When a volcano erupts on an island resort, an oilman (Newman) leads a small group of people to safety.
The disaster movie cycle of the 1970s had just about, well, run out when this afterthought of a volcano flick opened in 1980. It reunited producer Irwin Allen, the man behind the biggest disaster pictures of the era, with his stars from The Towering Inferno
, Paul Newman and William Holden (with Ernest Borgnine and Red Buttons, from The Poseidon Adventure
, tossed in for good measure). Newman is an oilman drilling on a tropical island, with a volcano smoking away in disconcerting proximity; Jacqueline Bisset is the woman with whom he had something in the past; Holden is rich. The supporting cast is a typical Irwin Allen soup, with James Franciscus heading a project to send of probe into the volcano's core (or something), Veronica Hamel and Barbara Carrera as women in his life, and Borgnine and Buttons in an elliptical subplot about a cop shadowing a white-collar criminal. That leaves plenty of room for the likes of Alex Karras, Edward Albert, Pat Morita, and a pair of former trapeze artists played by Burgess Meredith and Valentina Cortese. The special effects are notably poor, and even the Hawaiian exteriors seem drab. The movie stupefyingly banks its big climax on the survivors crossing a particular bridge, which is being destroyed by hot lava as they traverse it; the lengthy sequence looks suspiciously like a cost-cutting measure to save money on volcano effects. Newman looks pretty embarrassed to be on board, as he should. If When Time Ran Out…
is awful, its value for a bad-movie night selection should not be underestimated. This DVD release is 109 minutes, thus shorter than the original release (121 minutes) and also missing extra footage added for TV broadcast and previous home-video releases. Hard to believe anybody will miss it. --Robert Horton