Water Logged

It’s easy to watch iconic disaster movies – Towering Inferno, Poseidon Adventure – and grasp their template. Soapy drama, an all-star cast, warnings to ignorant government officials, major special effect sequences, then a rescue; that’s producer Irwin Allen behind-the-scenes.

Flood has those moments, and while barely remembered as it ran strictly on television, Flood arguably condenses the formula to its purest form. No loose ends, no creativity, no surprises. Flood is absolutely pure disaster filmmaking without fluff.

“As expected” sums up Flood

Check the boxes. A pregnant woman goes into labor as the event happens. A small boy holds a scarf previously owned by the hero’s now deceased brother. The local mayor denies and buries findings in a report about the town’s failing dam because it’s their tourist season (fishing, in this case). One of the heroes is married to the mayor’s daughter, creating obvious conflict. Add some kids in peril, tragic deaths, and rudimentary dialog explaining the looming danger, and Flood’s script can be capably written by modern AI if fed the genre’s data.

This isn’t the worst film in Allen’s filmography. For all of his deserved accolades, including Oscars and lifetime achievement awards, no producer or filmmaker finds perfection. Flood (forgive the pun) floats amid the debris, in a dull, rudimentary gray area where it’s neither classic or failure; it just exists, does what it can, and moves on, forgettable.

Barbara Hershey has a thankless role as a nurse. Roddy McDowell is wasted. Robert Culp and Martin Milner do their things as interchangeable protagonists. Then there’s Richard Baseheart, playing the morally dubious mayor refusing to listen to experts as they warn of the town’s eventual demise, adequate and unspectacular if playing his part as expected.

“As expected” sums up Flood, a story with limited to no genuine ambition to be anything other than what TV execs wanted. The generic capitalistic warning stems from Jaws the year before, and Flood was teetering in a pre-ecological thriller/climate change time period, so it lacks any allegorical kick. When the title event happens, it’s a sub-par miniature (if likely fine for SDTV broadcast) followed by stock footage and a few actions scenes performed in obvious, tiny studio sets. The drama works at times, Flood’s sole selling point in the end. Even though it’s as-expected, beat for beat, that’s comforting when in the right mindset.


Age has brought a yellow/sepia tint to Flood, knocking minimal bite out of the color. While there’s an obvious push in that direction, flesh tones hold firm and primaries have their moments. A number of environments and clothing options. Blue skies and green forests deliver. It’s quite lovely really.

Luckily, nothing hinders the contrast. That minor yellowing doesn’t sway the brightest whites from their peak levels, still intense, still vivid. A few rounds of deep black levels to match, and Flood looks outright dynamic in spots.

Shout’s presentation shows super mild, light grain almost to a point of suspicion, but there’s no visible sign of egregious processing. Texture jumps from a fresh 2K scan from an interpositive, and a slight generational loss is inevitable. What’s lost in the finest texture evens out from the consistency in the image. As the first movie in Shout’s Irwin Allen “Master of Disaster” Collection, this is a fine start.


Unremarkable but sufficient DTS-HD mono keeps this TV movie sounding pure, the smooth orchestration, fine dialog, and overall fidelity appreciable considering Flood’s origins. It’s all in balance and precise for a track this vintage.


A trailer and stills, that’s it.

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

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Irwin Allen brought his disaster brand to TV for the first time with Flood, and it’s exactly the movie any experienced film watcher expects it to be.

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The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 32 full resolution, uncompressed HD screen shots grabbed directly from the Blu-ray:

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