|English: San Francisco Mission District burning in the aftermath of the San Francisco Earthquake of 1906. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
The films that I'll be listing in my April postings will not necessarily be films that I'd call my favorite films, but they will be favorites in the genres I'll be naming. The A to Z genres are very specific micro genres as opposed to the broader genres like action, romance, or comedy.
The earthquake has been a special effects staple since the silent film era. The effect can be as unrealistic and silly looking as a shaking camera and stumbling actors or the effects can be quite dramatic and powerful with the earth cracking open and buildings crashing to the ground.
Living in an earthquake prone zone like Los Angeles, you'd think I might not be too keen on seeing earthquakes. Don't get me wrong--I'm in no way itching for the big one to come our way, but I'll have to admit the earthquakes I have experienced, while frightening, can also be quite exhilarating. The ground moving is one heck of a powerful force.
Many films depict earthquakes and many have focused on the phenomena. Here are a few that I have found entertaining:
Earthquake (1974) -- One of those star-studded Hollywood spectacles that were so prevalent in the 1970's, this film offers some decent effects amid some powerfully bad acting and script. But it's all good fun and we get to watch Los Angeles get destroyed. It doesn't get much better than that.
Volcano (1997) -- Of course adding a volcano preceded by earthquakes makes for an even better destruction of L.A. This film outdoes Dante's Peak by bringing the earthquakes and volcano into an urban area. Lots of cool destruction of buildings and hot lava flowing through the streets of Los Angeles. What's not to like with this film even if it is ridiculous?
San Francisco (1936) -- Clark Gable and Spencer Tracy meet the grandaddy of all American earthquakes. The Great Quake of 1906 has been incorporated into many films. This old film doesn't do half bad recreating the quake and its aftermath. Seems like a bit of a depression era message of hope and optimism at the end--a real Hollywood ending.
Old San Francisco (1927) -- Next we step back to the silent film era for this Great Quake epic with a side story of human trafficking. The effects are not to bad considering the era. The most memorable part for me was that in the version I saw on TV they used a piece of music that has haunted me since childhood and I've wondered what it is. I'm still wondering since I didn't see any music credits. Boo!
I know I've missed some earthquake movies, which ones do you recommend? Have you seen these? What kinds of real life earthquake experiences have you been through?