The Manhattan Project--2016 A to Z Theme

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Friday, April 5, 2013

Earthquake Movies

English: San Francisco Mission District burnin...
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.

Earthquake Movies

       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?


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59 comments:

  1. Hi there Lee,
    I've noted the names down and I hope I will get to watch these. As for real life earthquakes, thankfully never had to be in one :)

    Bhavya from the AtoZ Challenge blogging at Just Another Blog

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  2. I've seen Volcano, but Earthquake is the one that stands out for me. I was a child in the 70's and the 70's loved its disaster flicks : ) Have a great weekend!

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  3. There are movies with earthquakes, but I can't think of any others where it is the main focus. And yes, I've felt several small earthquakes in my life.

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  4. I personally am not into those sort of films but musicals as you can imagine. As for feeling small earthquakes, I feel them when I see Daniel O Donnell....lol

    Have a good day.

    Yvonne.

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  5. Some great stuff here glad the challenge is still going strong.

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  6. I have only felt a few small quakes in my life. Don't most disaster movies all start out with some sort of earthquake before it caves in on itself?
    Dani @ Entertaining Interests
    #warriorminion

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  7. First, I have never seen the movies that you listed. Don't think I have seen an earthquake movie. Great E topic however!

    Heck, I grew up in CA. Can't begin to tell you about how earthquakes I "enjoyed." Even went through one here in Seattle a decade back.

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  8. I've only seen the newer movies but they were enjoyable for what they were. Dante's Peak was pretty good. I like Linda Hamilton and Pierce Brosnan and the special effects were wicked cool :)

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  9. I've only seen Volcano out of those but it was a lot of fun.

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  10. HI Lee,
    First of all, I have to tell you how much I love this challenge. E for Earthquakes. Great idea. I experienced my first earthquake in August 2011 sitting out on my porch writing. I had no idea what it was at first. Maryland doesn't have earthquakes, but this 5.8 kind the scare the heck out of me. I've been waiting for the next on ever since.

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  11. cannot think of any, i even looked to cheat up a few titles... fail.

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  12. When I saw San Francisco (1936) for the first time as a child (AND not in 1936 - much later on television) it scared the poop out of me. I have a hard time finding that type of uncontrollable force entertaining. Having lived just outside of Yellowstone, I have experienced several minor earthshakes, but hope to never see, feel or hear the real big deal.

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  13. Volcano scared the hell out of me....yikes! I have lived 26 miles away from a volcano-okay it was in the ocean off Adak Island. Sixteen earth tremors a day...not fun!

    Yes, that island rocked! lol

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  14. Of course I think of Earthquake with George Kennedy and the Sensurround that shok the movie theatre.

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  15. ARLEE BOID McBUDDY ~
    It was bound to happen eventually, I suppose: This is your first A To Z post in which I have not seen a single movie you mentioned.

    Off the top of my mind, this early in the morning, I can't recall even one earthquake movie I've ever seen.

    Having been born and raised in Los Angeles, however, I have experienced the real deal more times than I could count. I recall one earthquake, when I was very young - like 5th or 6th grade - when the shaking literally tossed me out of my bed and onto the floor. That one was pretty memorable, seeing as how I still remember it and I am now A LONG WAY DOWN THE ROAD from 5th or 6th grade.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

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  16. I must have missed all earthquake movies, except Dante's peak, that isn't really an earthquake movie (and yes, quite ridiculous). I'll have to see some of these!

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  17. I picked Earthquakes for my E word. Great minds think alike I guess. :-)

    http://mymorningcupofcoffee.blogspot.com/2013/04/a-z-big-one.html

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  18. Lee, thank you for hosting the A to Z. It's fun and challenging!

    When I was in college, I wrote a paper on the earthquake and fire of 1906. Most of the earthquakes we've experienced were during visits to California!

    Mary Montague Sikes

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  19. Hi Lee,

    Nice to see things are progressing well with your alphabet challenge.

    Your earthquake movie choices are the ones I would of thought of. I quite liked Dante's Peak.

