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Earthquake (1974)

Charlton Heston , Ava Gardner , Mark Robson  |  PG |  DVD
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (169 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Charlton Heston, Ava Gardner, George Kennedy, Lorne Greene, Genevieve Bujold
  • Directors: Mark Robson
  • Writers: George Fox, Mario Puzo
  • Producers: Mark Robson
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 3.0), English (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Dubbed: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Universal Studios
  • DVD Release Date: May 9, 2006
  • Run Time: 123 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (169 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000ETRA5U
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #44,676 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Earthquake" on IMDb

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Charlton Heston leads an all-star cast in an epic film about ordinary citizens who must come together in the face of an unstoppable natural disaster! When the most catastrophic earthquake of all time rips through Southern California, it levels Los Angeles and sends shockwaves through the lives of all who live there. Now strangers must become heroes as the city struggles to get to its feet before the next terrifying aftershock hits! Also starring Ava Gardner, George Kennedy, Lorne Greene, Victoria Principal, Genevieve Bujold and Richard Roundtree, Earthquake combines outstanding performances with Academy Award-winning sound and groundbreaking special effects.

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The disaster-movie trend of the early and mid-1970s was starting to wear out its welcome when Earthquake was released in 1974. It’s another one of those enjoyably mindless all-star marathons, and the title tells you all you need to know about the plot. Charlton Heston offers his trademark brand of macho courage as the citizens of Los Angeles brace for the Big One--an earthquake that rattles the city to its crumbling foundation. It's got all the sophistication of a Love Boat episode, but the movie's momentum scores high marks (at least on the Richter scale), and the Oscar-winning sound design and special visual effects are still impressive, especially when you consider that advanced computer-graphics effects were still two decades in the future. Genevieve Bujold adds a touch of class to the all-star ensemble, and of course, what self-respecting disaster flick would be complete without a role for George Kennedy? In more ways than one, this cheesy movie rocks! (If you want to re-create the movie's original sound process known as "Sensurround," you’ll just have to crank up the bass and subwoofer on your home theater system until plaster cracks and windows shatter!) --Jeff Shannon

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
51 of 55 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars PRISTINE TRANSFER, BUT WHA'HOPPIN? NO EXTRAS? May 10, 2006
Format:DVD
For one of their most successful 70s films, I am so surprised that Universal did not get on the bandwagon and do a Special Edition of some kind, similar to the new Fox issues of Poseidon Adventure and Towering Inferno. Universal has treated this film like a throwaway, and if they took that attitude, they should have left the bad-print Good Times issue stand. Even the Region 2 UK version is better than this. It's in 5.1 and at least gives you one trailer!

The upgrades to this edition of EQ include a 3.1 Sensurround track, besides a 5.1 track, plus 2.0 Spanish track. You set your language and play the film. There isn't even a Select The Scenes menu. There are more chapter markers than the previous issue, but some are in weird places. The print of the film is fabulous. Looks like it was color-corrected and plays almost like HD. My only reason for 3 stars, or it would be less.

Still, Universal dropped the ball. Commentaries should have been included, featurettes if available, memories from cast and crew that are still with us, and even a couple of trailers and/or TV Spots. With adding the 3.1 Sensurround track, it would have been nice to see one of the "An Event" trailers for the theatrical release in Sensurround. The trailer on the UK version is one used for the post-Sensurround release of the film.

Maybe they are waiting for the 35th Anniversary in 2009 to do it up big? I doubt it.

If Universal doesn't even care to issue the last remaining Rodgers & Hammerstein movie musical "Flower Drum Song" (1961) that has yet to see a DVD issue, what can you expect on how they treat one of their biggest 70s hits?

