The Great Mine Disaster (Au Pays des ténèbres)

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Inspired by Emile Zola's novel "Germinal", with the socio-political themes of exploitation and protest replaced by melodrama and the thrill of disaster.

Online: YouTube



The original film is 2.5 hours, so this version is missing more than half the film - most notably, the intertitles. Also, the two main male leads share similar costumes, physique, mustaches, and hair styles, and are both seen with the same woman. So this version is tricky to follow, but is worth the effort: a more natural acting style, location filming, unforgettable scenes of crowd uprising, and a story that subtly surveys the intersection between emotional and social landscapes - at a time when US film was still honing its huckster skills of grabbing the attention of the audience, then ramming views and values (aka, propaganda) down its throat.