    I experienced an earthquake in Vancouver in 1976. It felt like a truck was driving underneath the basement.

    Happy alphabeting, kind sir.

    Gary

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  20. I never saw Earthquake, but I remember all the hype about it when it first came out. I can't believe the first week of the challenge is almost over. It's better than ever!

    Julie

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  21. I'm not up on my earthquake movies - but there's a bigass tremor at the end of Arachnophobia...

    Hang-on... what about Tremors??

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  22. Hi, Lee - thank you for starting the Challenge! I'm a first-timer A to Z participant and a newbie blogger, and I'm having a great time.

    Haven't seen too many of the movies but am making a list.

    Barbara
    E is for Evidence Found in A to Z
    The Daille-y News

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  23. Tremors is a good one. I liked that movie. Earthquakes are often such a movie cliche, but I guess they work well for dramatic effect as well as symbolism. I don't think any of us want to be in the "Big One", but for entertainment's sake an earthquake can provide a fright or at least a cinematic thrill.

    Thanks for the comments so far. Keep 'em coming.

    Lee

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  24. There's one that came out recently with Ewan McGregor in it about the tsunami from Indonesia. That's "technically" an earthquake movie.

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  25. The 1936 San Francisco is one of my all time favorite classics. Glad you included it.

    Lee, please stop by my blog when you get a change. I left something for you there.

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  26. Blech. I hate typos. That should have been "get a chance."

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  27. Loved Dante's Peak. Ridiculous, yes? Entertaining, yes? Other than that I haven't seen many disaster movies.

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  28. Hmm...wouldn't an earthquake movie also be a disaster movie?

    Oh, what the heck? There are no rules for A to Z!

    LC

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  29. What a great idea! Movie genres! I love it! Gives me some ideas on movies I should see and some that maybe I should see again! Great posts! Looking forward to more!

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  30. I haven't seen any of these films, but enjoyed reading about them, none the less.

    I ran off to see if i could possibly find that music for you, but alas, no dice. I have a scene from a film from my childhood which is bereft of the film that owns it, and I have been searching for that film for many years, so I understand what it's like to have a part that's missing.

    Susan from SiouxsiesMusings visiting from the A to Z Blog Challenge.

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  31. I'd never really thought of the idea of an earthquake movie although I guess it fits into the disaster movie genre well. Great post though Lee.

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  32. Experiencing an Earthquake, must be as you say scary and exhilarating at the same time. I guess the closest I've been is watch you guys in California in the afterquake or on someone's video capture shown on CNN. That's close enough for me. Also have seen a couple of the movies.
    Sue~CollectInTexasGal
    AtoZ LoneStar Quilting Bee

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  33. I've only seen Volcano, which I liked. I'll have to check the others out. I don't know that I've seen any other films involving earthquakes.

    Lyre at Lyre's Musings

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  34. The Earthquake scene from Superman is a belter, I mean, the man of steel goes into the mantel and pushes the crust back up! :D

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  35. Loved "Dante's Peak". I have seen all the earthquake movies listed and watched many disaster documentaries.

    The San Francisco earthquake in the early 1990s still resonates with me. I don't think I will ever forget the footage and stories from that horrific event.

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  36. I honestly can't think of any other Earthquake movies. Slightly sad. I will have to watch Earthquake since apparently its a big hit.

    Elliot
    We Are Adventure

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  37. I can't say I've watched any of these! Though I believe I've seen excerpts from one of the San Francisco movies . . .

    I haven't had many real-life earthquake experiences. Maybe two or three, that I can remember; the most recent was the one that shook the eastern part of the USA (last year? The year before that?).

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  38. Thanks Lee,
    For another great A-Z year.

    I was in California sitting in a restaurant when the chandeliers began to swing and the chatter of the crowd became a silent hush. It made for quite a vacation story. Glad it wasn't the big one. Enjoyed your E post.

