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Heatwave! (1974)

The residents of an isolated mountain town must band together to survive during a devastating heat wave.

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(teleplay), (teleplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Frank Taylor
... Laura Taylor
... Dr. Grayson
... Arnold Brady
... Toler
... Prescott
... Harry Powers
... Susan
Lionel Johnston ... Jerry
... Newscaster
Joseph V. Perry ... Counterman (as Joseph Perry)
... Lady in Laundromat
Don Mantooth ... Ambulance Attendant (as Donald Mantooth)
... Official
... Health Department Official
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Storyline

The residents of an isolated mountain town must band together to survive during a devastating heat wave.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

It's been 122 degrees for the last two weeks...the rivers are going dry...the power's been knocked out...a sweltering city is grinding to a halt...and for a man and his pregnant wife the worst is yet to come.

Genres:

Drama

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Release Date:

26 January 1974 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Hetebølgen  »

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

 
WITH exclamation point!
8 February 2017 | by See all my reviews

You know a disaster movie is serious businesses when there's an exclamation point in the title! Adding an exclamation means that the title, which is generally speaking just the type of disaster featuring in the film, still isn't powerful enough to underline how hopeless the situation is for the poor people in the story. Jerry & David Zucker understood this principle when they made their brilliant disaster movie parody "Airplane!" and Jerry Jameson cleverly understood the added value of the exclamation point as well, especially since his film is "only" a modestly budgeted made- for-TV production from the early 70s. After all, let's be honest: "Heatwave" merely sounds as if it's going to be a little hot & sweaty, whereas "Heatwave!" immediately rises the impression that people will die the heat! And they are damn right to add the exclamation point, because at one point in the film, there's an outside thermometer showing a temperature of 118°F. I'm from Europe, so I had no idea how warm that is, but I looked it up and convert to °C (Celsius) … And you know what, fellow Europeans? That's almost 50°C!

Personally I really liked "Heatwave!" and I truly appreciated that it's a small-scaled but intense, honest and compelling story rather than a massive blockbuster with fancy special effects or expensive fake set pieces. Unlike "The Towering Inferno", "The Poseidon Adventure" or any other Irwin Allen production, "Heatwave!" entirely relies on script, atmosphere and acting performances. This works wonderfully well, and I was particularly impressed with how realistically these ordinary and usually good-hearted people turned into monsters due to the unendurable temperatures. Throughout the entire movie, I kept thinking about a famous line of dialogue spoken by the almighty Jack Nicholson in "A Few Good Men"… There he says at one point: "I'm a decent guy, but this (swearing) heat is driving me absolutely crazy!" Too true, and the strongest quality of "Heatwave!" is how the film masterfully depicts how regular city people suddenly become very selfish, aggressive, cowardly and even violent. In the midst of all this, we have a young couple, Frank and Laura Taylor, trying to cope with the heatwave that now lasts for two weeks already. The girl is seven months pregnant and needs to take good care of herself, but there isn't any fresh food or bottled water left anywhere. When then also the power supplies, like electricity and gas stations, are switched out, they decide to head out to her family's holiday retreat up in the mountains. The journey turns out long, difficult and full of unforeseen obstacles, and the circumstances in the little mountain village aren't any better. The worst is yet to come when Laura goes into labor two months too soon. "Heatwave!" has everything I've come to expect from an adequate disaster movie… Extreme circumstances, genuine drama, some characters you care for and many others you wish will suffer, a handful of very memorable scenes and a (admittedly forced) happy ending. Great performances are coming from the entire cast, with specific compliments to Ben Murphy (?) and the unbelievable ravishing Bonnie Bedelia, that both carry the entire film without effort. After seeing her here and in "The Strange Vengeance of Rosalie", I honestly don't comprehend why Bedelia didn't become one of the most successful and desirable actresses of the late 70s and 80s.


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