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When Time Ran Out

Reviewed by Carl R.

When Time Ran Out 

Tempus Fugit, nisi tibi specto pontis pulvis "Ubi Tempus Occurro Absentis."

(Rough) Translation:

Time flies, unless you are watching the bridge scene in "When Time Ran Out".

The following is a genuine copy of an actual newspaper published during the true-life events of  "When Time Ran Out": 


The Movie Club Times

Fifty Cent






Paper Mache Volcano Threatens Resort Town


Clichés Run Amok

Bridge Scene Angers the Pope


Laundry Detergent Made Illegal

--- Careers are Ruined ---

- Barbara Carrera Can't Act -
Neither Can Veronica Hamel




Irwin Allen Reverses the Flow of Time

Irwin Allen has accomplished the impossible during the filming of "When Time Ran Out".  By making the bridge scene 124 minutes long, and still fitting it into a 121 minute movie, he has succeeded in reversing the flow of time.
However, viewers age dramatically while watching "When Time Ran Out", especially the during the bridge scene, and do not get younger as Irwin had hoped. Irwin's only comment was "We'll work the bugs out during my next film, "The Night the Bridge Fell Down".   



Republicans Loot Orphanage to Pay For Caviar


It's Business as Usual at Marathon Fund Raiser



One must afford particular reverence toward this film, for it was Irwin Allen's last major earthly undertaking.  He went on to do a slew of TV movies afterward, but nothing of the epic nature of When Time Ran Out. As the genuine newspaper above states, his next film really, truly was "The Night the Bridge Fell Down", a 1980 TV movie starring Desi Arnaz Jr. and Brendan Boone, with appearances by Leslie Nielson and Eve Plumb (Jan, of Brady Bunch fame).


The Movie Club hasn't procured a copy of "The Night the Bridge Fell Down" - yet.  But, to chase that film on both sides of land, and over all sides of earth .... What say ye, men, will ye splice hands on it now? I think ye do look brave. 

We'll find one.

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But back to the matter at hand.  It seems as if Irwin Allen knew he was on his last hurrah, and produced this film exclusively for use by the Movie Club as a research project.
Just look at the list of stars (the term "stars" is used loosely in some instances):
Paul Newman, William Holden,  Jacqueline Bisset, Red Buttons, Ernest Borgnine, Burgess Meredith, James Franciscus, Pat Morita, Veronica Hamel, Barbara Carrera, and Alex Karas (of Webster non-fame).
The patented Irwin Allen disaster film formula is firmly, firmly, firmly in place in When Time Ran Out. Witness the Unbelieving Town Official, the coward, the goat, the unlikely hero, the love triangle, and the ever-present noble elderly couple with nothing to lose, one of whom will sacrifice themselves to save a child. 
Then there are those custom elements unique to each disaster film, the elements that set When Time Ran Out apart from the other disaster films;  a paper mache volcano, a custom built elevator to descend into the paper mache volcano, a 'malfunction' indicator on the control panel of the paper mache volcano monitoring device, people and animals running from the erupting paper mache volcano, blobs of orange paint spewing from the paper mache volcano, etc., etc. 
Of course, there was a sinister sub-plot or two;

- James Franciscus was really Edward Albert's brother, yet James hid this fact from brother Edward for some reason we still don't understand.  

- James Franciscus was dating his unbeknownst brother's  fiancée, Barbara Carrera, behind his unbeknownst brother's back.

- James Franciscus, by dating Barbara Carerra, was cheating on his own girlfriend, Veronica Hamel.

- James Franciscus knew that the paper mache volcano on resort island was ready to explode at any time, although he concealed this from his business partner, William Holden.

- William Holden was trying to convince Jacqueline Bisset to marry him, although Jacqueline was busy cheating on him with Paul Newman. 


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But the crowning glory of When Time Ran Out was the bridge scene, notorious for its breadth, depth and most especially its length. When Paul Newman takes charge and decides to lead a 'convoy' of 3 loaded vehicles to safety, the convoy soon encounters a 2-foot pile rocks in the road.

Since none of the 4-wheel drive off-road pickup trucks could get around the 2-foot pile of rocks, the convoy's occupants abandon the vehicles and head for the highest, most treacherous mountain ledge that will get them to the bridge.

When the group reaches the bridge, the audience is treated to a blow-by-blow, inch-by-inch, step-by-step, minute-by-minute, second-by-second rescue scene of each remaining cast member as they are led across the bridge to safety.

The climax is reached when Burgess Meredith, an ex-circus man - a tightrope walker no less - equips himself with a balancing pole and toes his way across the almost demolished bridge to rescue the children trapped on the other side.

I take issue with this, of course. How are the children ever to learn responsibility if they are brought up to believe that an ex-circus employee will bail them out each and every time they run off and get lost in the midst of a volcanic eruption?

But anyway, Burgess repeats his selfless acts of tightrope walking valor again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again ... and ... and ... and, until everyone is safely across the bridge (someone did die during the bridge scene, but they were asking for it, and got what they deserved.)  

In the end, the paper mache volcano blows up and takes out the entire hotel complex and its non-believer occupants with a single, magnificent, fiery blob of orange paint. Justice is done again, Irwin Allen style.

In conclusion, let me say this about Irwin Allen filmdom;

If you're watching an Irwin Allen film, and you find yourself questioning something that seemingly doesn't make sense, it is entirely due to the constraints of your own intellect. Irwin Allen cannot be faulted for being a genius who's concepts are far too advanced to be understood by other life forms.

Bonne journée, Irwin.



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The man, the myth, the legend - Irwin Allen