the Movie Club Annals ...

 

Earthquake


Reviewed by Carl R.




 
 
The graphics on this page were borrowed from the www.earthquakemovie.com website.   We thank them for their generosity, and encourage you to visit their awesome site.  
 
  

If the movie Earthquake accomplished nothing else, it showed us what a spectacular specimen of a man Lorne Greene was.

You see, Lorne Greene played the father of Ava Gardner in Earthquake, and father-in-law of Ava's on-screen husband, Moses (Charlton Heston.) 

Since Lorne was born in 1915, and Ava was born in 1922, that means Lorne was only seven years old when he fathered Ava.  When Earthquake was filmed in 1974, Lorne was 59,   Ava was 52 and Moses, born in 1924, was 50. 

Ok so far? That'll change.

Presuming Lorne was an honorable man, he must certainly have been married when Ava was conceived, leaving us to assume that he was six years old when he married Ava's mother.

Since Earthquake never revealed who Lorne's wife (Ava's mother) was, it was possible that she wasn't born yet when Lorne married her.  But given the available trend data, it is possible to calculate with exact precision the wedding date of Ava and Moses. November 13, 1929.

That would have been when Ava was seven and Moses was five. By the time 1974 and Earthquake rolled around, they had been married for 45 years. Fortunately, they had no children, because the rate of reproduction among their children and grandchildren would have been so great as to cause a population explosion, the magnitude of which might have prevented Earthquake from ever being filmed.

  
   

Victoria, with an afro, and George, without one.

 
 
Did anyone notice that Victoria Principal had an afro?  She was an unknown in 1974, and looked to be nineteen years old, well past marrying and child-bearing age.  But it was actually worse than that - Victoria was twenty-eight when Earthquake was filmed, practically at death's door.

And what disaster movie would be complete without George Kennedy, the only person to have starred in all four Airport movies? George, by the way, was one year younger than Moses when earthquake was filmed.

 
Then there's Richard Roundtree. Having just completed Shaft in Africa, the third of the exalted Shaft trilogy, he gave an Oscar-caliber performance as the motorcycle daredevil. Unfortunately, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences didn't see it that way.  Well, they were wrong, as is usually the case.  
  
  

Moses & Ava

My man!

   
  
The most puzzling presence in Earthquake was Walter Matthau, who is known by the Movie Club as the guy who played the drunk in Earthquake. God bless Walter and everything, but his portrayal of a drunk was inexcusably bad, especially since he'd had plenty of realistic off-screen training in the years before Earthquake was filmed.

By the way, Walter, born in 1920, was even older than Lorne by two years, and was four years older than Moses. But, the honor of being the oldest cast member in Earthquake goes to Lloyd Nolan, who played the doctor in the parking garage.  Born in 1902, Lloyd was thirteen years older than Lorne, and twenty-two years older than Moses.

But back to Lorne's manhood. 

Here is a guy trying to rescue a damsel in distress from a burning building, in full view of scores of onlookers. Suddenly, he needs something that can be used to tie something to something else. Something flexible. Something with some length. Something with a proven track record in high altitudes. Something like mountain climbers might use. Something like rescue workers might use. Something like rope climbers might use. Something perhaps made of hemp.

I guess rope comes to mind, but not for Lorne.  When Lorne needs to tie a distressed woman to a chair (for her own good, of course), he doesn't say "Someone get me some rope - fast!"  No - Lorne finds the closest female in a mini skirt and says "Give me your panty hose - now!" 

Panty hose. A curious choice of rescue equipment, true. But it worked after all, and we should never question a man who's man enough to marry and produce children before reaching his eighth birthday.

And not to forget the plot, Earthquake's storyline was so brimming with originality as to be awe-inspiring:

An unlikely source tells an unbelieving town official of an impending disaster.  The unbelieving town official doesn't believe the unlikely source. Disaster strikes, just as the unlikely source said it would. The requisite coward acts cowardly, the unlikely hero rises to the occasion, and the unbelieving town official gets his in the end. And in this instance, Ava and Moses perish in a deadly sewer tsunami at the very last possible moment.  

All this and George Kennedy too.

CR

 

The world-renowned elevator scene.