Fault Lines: How "Earthquake" Broke The Disaster Movie Rules...And Failed.

  • CinemaRetro
While criticism of Earthquake usually concentrates on its flaky Sensurround effects, the film’s more important flaws lie in a confused approach to the genre and – especially – one character who really belongs in a different movie altogether, writes Barnaby Page.

Although it remains one of the best-known of the early-1970s all-star disaster extravaganzas, Earthquake (1974) was less successful commercially than Airport, The Towering Inferno or The Poseidon Adventure, and did not enjoy the critical acclaim of the latter two.

It probably suffered in the short term from being released only a month before Inferno, and in the longer term from its over-reliance on the Sensurround system; watched now, though, it is flawed largely through discontinuity of tone and the uneasy co-existence of both a strong human villain and a natural threat. Still, the film casts interesting light on the genre as a whole, sometimes complying with its standards and sometimes departing from them.
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