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Yes, this is the typical 70's all-star disaster flick. Though this one was made in 1980. This one, however, was not a hit. When "The Towering Inferno" was in theaters, it made over 100 million at the box office. When this one was at theaters, it made less than 2 million. Part of the problem is that it doesn't look much like a movie for the theater. In fact, when I first saw it, I thought it was a made for television movie. I think most of the budget in this one went to the stars, and not nearly enough went into special effects. The story in this one is typical of a volcano movie as it has someone trying to warn people that the volcano is going to erupt. Of course no one believes them and then an eruption occurs. We have people getting fried, and a select group trying to head for safety. Along the way they have to cross a bridge, and it turns out there is someone who has a special ability to be put in use here like the character in "The Poseidon Adventure" who was an excellent swimmer. This one has some good qualities though and if you have nothing else to do it may be worth a look-see, but it is definitely nothing special.
- 2/5 STARS -
The operator of a tropical hotel conceals the mounting threat of the island's active volcano when his laissez-faire partner and a renegade oilman start asking questions. When the volcano finally blows its top, a small group of hotel residents make a dangerous trek to higher ground, but not all will survive as the peak spews smoke, fire, and lava across the island.
This relaxed disaster movie signals the end of the first Golden Age of Disaster movies. It is appropriate, then, that it was produced by Irwin Allen and recycles a variety of cliches that spanned the seventies. When Paul Newman and Jacqueline Bisset start sipping wine on the beach with the volcano in the distance, for example, we know to start counting the minutes until the mountain blows.
With both Paul Newman and William Holden playing roles very similar to those in "The Towering Inferno", it isn't difficult to draw parallels between the two movies. "The Towering Inferno", however, was a unique project involving a joint venture between two studios, a huge budget, an all-star cast, and a blockbuster script culled from the best elements of two popular novels. Does When Time Ran Out represent what we should expect from Irwin Allen when all of the cards AREN'T stacked in his favor?
When Time Ran Out harkens back to the drama-heavy days of the original Airport, with a web of infidelity that will make your head spin. Battle lines are quickly drawn between the defensive developer of the island (Franciscus) and a renegade oil driller (Newman) who believes the mountain is, as he puts it, `a powder keg.'
Occasional visits to the volcano's crater provide distraction while the relationships between the characters are cultivated for the disaster. The oilman stirs up trouble when he wants to see for himself that the mountain is safe before drilling in a high-pressure oilfield. However, it's just ridiculous to think that his inspection would involve stepping into a laughable protective capsule and being lowered inside the smoldering volcano. Naturally, the capsule--with a glass floor!--experiences a series of unexplained malfunctions that send him hurtling towards bubbling lava at the bottom of the crater.
It's the kind of special effect that Irwin Allen was famous for from his television days on The Time Tunnel and elsewhere. But the silver screen requires a much greater level of believability than is needed by television. When Time Ran Out contains some of the worst effects in the history of the genre--images which aren't even acceptable for the SMALL screen. What happened to the Master of Disaster?
When Time Ran Out is heavy on talk before the volcano erupts, but the runaway action we were expecting during the buildup simply never arrives. Only two action sequences occur with the Newman followers, and they both involve a large group of people taking a very long time to cross a treacherous path to safety. It's a snooze-fest all around.
The special effects are ho-hum, even though Irwin Allen attempts to diversify the experience with flaming meteors fired from the volcano and a tidal wave that inexplicably levels part of the same island whose shock wave created it! They're not enough. Most of the visuals are clearly pre-existing volcano footage placed on a chroma-key in front of the actors. And the rest of the eruption footage appears to be poorly executed post-production animation.
The lush tropical setting is a refreshing change of pace for most disaster movies, and Jacqueline Bisset and Paul Newman try their best to keep things classy. But an unnecessary cock fight in the village and a preposterous laboratory perched on the rim of the volcano immediately suggest that this movie needs a dose of reality--and adrenalin. The first Golden Age of Disaster Movies closes with this whimper as `time runs out'-- on the genre.
I faithfully watch When Time Ran Out every time it comes on television, and
am never bored by it. I had no idea it was such a terrible movie until I
read these reviews on IMDB. Sigh...reviewers can be so cruel. At least now I
know that I have bad taste in movies so you can stop reading this now if you
There are a lot of familiar faces in the cast and they do a good job. This is my favorite Paul Newman movie by the way. (But to be honest I don't watch many Paul Newman movies.) Edward Albert is also great in it, and even though his role is too small, he does get to be heroic but don't blink or you will miss those moments. The women aren't given too much to do but aint that always the way it goes. Sigh again... I did like Veronica Hamel's little bitty role. She was classy but stupid. Should have hooked up with Edward Albert.
