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Film / Crashing the Water Barrier

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Crashing the Water Barrier is a 1956 short film (9 minutes) directed by Konstantin Kaiser.

It is a documentary short typical of The Golden Age of Hollywood. Donald Campbell, a British daredevil who specialized in breaking speed records on land and on water, has arrived at Lake Mead for an attempt to break the water speed record. Campbell, who will be driving an experimental jet-powered speedboat called "Bluebird", will be attempting to complete two laps on the Lake Mead course at over 200 mph, a speed called the "water barrier" because, as the narration explains, attempts to power a boat that fast over water can well result in the destruction of the boat and the death of the pilot. (In fact, that's how Donald Campbell died in 1967 at the age of 45.)


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Tropes:

  • Cool Boat: A motorboat that can go 240 mph. How cool is that?
  • Documentary: A British guy with too much time on his hands attempts to drive a boat at 200 mph on the surface of Lake Mead.
  • Jitter Cam: A camera aboard Bluebird shows what it looks like to be inside a speedboat going over two hundred miles per hour. It looks very bouncy.
  • Narrator: No synchronized sound, but instead a narrator to explain the action.
  • Soft Water: Discussed Trope, and averted. As the narrator explains, at speeds of 200+ mph, water is "hard as steel".
  • Stock Footage: A brief stock clip of Campbell's father, Sir Malcolm Campbell, also a daredevil driver, shown racing on land.
  • Title Drop: There are many references to "crashing the water barrier" (that is, driving a motor boat at 200 mph and not dying).
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