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Saturday, October 8, 2016

Earthquake (1974)

When an early morning tremor shakes Los Angeles up a bit, a disparate group of characters play out their personal problems unaware that these problems will soon be dwarfed when L.A. is hit by an earthquake of catastrophic proportions! Okay, people who watch a movie like EARTHQUAKE aren't watching for a profound narrative, great acting or a witty script! They're watching because they want to see L.A. destroyed! On that level, the movie delivers and then some. Unfortunately, between the destructive set pieces, we're saddled with stock characters spouting cliched dialogue biding time until the next big shake! It's particularly upsetting to see Ava Gardner, one of the great film beauties of all time reduced to playing a shrieking harridan. It's not the kind of film where the acting matters much but even so, there's no excuse for a performance as bad as Marjoe Gortner as a whacked out National Guardsman. Poor Genevieve Bujold bears the brunt of the worst dialogue (she looks like she wants to parody her lines and who could blame her?). But it's big and loud and fun in a sadistic way especially if you live in or know Los Angeles. To the film's credit, its downbeat ending is a nice change of pace from the usual heroics. Directed by Mark Robson. With Charlton Heston, Walter Matthau, George Kennedy, Lorne Greene, Richard Roundtree, Lloyd Nolan, Victoria Principal, Monica Lewis and Barry Sullivan.

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