Earthquake

Dir: Mark Robson, 1974. Starring: Charlton Heston, George Kennedy, Ava Gardner, Genevieve Bujold, Richard Roundtree. Action.

EarthquakeJump started by the success of the movie Airport in 1970, the “disaster movie” was a 1970’s cultural phenomenon, taking the soap-opera mold of Grand Hotel and putting a bunch of actors, ranging from big stars to has-beens all eager to cash their checks, into a dangerous situation with now cornball special effects. The best was The Poseidon Adventure and the biggest was The Towering Inferno (which inexplicably got a Best Picture Oscar nomination). But the most ambitiously awkward may’ve been Earthquake. The film was originally released extra loud in something called "Sensurround” and featured cameramen shaking cameras while Styrofoam bricks fell on extras. It was directed by Mark Robson (Valley of the Dolls) and written by Mario Puzo (yes, that’s right, Mario–the Godfather–Puzo, and he’s not the only major talent slumming here), though someone named George Fox also got a screenwriting credit as well, the only film for which he’s credited. Earthquake may not have been very good but as a cultural curiosity it’s fascinating, as a travelogue of mid-70s Los Angeles it’s invaluable, and as a piece of ridiculous pop-junk it’s totally entertaining.

The goofball introduction to the characters goes something like this... hunky architect Stewart Graff (Charlton Heston) is in a dead marriage to Remy (Ava Gardner) and having a boring affair with a young struggling actress, Denise (Genevieve Bujold, a sorta less sexy 70s version of Audrey Tautou), who is a single mom with an annoying son, Cory (the terrible actor but cool...

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Posted by:
Sean Sweeney
May 23, 2012 6:41pm
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