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Hey, I don't know why folks are being so unkind to this modern American classic. It's a Roger Corman production, after all! I mean, it doesn't pretend to be a statement of man's inhumanity to man, like The Towering Inferno or The Poseidon Adventure does. I found this to be an unpretentious, atmospheric (late 70s Mork & Mindy down vests, shaggy disco hair), and efficient disaster pic. No enormous cast of moneygrubbing hasbeen actors weighting it down-- just a bunch of bearded ski instructors and feathered-hair ski bunnies to bury beneath mountains of styrofoam boulders. Plus, it's a brisk 90 minutes. I liked the wintery atmosphere and could swear I spotted Eric Heiden having a drink at the bar. 6/10.
I love disaster films, even the bad ones, but this one is completely
horrible. From the acting to the special effects this one is crap. The
script is laughable and the whole affair is absolutely boring. The
"Avalanche" doesn't happen till around the hour mark and all we get
till then is totally blinding boredom. Mia and Rock barely have
anything to do (god knows why they actually did the movie), Robert
Forester is hot but the character is bland, and Jeanette Nolan is under
used in the only entertaining role in the flick. The rest of the cast
are forgettable and not all that all-star. The action is contrived and
"special effects" are for the most part low-budget 70's-ish.
This movie would make a great sleep aid. It's bad, not enjoyably bad, just bad. It's bland and pointless. Skip if at all possible.
Checking in rather late, though not at the tail end, in the 1970's disaster movie cycle, this Roger Corman cheapie is only entertaining in fits and starts. Hudson (looking ragged and drunk at times) has just built a huge winter paradise in the mountains of Colorado. His ex-wife (Farrow) comes to the opening, for old times sake, while employee Forster foresees danger in the snow caps. Hudson's mother (Nolan, in a white fright wig) wines and dines with abandon. There are also trite and annoying plot threads about a studly skier, a TV show host (Primus) and his unfaithful wife and a nervous ice skater. Aside from having less than stunning production values, the film's main problem is that it takes an hour for the title event to occur and then races through all the resultant carnage with choppy editing and distorted timing. The viewer must endure a shabby, clichéd script and some bad acting while waiting for the Styrofoam chunks and plastic snow to may their way down the hill. Hudson is bad. He barks and yells inappropriately when he isn't wooden. Farrow looks idiotic much of the time and is completely mismatched with Hudson. (She learned nothing from this experience as she was soon to film the disastrous "Hurricane", another career killer. Thankfully, for her, Woody Allen was just around the corner!) Forster actually outshines the others with his charm and conviction in a thankless part. Nolan shamelessly hams up her role in a desperate attempt to add life to the often dull proceedings. She is funny, but not always in the way intended. Primus had worked for Corman before, so he should have known what he was in for. On the plus side, there are a few hooty lines of dialogue and some unintentionally hilarious, overwrought, emotional scenes among the lesser players. Also, a few of the ice and snow effects and destruction scenes are solid (most, however, are shoddy.) One hilarious scene has a skater spinning obliviously while snow encompasses her. In another, folks digging a hole out of an enclosed lodge keep knocking against the rubber "snow" so that it springs back! Then there's the rescue workers who, after witnessing an electrocution, allow the victim to fall onto the ground instead of into their net, which is right under him! There's also an ambulance door that apparently flies open simply by leaning against it. One distinction: This has to be the only 1970's disaster film that has nudity. Hudson (in a bid to reinforce his heterosexual image?) has a secretary that walks around his chalet naked! If the film had spent a half hour getting to know the people and an hour rescuing them (instead of the opposite), it might have been more entertaining. The way it stands, viewers wind up not really liking the characters and can barely keep up with the rescues!
I lived in Durango, CO when they filmed this movie. This
it all that much funnier. You cannot take this movie seriously.
The avalanche is actually fan blown styrofoam. Half the mountains pictured in the movie, don't actually exist.
If you are a Durango resident, watch this movie for kicks. If not, don't even bother, you're better off watching the weeds grow.
