After a series of small tremors in Los Angeles, Dr. Clare Winslow, a local seismologist, pinpoints the exact location and time of when the long awaited earthquake--"The Big One"--will ...
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After a series of small tremors in Los Angeles, Dr. Clare Winslow, a local seismologist, pinpoints the exact location and time of when the long awaited earthquake--"The Big One"--will strike southern California. With this information, she must battle city officials to release this information to the general public. Also, she hopes that her family is out of harms way when the quake strikes. Subplots show how other families and people cope with the the tremors that strike before the impending "Big One."Written by
John R. Price <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The montage showing emergency services getting ready includes Squad 51 and Engine 51 from Emergency! (1972) backing in the station. See more »
South African Trade Minister David Motubu, a black man, could not have held any political office in South Africa during the apartheid era, which did not end until four years after the movie was made. See more »
[choking back sobs]
The injuries are in the... hundreds of thousands! The deaths... The deaths... are in the... tens... this must be the worst national disaster since the Civil War. I'm sorry!
[he shakes his head and turns away as the screen goes to snow]
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When the NBC-TV network premiered this film over two nights in November 1990, NBC News added earthquake safety tips and news information at the end of each night of the miniseries. The information was provided because of the potential for deadly quakes at other fault lines in the USA and in particular reference to the New Madrid Earthquake Zone in the central USA which was predicted to quake on December 3, 1990. See more »
Forget for a second that the acting and the dialogue are not exactly first-rate; this isn't Shakespeare or Spielberg. This 1990 made-for-TV film does focus on an all-too-plausible disaster for those of us, like myself, who live in Southern California--a cataclysmic earthquake tearing the region apart.
Irritating subplots aside (Robert Ginty's greedy developer engaging in what I'd call "Quakegate"; Joe Spano's emergency management chief torn between Ginty and Kerns; Richard Masur's Geraldo-like tabloid TV reporter), THE BIG ONE is just too effective in its depiction of destruction on a scale not seen in a long time. Kerns' performance as seismologist Claire Winslow is clearly modeled off of CalTech scientists Lucy Jones and Kate Hutton. The film's science is also pretty straight-on, especially when one realizes that the quakes that have shook up Southern California since the 1971 Sylmar event have not occurred along the dreaded San Andreas Fault but on faults of which little or nothing is known about.
So whatever plot pratfalls it has, THE BIG ONE still works as an ultimate science fiction/disaster movie, at least from the science angle.
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