Construction Engineer Stuart Graff is estranged from his jealously possessive wife, Remy, and has an affair with Denise Marshall, the widow of a co-worker. Meanwhile, Remy tries to persuade her father, Sam Royce, who is Stuart's employer, to use his influence to stop Stuart from seeing Denise. Rogue policeman Lew Slade is suspended from the L.A.P.D. for having punched an obtuse officer from another jurisdiction. Embittered, Slade contemplates quitting the police force. Jody, a perverted grocery store manager, lusts after Rosa Amici, sister of Sal, the assistant to Miles Quade, an aspiring daredevil motor cyclist. The lives of all these people are devastated when a major earthquake rips through Los Angeles and reduces the city to ruins.Written by
Kevin McCorry <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Ava Gardner surprised Director Mark Robson by insisting that she do her own stunt work, including dodging blocks of concrete and heavy steel pipes. See more »
Rosa takes out her billfold twice at the market. See more »
This is a precautionary evacuation. We repeat. There is no present danger of the dam collapsing. Move to high ground west of Highland Avenue and north of Franklin. It is a precautionary evacuation. We repeat. This is a precautionary evacuation.
See more »
For the initial network television showing broadcast on NBC in September 1976, additional footage was shot to lengthen the film in order to show it over two nights. The most extensive segment of new footage is a subplot of a newlywed couple (Debralee Scott and Sam Chew Jr.) on a flight to Los Angleles so the husband can interview for a job with Stuart Graff (Charlton Heston). The plane tries to land as the earthquake hits, but the pilots are able to regain control and fly away before the runway breaks up. Other significant segments are new scenes with Jody (Marjoe Gortner) and Rosa (Victoria Principal), which establish Jody's obsession with Rosa, as well as one short scene in a pawn shop with Buck (Jesse Vint) and Hank (Michael Richardson), who play Marjoe's roommates in the theatrical version. Contrary to popular belief, these additional scenes were *not* "leftover" footage from the original 1974 theatrical release. Rather, the footage was filmed almost two years later by NBC to expand the film. These additional scenes were shot without the original director Mark Robson, who opted out, (in fact, he loathed the additional scenes), but they were shot with Universal's approval. In addition, two deleted scenes originally shot for the theatrical release were re-inserted into the television version, including a narrative opening about the San Andreas Fault, as well as a scene of Rosa brushing off a guy (Reb Brown) trying to give her a ride on his motorcycle. Incidentally, the version frequently running on the American cable channel "American Movie Classics" is the television version, and not the original theatrical version. See more »
Middle of the road disaster movie attempt has all the elements, but just misses the right tone needed to assure the momentum for a two-hour shakedown. Heston (hot on the heels of "Skyjacked" and moments away from "Airport 1975") and Gardner are beyond their prime in roles perhaps better suited to younger performers, nevertheless, there is ample youth displayed in Marjoe Gortner playing an unhinged national guardsman taking his duty far too seriously, Richard Roundtree riding the "Shaft" wave as a self-styled Evel Kneivel, and beauties Genevieve Bujold and Victoria Principal in shallow, supporting roles.
The story revolves around the destruction of Los Angeles following a series of tremors, claiming the lives of many of the cast and sparing some who probably should have perished. Lorne Greene plays Ava Gardner's dad (apparently he was 4 or 5 when she was conceived), Barry Sullivan is a seismologist, and for some unknown reason Walter Matthau plays a barfly who's too sozzled to know what's happening when the big one razes the bar (so to speak). There's the usual solar system worth of stars and character actors in varying roles ranging from George Kennedy as an LAPD cop with plenty on his plate, to HB Haggerty and Lonny Chapman in an uncredited role.
Made at a time when these type of films were in vogue, you didn't need to think too hard about the back stories and soap opera melodrama, just recline and enjoy the ensuing pandemonium, here, focused mainly on the post-earthquake looting and usual stories of heroism, survival and sometimes, tragedy. Nothing heavy nor sentimental with which to contend, it's just plain old meat and drink, take it or leave it, disaster movie 101.
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