The Sunday Intertitle from the Future

More mad science! LA CITÉFOUDROYÉE (THE CITY THUNDERED) was made in 1924 but its first intertitle — a scrap from a letter composed by our dubious hero — tells us that the events are transpiring in the far-flung year of 1930.

“This is my confession. I am the greatest criminal of all time. By hate and by money ~”

We then see the hero getting to work on his great invention which will destroy Paris. I have no idea how faithful this seventeen-minute film — possibly edited down from a feature for the Pathe-Baby 9.5mm home projection system — is to the novel by Jean-Louis Bouquet. But it pulls off an ending that seems unlikely to stem from its source.

Director Luitz Morat gives the public what it came to see — Paris blown to bits, in a mixture of time-lapse clouds, authentic footage of disasters, and quite good model effects — then, in a surprise twist, reveals that the great criminal enterprise our hero has been working towards is a NOVEL — entitled La Cité Foudroyée, in which Paris, as we have just seen, is destroyed. An outrageous cheat, but quite a sweet one.

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