Big Bang: “Krakatoa East of Java” (1969)



TURN AROUND STUPID: Captain Hanson (Maximilian Schell) and his lover Laura (Diane Baker) gaze in awe at the obvious warning signs of impending disaster but, in the best Hollywood tradition of unexplainable behavior, continue to sail into the Valley of Death in Bernard L. Kowalski’s “Krakatoa East of Java”.

    “Krakatoa East of Java”  (1969)

    Seldom have adventure films sunk from their own surfeit of narrative ballast as dramatically as Bernard L. Kowalski’s “Krakatoa East of Java”, a film that juggles so many storylines- ensuring that none will see the light of full coherence  -that the eponymous volcano is relegatedkrakatoaOS to the lowly status of an afterthought until all hell necessarily breaks loose in the final reels.

    The film follows an event-filled voyage of the steamer Batavia Queen from its port located on the coast of West Java (the title of the film famously misdirects the location of Krakatoa in proximity to Java, yet this trivial amusement has little to do with evaluating the substance of the production) to offshore the volcanic Krakatoa, primarily in search of a sunken cache of pearls, but also to administer psychic healing to the more-than-slightly unhinged love interest of the ship’s Captain Chris Hanson  (Maximilian Schell), Laura Travis (Diane Baker). From such melodramatically eruptive personal relationships are born highly suspect, exotically located adventure films, especially when all of the purely soap opera elements are churning just out of reach of the destination volcanic island which is doing its best to discourage all interlopers with continuous warning signs of pending catastrophic volatility; warning signs that will be, needless to say, ignored due to the demands of the disaster film which regularly necessitates behavior so uncannily ill-considered that such persons would be declared mentally incompetent in a real-world court of law.

  To read the complete review, click the following link to:



About chandlerswainreviews

I've been a puppet, a pirate, a pauper, a poet, a pawn and a king, not necessarily in that order. My first major movie memory was being at the drive-in at about 1 1/2 yrs. old seeing "Sayonara" so I suppose an interest in film was inevitable. (For those scoring at home- good for you- I wasn't driving that evening, so no need to alert authorities.)Writer, critic and confessed spoiler of women, as I have a tendency to forget to put them back in the refrigerator. My apologies.
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3 Responses to Big Bang: “Krakatoa East of Java” (1969)

  1. If you just watch the last reel, it’s cool. Everything else is … well … silly. But I love the big blow up.

  2. beetleypete says:

    You sum it up very well. Of course, you usually do. I saw this at the cinema when I was 17, a time just before such huge disaster epics became even more popular. It was nonsense of course, and painful nonsense at times. (John Leyton, for example) However, it has stayed with me, for some unknown reason, and provided the correct answer to a clue in one of your recent film quizzes, if memory serves.
    In that case, seeing it did me some good, even though I had to wait almost 50 years to make use of it.
    Best wishes, Pete.

  3. jonman492000 says:

    Loved the review you did did not realy think much of movie but liked the score by frank de vol

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