California has yet to fall into the ocean, but that didn’t stop Hollywood from envisioning what it might be like if the big one hit Los Angeles. Released in 1974, and featuring an all-star cast, Earthquake shook many a theater audience back in the day and remains a classic example from the disaster genre.
The seventies disaster film craze was dominated by Irwin Allen, whose The Poseidon Adventure and The Towering Inferno had conquered the box office. Universal producer Jennings Lang felt that he could best the “Master of Disaster” with his own star-studded epic. He commissioned a script from Godfather author Mario Puzo, who wrote ten drafts, followed by numerous re-writes by George Fox and director Mark Robson.)
Los Angeles, 1974: Ex-football hero turned engineer Stewart Graff (Charlton Heston) believes that the skyscrapers and high-rise offices of Los Angeles aren’t safe enough. Graff is unhappily married to Remy (Ava Gardner), the daughter of his boss, Sam Royce (Lorne Green). He is offered a promotion, but learns that it’s an emotional bribe, made at the behest of his wife in exchange for his fidelity.