This is a perfect movie for Mystery Science Theater 3000.
I am a bit embarrassed to admit I was in this movie. A bit, but, hey I
had fun filming & was paid pretty well. Actually I was several scenes.
I was a student at Fort Lewis majoring in Theater. Our troupe was
invited to audition to be paid extras. It was spring break & I was
earning money for my upcoming wedding. Not bad pay for a college
The snow and cold was real. It snowed the whole time we did any outdoor scenes. A fun mess when you add shredded plastic, Styrofoam boulders, and huge wind fans.
I lived in the area for quite a while & I too find this movie funny. I love the scene when Rock Hudson walks over to a window and states when he saw that mountain he knew he had to live there. That mountain is nowhere near Durango. As for the avalanche, well lets just say it is very hard for an avalanche to travel up mountain. But this one did to start at Tammeron and end up wiping out Purgatory mountain (now known as Durango mountain). Very funny stuff if you are from the area.
In the original credits Fort Lewis College Theater Department was listed but I see we are not here. As I was the only member to stick around during th break to work on the movie I must say I am disappointed but not surprised.
One of the premieres were held in Durango. I was not as pleased with the final product as I was when we filmed. We never saw the whole script so the movie was very different from what we were told. But all in all a good time and a not as bad as it could have been film. Wish I could say I went on to better movies but I went on to be a full time mommy and wife.
If you ever lived in the area it is a fun watch. You will see bloopers in things others will never notice.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Fun and entertaining low-budget disaster epic produced by the king of
low-budget, Roger Corman (His style: Light, and get away...). Obviously
made on the heels of disaster blockbusters like The Poseidon Adventure,
The Towering Inferno, and Earthquake, Avalanche is a pretty standard
disaster film -- it gathers a large number of broadly portrayed
characters to a location, then proceeds to put them into deadly peril.
But since this is Corman, we don't have the big-name cast here -- the
biggest name is Rock Hudson, not exactly Heston or Newman, but you work
with what you got. The special effects are cheap but effective -- they
may be double exposures, stock footage, and Styrofoam blocks but the
editing is tight and the shots are generally well composed. The acting
is middle of the road, TV melodrama kinda stuff, but wholly serviceable
for the genre. Plus, at about 90 minutes, it doesn't ever drag on --
Corman's efficiency at work. And watch for a scene involving a pot of
soup which is downright hilarious.
This film really deserves a 6, but it made me smile, and was original enough (there's not that many disaster films out there about avalanches, after all!) for me to grant that extra point. If you like disaster films, then check out Avalanche.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
New World Pictures added additional scenes to a Japanese disaster movie, and released "Tidal Wave." Then they released a documentary on disasters titled, "Catastrophe." New World Pictures was ready to add its own disaster movie to the genre in 1978. That movie was "Avalanche," and the cast included Rock Hudson, Mia Farrow, Robert Forster, and Jeanette Nolan. Possible SPOILERS ahead: Rock Hudson plays David Shelby, the owner of a new resort hosting festivities, and winter sporting competitions. Mia Farrow's character is his ex-wife, Caroline Brace, coming for a visit. He wants them to get back together again, but she is unsure. Caroline finds the company of Robert Forster's character appealing, and a love triangle develops. Disaster strikes when an avalanche hits the resort, ski slopes, and ice skating arena. "Avalanche" suffers from its low budget. Some interior scenes are very darkly lit. Most of the avalanche special effects looked unconvincing; especially the blue screen avalanche effects. Stock footage of avalanches are unconvincingly added to try to spruce things up. There are even times when the snow flakes look fake. The script offers several silly instances of drama before the avalanche strikes, and some of the dialogue is dreadful. The ending is absurd with Rock Hudson and Mia Farrow having a champagne toast after his mother (Jeanette Nolan), and many other people have died from the disaster. The film presents characters in danger, but doesn't really create suspense. Rock Hudson's character is mostly unappealing, because he's constantly angry and shouting at people through the course of the story's first day. Most of the acting is passable, but there are some minor characters (the television crew, the secretary, etc.) that are badly acted. Robert Forester does a fine performance. Rock Hudson seemed to overact a bit. The score is effective in giving the film an isolated feeling. "Avalanche" is not a terrible film; it's more mediocre, but I don't think too many people would enjoy it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"AVALANCHE" is definitely one of the weaker entries into the 'disaster'
genre that populated the 70's and early 80's. A cast of fading actors and
the "who's that?" of Hollywood headline this atrocious production that
delivers more laughs than anything.
