EARTHQUAKE (director: Mark Robson; screenwriters: George Fox/ Mario Puzo; cinematographer: Philip H. Lathrop; editor: Dorothy Spencer; music: John Williams; cast: Charlton Heston (Stewart Graff), George Kennedy (Lou Slade), Genevieve Bujold (Denise Marshall), Richard Roundtree (Miles Quade), Victoria Principal (Rose), Marjoe Gortner (Jody), Lorne Greene (Sam Royce), Ava Gardner (Remy Graff), Barry Sullivan (Dr Willis Stockle), Lloyd Nolan (Dr Vance), Walter Matthau (Drunk), John Randolph (Mayor Lewis), Monica Lewis (Barbara), Victoria Principal (Rosa Amici); Runtime: 142; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Mark Robson; MCA Universal Home Video; 1974)
“One of those big-budget splashy special effects disaster movies.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
One of those big-budget splashy special effects disaster movies, filled with gimmicks, cardboard B film stock characters and awful hokum stories. It’s directed on auto pilot by Mark Robson(“Edge of Doom”/”The Prize”/”The Harder They Fall”), who wishes to get on screen what a major earthquake would look like if it hit LA. Writers George Fox and Mario Puzo throw into the mix lame soap opera stories about surviving the catastrophe. Because of the lush production and the public’s fascination for watching train wrecks, it has value as diverting entertainment for the masses. The result is a big box office hit.
When it was released in theaters, it was shown in “Sensurround.” That’s a new type of sound system which made theaters appear to shake during the quake sequences. Thankfully watching it on DVD at home was not part of the viewing experience.
The film’s highlights include the stunt-doubles and stars such as Charlton Heston, Ava Gardner, Lorne Greene, Richard Roundtree, George Kennedy, Genevieve Bujold, Victoria Principal, Walter Matthau, Marjoe Gortner bearing the brunt of the earthquake while either falling out of broken windows or getting swept down cold water tunnels. There’s plenty of shots of crumbling skyscrapers, bursting dams and landslides to keep you occupied during its over 2 hour length.
Earthquake fittingly received a “Special Achievement Award for Visual Effects.”
REVIEWED ON 4/1/2015 GRADE: C+
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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