My first reaction to yesterday’s 7.1 earthquake was one of surprise but not alarm. It lasted longer than the 6.4, yes, but was just another mild roller. My second reaction was to wonder if life would be imitating Mark Robson‘s Earthquake (’74), a mezzo-mezzo disaster flick in which the Big One was preceded by two midsized shakers. (Indiewire‘s Anne Thompson seemed to have the same thought.) Yesterday a seismologist said there’s a one-in-ten chance of “another 7” within the next few days.

Earthquake was no great shakes. It struck me as odd that the same-aged Charlton Heston and Ava Gardner were cast as an unhappily married couple, mainly, I suppose, because they seemed unevenly matched. (She looked like a boozy wreck while Chuck was holding his own.) The model makers and special-effects team did the best they could, of course, but for me the Big Shakedown sequence never surpassed the level of a good try. The dp was the respected Phillip Lathrop, and yet Earthquake had that flat TV-show lighting that so many Universal films were burdened with back then. The only remarkable aspects were (a) the Sensurround rumble effect and (b) the fact that Heston died at the end.