I have seen many films made in the 1930s and I feel that “As the Earth Turns” is the best of the lot. Edmund Hartman produced the restored 45 minute film and composed the dramatic music for this silent sci-fi film. It was made in 1937 and he arranged for its distribution in 2020. The restored version is as clear as 2021 films.
The time according to the 1937 film is the near future. The world is engaged in war, tens of thousands of people are killed. Expectantly, a message comes through a wire addressed to all mankind from Pax, a word meaning peace. The message states that Pax has control of the world and wants all its people to live in peace. Pax threatens that if all nations do not stop the war and live in peace he will take violent actions against the world.
Governments ignore his threat. Pax then shows his power by controlling time, causing snow in July and an earthquake, and flooding the Sahara desert with water. When, despite this show of his powers, the nations do not cease engaging in war, Pax decides to destroy the world. He feels that he has no choice because he sees that humans act improperly and there is no way to change their nature.
The brilliant filmmaker, Richard Lyford, made this 84-year-old film when he was 20 years old, in Seattle, WA, before working for Disney and directing an Academy-Award-winning documentary. The backstory about how this film was found, restored, scored, and brought to the present is amazing. Edmond Hartman deserves thanks from everyone for making this film available. It can be seen on Amazon and will be shown on Turner Classic Movies and be on DVD/Blue Ray soon.
The film raised many questions for me, questions that other viewers may want to ponder, about human nature, science, war, peace, politics, and especially the appropriateness of the divine decision recorded in the Bible to destroy humanity and animals, with the exception of Noah and his family, by means of a flood because the people were acting improperly.
People should see this film. They will enjoy it.