Following the formula of its preceding disaster foes, "AVALANCHE" combines interwoven plot-lines involving love affairs and the disaster itself. Thrown into this sorry melange are Rock Hudson, Robert Forster, Mia Farrow and 50's silver screen star, Jeanette Nolan.
In "AVALANCHE", Rock Hudson is David Shelby - a well-meaning but extremely foolish ski-resort owner who has ignored all warnings from environmentalists in building a new ski-resort while removing all the trees in the process which spells the perfect recipe for disaster. Robert Forster is the environmentalist who warns Hudson that removing all the trees from the mountain will result in causing deadly avalanches. Mia Farrow is Hudson's ex-wife, new love interest to Forster and Jeanette Nolan is Hudson's flighty mother who likes nothing more than a Bloody Mary to sip on every five minutes.
Also thrown into this sordid tale are further cardboard cut-out characters including a champion skiier who is hell-bent on bedding as many women as he can before the screen credits go up and his jilted lover (wonderfully portrayed by Cathy Paine) who hams it up in a campy performance that involves her threatening to slice his cheating 'ass' with a butter knife before having a cup of milk thrown onto her as she falls to the floor screaming hysterically.
Rock Hudson in his early 50's (his first foray into the 'disaster' genre) appears like a disheveled modern-day version of William Shatner. Spending precious minutes on-screen wearing nothing but turtle-necks and begging Mia Farrow to 'come back' to him, he looks quite ridiculous in a role that was intended for someone in their 30's as Mia Farrow is only about 33 years old at the time this movie was made. Much like "EARTHQUAKE" where Charlton Heston was courting a young Genevieve Bujold and "THE CASSANDRA CROSSING" where Ava Gardner was shagging a youthful Martin Sheen, the love affair in this movie is quite unbelievable.
Robert Forster, fresh off his canceled television stint in the short-lived 1974 "NAKIA", proves a credible character as an environmentalist who foresees the inevitable disaster, yet cannot convince a soul to believe or listen to him. As a result, the second plot line enters and we see him and Mia Farrow sharing a love scene together.
Jeanette Nolan in all of her faded beauty, spends most of her screen time either getting drunk on a Bloody Mary or hamming it up as the 'ever-loving mother' who travels everywhere with her gay companion.
The setting is Hudson's ski resort. Everyone is there for the grand opening which also includes some ridiculous mini Winter-Olympics festivities which has several hundred people either cross-country skiing, down-hill skiing, ski-dooing or watching the skating events and of course, what better day would there be to have a disaster than on this particular day?
The biggest laughs here of course is the disaster itself. In reality, there is nothing the slightest bit amusing about an avalanche, but while watching this movie, you can't for a second take it seriously. A huge snow wedge hangs over the resort, loosely hanging on a snow-capped mountain that is broken off once a small charter plane crashes into it. Once the avalanche starts, the laughter begins. Stock footage of avalanches are spliced onto the film (you can tell by the grainy imagery and the totally different mountain ranges). The snow itself is nothing more than a smoke-machine adjusted to 'fast forward' and huge blocks of styrofoam that are hurled through the air and bounce off the victims as they try to run away.
One particular hilarious scene involves a skater who is still spinning pirouettes on the ice as the avalanche engulfs her and the crowd (like she couldn't hear or see the avalanche coming until it was about one foot away from her?). Another hilarious scene would involve a 'gas' explosion inside the resort that is nothing more than a 'puff of smoke' that sends one chef flying backwards into some shelves and an unlucky female that goes sliding along a counter while knocking off bowls of food onto the floor. But the one scene that really killed me was seeing the 'animated sparks' that flash from the broken gear box that controls the ski-lift. We actually get to see this twice during a climatic scene involving a man and a child dangling from a broken ski-life. Here, rescue workers scramble to rescue the child using a safety net below, yet the man that is left dangling spends about three minutes complaining that he cannot 'let go' and when he finally does (as a result of getting electrocuted), his lifeless body misses the safety net anyway!
Furthermore, back in town as the ambulances and rescue workers are dispatched from their outposts, it just goes to show that if the avalanche didn't kill you, then these silly fools just might. In a totally ridiculous scene, ambulances and fire trucks spin out of control as they skid across the icy roads, causing serious fender-benders and sending one poor by-stander into a store-front window in a shower of shattering glass.
Unfortunately, the person who I felt sorry for the most was Jeanette Nolan. Once she gets trapped inside the hotel resort with her 'companion', it takes her no longer than five minutes to go into hysterics and play the "We're all going to die!" card as she digs at the snow with a chair. Then she starts to lose her mind as she plays the "We go back a long way..." card with her companion as she strikes the keys of a busted up grand piano, warbling a few notes of a song long forgotten. On top of that, she passes out just as Hudson and Forster make their way into the resort from the outside. After she has been resuscitated and placed into the back of an ambulance, she and Mia Farrow are driven to the hospital by some suicidal maniac who insists on doing wheelies on black ice and devastated terrain that results in the ambulance crashing through a bridge and into a chasm, Farrow managing to fall out of the car in time but leaving Nolan and the driver to meet a fiery death as the car explodes at the bottom of the chasm.
The climatic and grand finale scene of the film involves Mia Farrow hanging off the broken bridge railing and Hudson and Forster coming to her rescue. And when the day finally rolls to its end, Hudson and Farrow toast to the past events with a bottle of Champagne!!! Timeless!
If you want to see a scene involving Jeanette Nolan doing her best 'Saturday Night Fever' impression on the dance floor, then this is the movie for you. If you want to see a pandemonium scene involving screaming victims getting hailed with styrofoam blocks, then this is the movie for you. However, if you want to see a half-decent disaster movie, then "AVALANCHE" is not the movie for you. The only thing that really separates "AVALANCHE" from the rest of the disaster entries are the few nude scenes that are thrown in involving a woman baring her breasts and buttocks in a 'steamy' pool scene that really does nothing much for the movie itself.
This has got to be one of the stupidest movies that I have ever seen!
My rating - 2 out of 10
Hey, someone had to die of a little snow in the 70s..it was bound to happen.
If whatever hack made this hadn't bothered, Irwin Allen would have..but to
give credit where credit is due, Allen would have cast this better. Even if
the movie stunk to high heaven (hello, 'The Swarm'), at least there were
enough stars to keep you from falling asleep.
Also to give credit where it is due, there is some really beautiful cinematography, especially in outdoor shots of Mia Farrow swimming and another scene of a skier trying to outdistance an avalanche is shot very well.
However, once the cast starts talking, the groans can begin. Rock Hudson and Mia Farrow seem like they wouldn't even converse at a cocktail party; they are from different cinematic solar systems and should not have been paired here at all, even if they are a divorced couple. Robert Forster is semi-interesting as an predictable love interest for Mia and an ecologist who can predict the entire movie in his first scenes if only the screenplay had allowed him.
Impatient action fans - tune in one hour after it started to see the extras get killed. Before that is alot of drama, and after that is the rescue, and that's all, folks.
Avalanche is, quite simply, the WORST movie I've ever seen.
The plot is dreadful, the script horrendous, the acting pathetic.
I remember quite clearly that the patterns on the wall of the cinema were more interesting to look at than this piece of trash.
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