Film (1974). Universal. Dir Mark Robson, starring Charlton Heston, Ava Gardner, George Kennedy, Lorne Greene, Genevieve Bujold. Screenplay George Fox, Mario Puzo. 123 mins. Colour.
   We include this as a representative member of a class of marginally sf films, DISASTER movies, which normally deal with events that, while they have not yet happened, plausibly might in the NEAR FUTURE. In practice the feeling of most disaster films is not sciencefictional, their point being to generate an emotional thrill through the disaster itself rather than to investigate causes and effects. This example, commercially very successful, shows the destruction of Los Angeles by a major earthquake, and as usual focuses on a small group who struggle to survive. Technically the film is adroit, though the human relationships are stilted and stereotyped. It is a showcase for some of Hollywood's best special-effects men, many of whom were persuaded to come out of retirement to work on it; one of them, Clifford Stine, had created the effects in Universal's series of sf/horror films in the 1950s, including The INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN (1957). The film's gimmick was the introduction of "Sensurround", a system intended to disturb audiences with low-frequency vibrations generated by powerful electro-acoustic horns placed at the front and rear of the theatre.

Science Fiction and Fantasy Encyclopedia. . 2011.

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