger directed at the artificial non-intelligence prompts tossing it away.

Burton learns that he is not alone when he discovers that beautiful young blonde Sarah Crandall (Inger Stevens of "The Farmer's Daughter") lives in the area. It is highly suggested that race is a factor regarding the intense fear that Crandall, who already has been observing Burton, expresses on Burton approaching her.

The pair develops an increasingly strong bond as "The Professor" uses the available resources to restore "modern luxuries." Nice humor comes in the form of the "dumb blonde" showing up Burton regarding a means to utilize a convenience.

The intrusion into this Eden comes in the form of one-percenter Benson Thacker (the prolific Mel Ferrer) showing up one day. He works and plays well with the others; however, his mere presence ultimately requires addressing the elephant in the room regarding whether he or Burton eventually will be the one with whom Crandall will begin repopulating New York.

The symbolic build up of tension mirrors both the circumstances that create the conflict and require that our trio directly address the issue of race. This culminations in all too common an occurrence in America even in 2107. The final solution is one that arguably best benefits mankind.

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Devil" is encouraged to email me; you alternatively can connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy,