Film Review – EARTHQUAKE (1974)

EARTHQUAKE (1974, USA, 123m, PG) ***
Action, Drama, Thriller
dist. Universal Pictures (USA), Cinema International Corporation (CIC) (UK); pr co. Universal Pictures / The Filmakers Group; d. Mark Robson; w. George Fox, Mario Puzo; pr. Mark Robson; ph. Philip H. Lathrop (Technicolor | 2.35:1); m. John Williams; ed. Dorothy Spencer; pd. Alexander Golitzen; ad. E. Preston Ames.
cast: Charlton Heston (Graff), Ava Gardner (Remy), George Kennedy (Slade), Lorne Greene (Royce), Geneviève Bujold (Denise), Richard Roundtree (Miles), Marjoe Gortner (Jody), Barry Sullivan (Stockle), Lloyd Nolan (Dr. Vance), Victoria Principal (Rosa), Walter Matthau (Drunk (as Walter Matuschanskayasky)), Monica Lewis (Barbara), Gabriel Dell (Sal), Pedro Armendáriz Jr. (Chavez), Lloyd Gough (Cameron), John Randolph (Mayor), Kip Niven (Walter Russell), Scott Hylands (Asst. Caretaker), Tiger Williams (Corry), Donald Moffat (Dr. Harvey Johnson).
A major earthquake hits Los Angeles and various stock characters are thrown into the chaos and destruction. Successful architect Heston argues with his drunken and demanding wife, Gardner, who is also the daughter of his boss Greene.  Bujold is Heston’s distraction from his marriage. Kennedy is a cop suspended for insubordination. Roundtree is an Evel Knievel copyist assisted by Principal. Gortner is a loner army reservist who has fascist tendencies. As the personal dramas are explored, the city is shaken by tremors leading to the inevitable titular event. This is the kind of movie Roland Emmerich has made his fortune producing in more recent times. Here, pre-CGI, the scenes of huge destruction are technically well achieved for the period with some effective matte work and wall-shaking sound (Sensurround was a much-touted new approach to sonics, which ultimately never took). The cast is solid, although Gardner’s histrionics veer toward melodrama. The movie ends abruptly with most of the personal stories left unresolved. Additional footage was shot, without the involvement of Robson, for the 152m TV version.
AA: Best Sound (Ronald Pierce, Melvin M. Metcalfe Sr.); Special Achievement Award for Visual Effects (Frank Brendel, Glen Robinson, Albert Whitlock)
AAN: Best Cinematography (Philip H. Lathrop); Best Art Direction-Set Decoration (Alexander Golitzen, E. Preston Ames, Frank R. McKelvy); Best Film Editing (Dorothy Spencer)

Film Review – TIGHTROPE (1984)

Image result for tightrope 1984TIGHTROPE (USA, 1984) ***
      Distributor: Warner Bros.; Production Company: The Malpaso Company / Warner Bros.; Release Date: 17 August 1984 (USA), 2 November 1984 (UK); Filming Dates: 17 October–3 December 1983; Running Time: 114m; Colour: Technicolor; Sound Mix: Dolby Stereo; Film Format: 35mm; Film Process: Spherical; Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1; BBFC Cert: 18.
      Director: Richard Tuggle; Writer: Richard Tuggle; Producer: Clint Eastwood, Fritz Manes; Director of Photography: Bruce Surtees; Music Composer: Lennie Niehaus; Film Editor: Joel Cox; Casting Director: Phyllis Huffman; Production Designer: Edward C. Carfagno; Set Decorator: Ernie Bishop; Costumes: Glenn Wright; Make-up: Barbara Guedel; Sound: Alan Robert Murray; Special Effects: Joseph A. Unsinn.
      Cast: Clint Eastwood (Wes Block), Geneviève Bujold (Beryl Thibodeaux), Dan Hedaya (Det. Molinari), Alison Eastwood (Amanda Block), Jenny Beck (Penny Block), Marco St. John (Leander Rolfe), Rebecca Perle (Becky Jacklin), Regina Richardson (Sarita), Randi Brooks (Jamie Cory), Jamie Rose (Melanie Silber), Margaret Howell (Judy Harper), Rebecca Clemons (Girl with Whip), Janet MacLachlan (Dr. Yarlofsky), Graham Paul (Luther), Bill Holliday (Police Chief), John Wilmot (Medical Examiner), Margie O’Dair (Mrs. Holstein), Joy N. Houck Jr. (Swap Meet Owner), Stuart Baker-Bergen (Blond Surfer), Donald Barber (Shorty), Robert Harvey (Lonesome Alice), Ron Gural (Coroner Dudley), Layton Martens (Sgt. Surtees), Richard Charles Boyle (Dr. Fitzpatrick), Becki Davis (Nurse), Jonathan Sachar (Gay Boy), Valerie Thibodeaux (Black Hooker), Lionel Ferbos (Plainclothes Gus), Eliott Keener (Sandoval), Cary Wilmot Alden (Secretary), David Valdes (Manes), James Borders (Carfagno), Fritz Manes (Valdes), Jonathan Shaw (Quono), Don Lutenbacher (Dixie President), G. Wood (Conventioneer), Kimberly Georgoulis (Sam), Glenda Byers (Lucy Davis), John Schluter (Piazza Cop), Nick Krieger (Rannigan), Lloyd Nelson (Patrolman Restic), David Dahlgren (Patrolman Julio), Rod Masterson (Patrolman Gallo), Glenn Wright (Patrolman Redfish), Angela Hill (Woman Reporter), Ted Saari (T.V. News Technician).
      Synopsis: A New Orleans detective is leading an investigation into a killer who is raping and murdering women. His enquiries lead him into the seedy side of town where he is no stranger off-duty.
      Comment: Interesting character study of a divorced detective coming to terms with raising his young daughters following a divorce and wrestling with his more basic desires. It is framed around a serial killer plot, which runs close to home for Eastwood’s character. Where the film falls short is in the thrills department, with little tension built through the story and a heavy-handed script, which fails to capitalise on the ambiguities suggested. The climax is more conventional and ups the thrill quota. The film is more interesting for seeing Eastwood give a layered performance with a more complex version of his no-nonsense detective persona.
      Notes: While Tuggle retained the director’s credit, as with THE OUTLAW JOSEY WALES on which original director Philip Kaufman was replaced by the star, Eastwood directed most of the movie after finding Tuggle working too slowly.