This movie is a great soap opera with love, betrayal, danger, greed, and a dastardly villain. Oh, and the way some of the characters die is kinda funny. Sort of like every other disaster movie from the 70's and early 80's. So cut it a little slack why don't you.
I am relatively indifferent to most action movies but I am willing to make
an exception in this case. I was strongly attracted to the multiple
personal stories and thus cared a lot about which of these fictional
characters survived and which perished. Thus, I am surprised by the cold
reception given this film by many writers, both amateur and professional.
The characters were all carefully developed, quite an accomplishment for a
movie that tells so many personal stories. Examples: We have a ratfink
male whose greed gets lots of people killed. He doubles as one third of a
love triangle involving two ladies with plenty of misplaced loyalty and
little common sense. We have a reluctant hero who leads many to safety.
have a retired tightrope walker whose former trade will be put to good use
before almost everything melts away in the finale. We are treated to the
complex relationship between a gentleman crook and his pursuer; the former
risks his own survival by going out of his way to render assistance when
latter becomes disabled. A lot of the characters are caught participating
in a sadistic cockfight when all hell breaks loose. What happens to most
them before the movie is over seems like a severe penalty, even for
Hollywood first realized the merits of multiple plot movies with the introduction of "[Vicki Baum's] Grand Hotel", circa 1932. This pattern has since been followed many times, usually successfully. Examples: "Stagecoach", "The Bridge of San Luis Rey", "Airport", "[Arthur Hailey's] Hotel", "Lone Star", "The Big Chill" and "Matewan". I believe that those responsible for "When Time Ran Out..." also did an excellent job of multiple character development and I loved every minute of it.
An active volcano threatens a south Pacific island resort and its
guests as a power struggle ensues between the property's developer ,
James Franciscus , and a drilling foreman , Paul Newman . Molten lava
and explosion spread across the island . As an all-star cast is on the
run when Mother Nature blows her top .
Exciting film about a volcanic eruption threatens a Pacific island that packs blasts , thrills , overwhelming scenes of blowing up , suspense , excessive talking and turns out to be slightly entertaining . Allen's shameless rehash of all his disaster film clichés set on a Pacific island in which time never seems to run out , as a video version runs 141 minutes . Disastrous catastrophe movie in which lacks characterization , being an immense bore . Lousy screenplay by the prestigious Carl Foreman and Stirling Silliphant ; both of whom were presumably well paid . This formula intrigue movie belongs to catastrophe genre of the 70s , being the undisputed king , ¨The towering inferno¨ along with ¨Earthquake¨ , ¨Two minutes warning¨ and many others ; this formula disaster movie was widely developed by Irwin Allen , previously winner of numerous Oscars for ¨Poseidon¨ until the failures as ¨Beyond Poseidon¨, ¨Swarm¨ and this ¨When the time ran out¨ , retitled ¨Earth's final fury¨ . Filmed at the height of the disaster genre from the 7os , this entry in the spectacular series profits of an all-star though really wasted and a suspenseful final that takes place at a bridge surrounded by molten lava . The bridge was 30 feet above the stage, with smoke bombs and light flashes used to simulate the lava. Main cast carries out average acting such as Paul Newman , Jacqueline Bisset and William Holden , he was hospitalized for six days during production to treat his alcoholism after director James Goldstone convinced producer Irwin Allen that Holden was a danger to himself and others in the cast. Furthermore , a top-notch secondary casting such as Valentina Cortese , Barbara Carrera , Veronica Hamel , Alex Karras , Burgess Meredith , Red Buttons , James Franciscus , Pat Morita and Ernest Borgnine . Ernest Borgnine claims in his memoirs that the reason why the film's special effects were so cheap looking was that the huge amount spent on location shooting absorbed what was usually spent on FX. Many actors were all under contract with Irwin Allen, and appear in this film to void their contracts.
