| Along-side Irwin Allens "The Poseidon Adventure" and "The Towering Inferno", Mark Robsons "Earthquake" is one of the biggest of the all-star disaster movies of the 1970s.
The film (originally to be called "Earthquake 1980") uses the multi-story angle to gather a diverse group of Los Angelinos together after a 9.9 earthquake levels most of L.A.
Charlton Heston heads up the cast as Stewart Graff with Ava Gardner as his wife, Remy. Playing Hestons illicit love interest Denise is Genevieve Bujold. Lorne Greene is Sam Royce, Remys father and Stewarts boss. George Kennedy plays tough-as-nails policeman, Lew Slade. Richard Roundtree is an Evel Kenievel-like motorcyclist.
Universal gathered some of the best special effects artists in the business such as Albert Whitlock for over 40 matte paintings to be used to depict L.A. in ruins and Clifford Stine handled the many miniatures. A record 141 stunt persons were employed for the many harrowing scenes of panic stricken crowds. The movie was filmed in and around Los Angeles, but mostly in the Hollywood area. The movie introduced the sound system "Sensurround", which was low frequency sound waves blasted out of speakers behind the screen and in the rear of the theater. It was quite effective and was used in 2 other Universal films: Rollercoaster and Midway.
The movie was released on November 15th, 1974 and was hailed for its effects, but lambasted for its weak script.
When shown on NBC's "Big Event" in October, 1976, several dropped scenes were added and new scenes filmed to make it a 2 night showing. A whole new story line was filmed with Debralee Scott and Sam Chew as newlyweds on a flight to L.A. that trys to land at LAX during the quake.