A few words about…™ Earthquake — in Blu-ray

Some films are best left to one's memories of them. This is probably one of those. 4 Stars

The imagery on Shout Factory’s new Blu-ray of the 1974 all-star epic catastrophe production, Earthquake, is of requisite enough quality to show off the film’s effects for their analogue quality.

Which were not good.

While many top actors, or actors of the past, got themselves a paycheck to appear in this film, the actual star was probably the publicity sizzle of the Sensurround process, as explained in a short piece by Ben Burtt.

I recalled the “landing airliner” in the TV version as being the best part of the broadcast, but my memory must be going, as it’s truly awful.

Some films are best left to one’s memories of them. This is probably one of those.

Imagery is more than acceptable for the feature version, and audio is fine. The TV version is probably best left undiscussed.

Image – 4.5

Audio – 5

Pass / Fail – Pass

Upgrade from DVD – If you must

RAH

Published by

Robert Harris

editor,member

32 Comments

  1. Robert Harris

    I recalled the "landing airliner" in the TV version as being the best part of the broadcast, but my memory must be going, as it's truly awful.

    Ha. Been saying that all along 😉

    Robert Harris

    The TV version is probably best left undiscussed.

    Ditto again.

  2. Yup, The Poseidon Adventure & The Towering Inferno were (& are) great, but there was a lot of dross in their wake, Earthquake, Beyond The Poseidon Adventure, The Swarm, When Time Ran Out, & many more, some I enjoy & some I don't. Today, if a disaster film isn't up to much, at least there's some mind boggling visuals, thanks to CGI.

  3. Billy Batson

    Yup, The Poseidon Adventure & The Towering Inferno were (& are) great, but there was a lot of dross in their wake, Earthquake, Beyond The Poseidon Adventure, The Swarm, When Time Ran Out, & many more, some I enjoy & some I don't. Today, if a disaster film isn't up to much, at least there's some mind boggling visuals, thanks to CGI.

    I wouldn’t include Earthquake in that list of terrible films.

  4. I loved it as a kid, but it really is an awful film. But I will always have a soft spot for it because it was my introduction to Geneviève Bujold, who I still think is terrific.

    I have the Universal blu for sentiment’s sake so no need to “upgrade” to the Shout as I thought at the time that all the added TV footage was dreadful.

  5. JohnMor

    I loved it as a kid, but it really is an awful film.

    Yup. I still have fond memories of seeing it at Springfield Mall with my mom and getting tacos afterward!

    Thought it was great when I was 7. Not so much now!

  6. Tino

    You sure about that? I thought this was a new transfer.

    Universal just did a new transfer why would they do another one for Shout so soon when it not a blockbuster selling title. Screenshots look identical. Shout may have done their own tweaks but nothing major and nothing worth an upgrade for.

  7. Randy Korstick

    Universal just did a new transfer why would they do another one for Shout so soon when it not a blockbuster selling title. Screenshots look identical. Shout may have done their own tweaks but nothing major and nothing worth an upgrade for.

    So then you’re not sure. 😉

  8. From Shouts press release.

    We're excited to announce a new Blu-ray release that will shake you to your core! 1974’s epic disaster flick Earthquake is getting the Collector’s Edition treatment on May 21st with a new scan of the film plus an extended cut featuring scenes shot for Television, and available for pre-order now at: http://bit.ly/EarthquakeCollector

  9. Tino

    From Shouts press release.

    We're excited to announce a new Blu-ray release that will shake you to your core! 1974’s epic disaster flick Earthquake is getting the Collector’s Edition treatment on May 21st with a new scan of the film plus an extended cut featuring scenes shot for Television, and available for pre-order now at: http://bit.ly/EarthquakeCollector

    A new scan of the film is usually fluff when a new scan of the film was just done a couple years ago. I've seen nothing that shows a major difference. Plus with Shouts high prices I wouldn't even consider it since I'm not interested in the TV cut.

  10. Randy Korstick

    A new scan of the film is usually fluff when a new scan of the film was just done a couple years ago. I've seen nothing that shows a major difference. Plus with Shouts high prices I wouldn't even consider it since I'm not interested in the TV cut.

    I get that. I was just questioning this definitive statement.

    Randy Korstick

    Yeah same transfer as Universal

  11. I saw it when released, and thought it much inferior to The Towering Inferno. Earthquake seemed the crassest, even patronizing bunch of hog jowls tossed into the commercial market. At least Inferno made for a classier produced and written thrill ride, with some truly effective moments.

  12. I like the movie (PG sleazy-cheesy, 70s-style) well enough to double-dip and I’m happy with the purchase. There’s no way to improve that Universal factory look all its output had back then but within that limitation colors (like green lawns) are richer than they were on the prior Blu.

    The best thing about preordering from Shout is that most if not all of its discs arrive at least two weeks before street date.

  13. I’ve never been able to stomach this film outside of the effects but especially for the Sensurround process which infuriatingly is still missing from any modern release even though there are fake tracks labelled as Sensurround on the disc. It is definitely possible to present in a home theater environment and to ensure all of the Sensurround films can be seen as intended.

    Heck if I had a Sensurround decoder I could use the audio from the old pan n scan Laserdisc which does have the control tones present and should theoretically decode out fine.

    It should be more of a priority for these films to have their most famous attribute on disc because without the Sensurround it really loses something. I think most of the audio remixes derive from the first one done for the widescreen Laserdisc which just makes a dull bass rumble a lot.

    Then there are the studio alternate sound forms like Megasound, Sound 360 and the like. Researching these formats is fascinating and also shows how Dolby realized how best to streamline the process and become successful at selling it to theaters.

  14. Can’t wait to hear what the Sensurround sounds like. I saw it in a theatre when I was a kid and I remember it was a big vibration and loud bass sound. The best thing about this film is its camp quality. Extras actually laugh as they’re hit by Styrofoam bricks and fall out of buildings.

  15. warnerbro

    The best thing about this film is its camp quality. Extras actually laugh as they're hit by Styrofoam bricks and fall out of buildings.

    I think a couple of extras in the restaurant scene snicker when Ava Gardner calls Lorne Greene “Dad” as well. 😀

  16. JohnMor

    I think a couple of extras in the restaurant scene snicker when Ava Gardner calls Lorne Greene “Dad” as well. 😀

    It is a not very good movie with some dubious acting and Lorne Greene as ' Dad ' to AG is really stupid but I like the film regardless !

  17. commander richardson

    It is a not very good movie with some dubious acting and Lorne Greene as ' Dad ' to AG is really stupid but I like the film regardless !

    Hey, at least Greene was 7 years older than Gardner. In "Manchurian Candidate", Lansbury was only 3 years older than Harvey!

  18. Brian Kidd

    True, but she pulled it off! She's a masterful actress.

    Oh, Lansbury was great in "Manchurian Candidate" – obviously it's 100X better as a movie than the woeful "Earthquake".

    Just always felt kinda bad for Angie that she played the mom of someone basically her same age!

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