    Margot at A Devotional Mosaic and Spark My Creativity

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  39. i think i may have seen the 70's one--i can watch a disaster movie if it isn't based on a true story

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  40. Yes, earthquake movies are disaster movies, but the category is so big I thought earthquakes deserved their own listing. Besides I needed an "e" genre.

    Thanks for the additional comments. I'm lovin' 'em.

    Lee

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  41. I liked the one in the TV series of Shogun. It seemed realistic to me.

    JO ON FOOD, MY TRAVELS AND A SCENT OF CHOCOLATE

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  42. Thought I'd pop by and ask how you feel about putting us all through this, and what do I find? You've blogged the same E-word as me! Not content with invading the time I had put aside for my re-write, you have to go and steal my word as well. Damn cheek I call it!

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  43. Saw the 1997 movie. Enjoyed it.

    I lived in San Diego several years back and did not experience a major quake. What we experienced was an aftershock or something. Weird feeling the office sort of roll from the ground beneath my feet.

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  44. Can't think of any films at the top of my head but I remember at 6 or 7 yrs old being in SoCal's 6.0 earthquake.

    Chontali Kirk
    chontalikirk.blogspot.com

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  45. I might have seen one of those. I had no idea so many movies about earthquakes had been made.

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  46. I live in earthquake country, so I don't really need to see a movie about them. :) Unique pick though!

    The A to Z blog said in the latest post to add a link to your own A to Z blog in the comments, so here's mine: kristenhead.blogspot.com

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  47. You gotta love a good earthquake... but only in the movies.

    Mind you, in light of some shaking going on up north of me I've got my earthquake kit all ready!

    Great E post!

    Jenny @ PEARSON REPORT

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  48. We have earthquakes here in Indiana but they have less destructive effect due to our being landlocked so they say. The force of the quake is distributed over a larger area so we feel very little in the way of devastation, just a little ground shaking every once in a while.

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  49. An interesting take for "E"
    A few little earthquakes nothing notable
    I'm sure there have been a few other movies but can't remember them off hand


    ... and thanks for doing this for all of us to enjoy!!!

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  50. Lizy you are so silly!

    Thanks to all of you for stopping and adding to the list or just dropping in to let me know you were here. Love the comments!

    Lee

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  51. The 1974 Earthquake reminded me of one of those Irwin Allen disaster movies! :)

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  52. The only one from this list that I've missed is 'Old San Francisco'. I'll have to look for that. I've been to California 6 times, and there were 6 earthquakes - 1 each time I was there. The largest one was enough to wobble the Denny's I was having breakfast in on my way to the airport. :)

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  53. Great post very interesting. I am following from blogging A to Z. I just added you on GFC.

    A MOM'S POINT OF VIEW
    http://www.AMomsPointOfView.com

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  54. DL -- It was certainly of the same era.

    DarcNina -- Earthquakes are something I never really get used to. You never know whether it's the prelude to the big one. I hate it when earthquakes happen at night and then I can't go back to sleep.

    Kimmy -- Thank you for stopping in.

    Lee

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  55. Hi Arlee,
    Good to be here again!
    Hey, you missed my B Day greetings post at my page LOL
    E for Earthquake we at Confidentlivingmagarticles posted the same subject hey but not on movies LOL
    Good list to check out
    Thanks for sharing
    Good Wishes Again
    Keep in touch
    I am
    Phil @ Philipscom
    An ambassador to A to Z Challenge @ Tina's Life is Good
    And My Bio-blog

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  56. Volcano is really one of my favorites. Very power special effects!

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  57. Have seen and enjoyed all of those except the really old ones. I've been in an earthquake, which is extremely rare in CO. It was back in my collage days, and very mild, yet it was an interesting experience.



    Tina @ Life is Good
    Co-host, April 2013 A-Z Challenge Blog
    @TinaLifeisGood, #atozchallenge

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  58. My husband's uncle--a born and bred San Franciscan and author (The Golden Gate and other historical books), walked us around SF to show us places effected by the big quake and fire. Living in quake territory, movies about it don't appeal to me much.

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