Colorful and gripping photography in Panavision by Fred J. Koenekamp . Intriguing and thrilling score by Lalo Schifrin in his usual style . This big-budgeted disaster movie was middlingly directed by James Goldstone ; this was final feature film of Goldstone . He was a director and writer, known for Scalplock (1966) , ¨Jigsaw¨ ,¨A Man Called Gannon¨ , ¨They Only Kill Their Masters¨ , ¨Red sky at morning¨ , ¨Winning" or "500 miles" and ¨Swashbuckler¨ . Goldstone was also an ordinary TV movies director and subsequently made another catastrophe film , Roller-coaster (1977), much better than the disastrous and monumental bore ¨When time ran out¨ .
Another funny film by Irwin Allen. This one is a hoot to watch. I really like the blue screen effect whenever the lava is shown--lol. If it has Shelia Matthews in the cast, you can be sure that it is going to be a funny film, especially if it is a drama. The ending with the volcano is hilarious--I did not know that volcanos could shoot a fireball that far away and still hit the target head-on!! Impressive. Sort of like scenes from "Bird of Paradise" meets "Diamond Head" were taken and spliced together and then had a few more ingredients added. All that was missing was the sacrificial virgin--but then, maybe that is why the volcano exploded--LOL. Not a movie to be missed for laughs!!
i wish this movie was available on DVD. it's one of those that makes
you laugh hysterically - it is so bad. interestingly enough, airplane
came out the same year - obviously, the time was more than ripe.
i've been laughing out loud just reading the forum about this catastrophic masterpiece. i almost forgot some of the gory details (including the science lab perched at the edge of the volcano lip).
i saw it as a teenager behind the iron curtain, freshly dubbed into czech in the early eighties. it was such a treat i had to go see it twice.
are you guys sure this movie was intended to be taken seriously?
(well, i used to think the independence day was a subtle spoof that made fun of self- declared u.s.a. greatness, but people are telling me otherwise. i still enjoy it, though.)
In my rankings of Newman's output, this is rock bottom. I'm a big fan and my heart goes out to the man, retrospectively, because he will have known from day one that he had become embroiled in the turkey of all turkeys. Almost every aspect of the film is woeful. The set, the melodrama, the 2-dimensional characters, the frankly appalling acting from almost everyone. Newman stands head an shoulders above the others, but even he looks uncomfortable the whole way through as cliché is piled on cliché. Do you know, the climax is an interminable crossing a wooden bridge over a lava flow with people falling through slats and every other predictable event you can imagine. But the funniest moment is after that when the survivors are in a cave and one of the female bit parts is standing there as if she's at a cocktail party. They must have all have been giving up by then.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
You would think the setup of a volcano blowing up at a remote, yet
crowded location, leaving a handful of survivors to fend for themselves
until they can be safely rescued would be a good one. Unfortunately,
this movie shows just how poorly that premise can be executed.
The plot - what there is of it - centers around a resort hotel located close to a picturesque, and supposedly dormant volcano. The hotel is owned by successful businessman, Shelby Gilmore (William Holden), and his greedy son-in-law, Bob Spangler (James Franciscus). Gilmore is openly disapproving of Spangler, since he suspects that Spangler has only married his daughter, Nikki (Veronica Hammel), in order to become his business partner, and get his money. Gilmore's disapproval is justified by Spangler's affair with native Iolani (Barbara Carrera). The other natives of the island, those who don't work at the hotel, seem to spend their time either cockfighting, or drinking at a bar owned by Sam (Pat Morita) and Mona (sheila Allen, Irwin's wife, a little nepotism here?). Gilmore is interested in Kay Kirby (Jacqueline Bisset), who is in turn interested in oil driller, Hank Henderson (Paul Newman). When the ground starts rumbling during drilling, Henderson suspects their may be a problem with the supposedly dormant volcano, so he goes to talk to the scientists who work at a lab precariously perched on the lip of the volcano. While there, Henderson goes into the volcano in a gondola to inspect it, and nearly gets dropped into the lava. Somehow, he is able to see that eruption is imminent, even though the head of the lab, John Webster (John Considine), doesn't. Spangler doesn't want to cause a panic, or lose money, so he refuses to evacuate the hotel. While Henderson and Kirby are on a picnic, the volcano blows up, causing a tidal wave which wipes out half the island, including the cockfighting population. The hotel guests are in a panic when Henderson and Kirby arrive back there, as the volcano is spewing lava bombs at them. Once again, Spangler refuses to evacuate, and encourages the guests to sit tight. A small group, which includes a private eye (Ernest Borgnine) and the thief he is trying to catch (Red Buttons), and a retired high wire walker (Burgess Meredith) and his wife (Valentina Cortese), decides to follow Henderson to higher ground to get away from the lava, and we follow them for most of the rest of the movie, with a break to watch the hotel get destroyed by a surprisingly accurate lava bomb.