Wake up Universal.
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65 of 73 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Poor Sensurround Soundtrack June 10, 2007
Format:DVD
While the picture is beautiful, the new DVD of "Earthquake" completely misses the boat on the Sensurround track and special features. First of all, the so-called "3.1" Sensurround track is nothing but the same, mono, audio fed to the 3 front channels with the 25/35 Hz control tones on the .1 LFE channel - no rumble is there at all. Nothing of the sort was ever heard in theaters, so I don't know why Universal bothered. It's obvious that the Universal tech's in charge of the DVD audio transfer didn't know that the control tones are NOT the earthquake rumble and are NOT meant to be heard! The 5.1-channel remix is problimatical too. Earthquake was the first feature to use the Sensurround Special Effects System (US Patent #3, 973,839). Because, at the time, audio in theaters and on film was in such a primitive state, MCA/Universal engineers designed a sound system to run along side the theaters existing system. Two control tones, at 25 and 35 Hz, were recorded either on the main soundtrack (for optical prints) or, with stereo Magnetic prints, on the redundant optical soundtrack. Their presence and volume controlled the turning on and off of a low-frequency noise (rumble) generator to create the 'earthquake' effects - they also controlled the addition of the "Center Front" channel (or the composite optical) into the Sensurround channel to create "surround" effects. When desired, the two tones could also increase the volume of ALL the speakers in the theater by a desired amount. While the 4-track magnetic soundtrack had a standard "effects/surround" soundtrack (complete with 12kHz CinemaScope switching tone), in Sensurround equipped theaters, the surround mag track was disconnected and not used at all... Read more ›
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54 of 62 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Shaken, not stirred November 6, 2001
Format:DVD
From the time that what is left of Ava Gardner roars onto the screen bellowing "60ddammit" as if she were auditioning for a dinner theater version of "Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolfe" to the end where half the cast is literally (rather than figuratively) mucking about in the sewer, this cheesy 70's disaster flick throws everything it can think of at you. Fires! Adultery! Floods! Duplicity! Electricity! Motorcycle stunts! Earthquakes! Marjoe (aieeee!)! The special effects range from great (Capitol Records building, Wilshire Collonade) to the pits (the elevator, the cows), the script is at the level of a movie-of-the-week, and the acting? Velveeta city. Charlton Heston runs all over the place looking as if he wants to part something, Ava runs around screeching her dialogue as if she were trying to read it over the sound of a departing jumbo jet, Lorne Greene looks as if he can't quite get why he was cast as Ava's father (they were the same age), Genevieve Bujold gives quite a hint of the scary elf she would late become, and best of all, Victoria Principal (in what must be the funniest wig in the history of cinema) ACTS. Yes, before she refined her craft on "Dallas" (point chest, tear up, sniffle, whine) she showed her early technique here (point chest, sneer, read line). There is also the big time debut (and thankfully, swan song) of Marjoe, as the... oh well, you'll just have to see for yourself to believe it.
Fans of Debralee Scott's scenes will be disappointed- they are not included, since this is the theatrical version, not the padded version that was shown on NBC.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
ok good transfer
great sound
Published 10 days ago by Barry Stahl
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
a1
Published 12 days ago by Matt
4.0 out of 5 stars Earthquake Review
I bought this to revisit it as one of the big budget movies of years gone by (1974) and some of the big names such Charlton Heston. Read more
Published 12 days ago by Clint
4.0 out of 5 stars Good video and restored Sennsuround
I have waited for Earthquake to come out on blu ray for awhile, and I finally picked up a copy. I remember seeing this originally at my local movie theater with my father. Read more
Published 18 days ago by Robert Bauer
3.0 out of 5 stars Such as Charlton Heston's love interest, his wife's reaction to the...
Well, Earthquake is OK. It was a big budget movie with major stars. However, the storyline was a bit contrived. Read more
Published 27 days ago by Michael N. Washington
4.0 out of 5 stars NOT as grainy as people are saying.
I would have bought this long ago but was scared off by the multiple complaints on graininess - which i absolutely hate, but it is not that bad. Read more
Published 1 month ago by ANDREW H.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A fun look back at '70's movie shlock!
Published 1 month ago by MS LCSW
5.0 out of 5 stars A bit cheesy compared to today's standards but I still love it. And...
Classic 70s. A bit cheesy compared to today's standards but I still love it. And hey who could forget Victoria Principles hair..OMG.
Published 1 month ago by Athena Harris
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
ONE OF THE BEST FROM THE DISASTER MOVIE ERA.
Published 1 month ago by KING RIEKE
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
This a good time pic been well preserved well watch again soon
Published 1 month ago by Thomas H.
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