Clear as mud, right. The writers tried to cram so many subplots into the movie that the result is a tangled mess. It's hard to tell who is who, much less who is involved with whom. And that makes it hard to develop a sense of concern about their well being. You watch so many gratuitous characters die throughout the course of the movie that you are too numb to react to the deaths of the important ones. Simplifying things somewhat would not only have shortened a movie that seems tediously long, but it would have helped to keep the viewer focused on the important characters.
The writing also has a contrived feel to it, relying so heavily on clichés that it becomes unintentionally comical. We have not one, but two love triangles. In addition, we have a noble thief, who helps the cop out when he becomes disabled. Then there's the rickety bridge over the river of lava, which, of course, gives way before everyone gets over it. There are two deaths by falling into the lava, one by heart attack, and one by falling onto hard rock. There are two foolish children who become so frightened that they run away, and must be rescued. And there just happens to be an aerialist around when you need one. All in all, it adds up to a bit much to swallow.
The science of the movie is laughably bad. Oil is unlikely to be found near a volcano, active or dormant, and you wouldn't drill near a volcano, because the release of pressure would cause the volcano to erupt. A volcano is not a mountain with a shaft in the top that leads down to a lake of lava. If a fissure like that opened up, the volcano would simply erupt because the pressure forcing the magma up would be greater than the pressure holding it down. If the volcano caused a tidal wave, chances are it would head away from the island, rather than heading back to it. And then there's the lab at the lip of the volcano. Who in their right mind would build a lab in such a place, much less work at it? Volcano observatories are usually safely away from the lava flow, not right in the path of it. It just doesn't make sense.
The effects were horribly cheesy, and the cinematography was just awful. Who thought it would be a good idea to have an actress in a red dress fall into a red river of lava? All you see are her head, hands, and feet while she tumbles into the lava.
With the kind of star power assembled in the cast, one would think that the acting would at least be decent, but in truth, the entire cast seems embarrassed to have been involved in the project, delivering their lines with a kind of sheepishness that makes the movie seem all the more embarrassing.
All in all a bad movie, but oddly enough, it can be enjoyable if you're willing to suspend disbelief to a great degree, and lower your expectations. If you don't take it seriously, it can be an amusing little diversion.
WHEN TIME RAN OUT
is a silly, superficial and often cheesy coda to the
cycle of disaster movies produced by Irwin Allen in the 1970s. As a
huge fan of disaster movies, I found myself enjoying this film a lot,
even if everything that happens has been done before and better. This
film sees an all-star cast menaced by a volcano on an Pacific island,
and you can pretty much guess every plot point along the way if you've
seen any of Allen's other, earlier, better disaster flicks.
Still, you can't say that Allen doesn't try his best it's just that the budget (or lack of it) lets him down this time around. The volcano itself is a silly little miniature, the rivers of lava are back-projected nonsense, and the final 'disaster' scene at the hotel is so poor as to beggar belief. Even ignoring the below-par special effects, this film takes the biscuit. Although it's notably shorter than the likes of THE TOWERING INFERNO, it takes half the running time for the volcano to actually blow, and until that point we have lots of cheesy dialogue scenes involving romance between uninteresting characters.
Thankfully, things really get going once the disaster hits home as Allen throws tsunamis, explosions, cliffslides and whatnot into the mix. Twinkly-eyed Paul Newman is on hand, thankfully, to take charge and act all manfully, although he's up against a scheming James Franciscus as the island resort's owner who'll stop at nothing to protect his investments. Also caught up in the mix are the usual stereotypes: doting (or should that be dotty) old timers (step forward, Burgess Meredith); hard-timers (Ernest Borgnine in his umpteenth disaster outing), youthful beauties (Barbara Carrera and Jacqueline Bisset, the latter looking a bit off) and even a few ethnic types too (Pat Morita, going Chinese). Much of the resultant running time follows Newman's group as they scramble for safety, evading dangers along the way.
It's no surprise as to who lives or dies, but the 'obstacle' scenes are great fun, especially the extended 'bridge crossing' which makes up the film's climax. And I'll never tire of those ultra-cheesy 'falling into lava' shots which are repeated at various intervals. It's just a shame that the volcano itself only has coming of a cameo appearance in the movie, and that the characters are never menaced by ash clouds or falling lumps of pumice now that would have been something to see!
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