Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5. USA, 1976. Filmways Pictures, Universal Pictures. Screenplay by Edward Hume, based on the novel by George LaFountaine. Cinematography by Gerald Hirschfeld. Produced by Edward S. Feldman. Music by Charles Fox. Production Design by Herman A. Blumenthal. Costume Design by Irwin Rose. Film Editing by Walter Hannemann, Eve Newman. Academy Awards 1976.
Standard entry in the formula of disaster flicks that became popular after the success of movies like The Poseidon Adventure and The Towering Inferno, with a plot that could be described in ten words: lone gunman opens fire on packed stadium, causes noisy mayhem. While waiting for the five-minute climax that happens at the end, and which really is a masterful use of film extras, one can enjoy the diverting (though not fascinating) buildup of character detail as we get to know various members of the crowds who are attending the football game that the incident occurs at. We also watch as police officer Charlton Heston tries to decipher where the gunman is after he is warned by an anonymous phone call about the shooter. It seems to be an isolated incident that has no reason or motive behind it…but is that actually the case? The cast also includes Martin Balsam, Beau Bridges, Jack Klugman, Walter Pidgeon, John Cassavetes and his real-life wife Gena Rowlands (they were likely financing their latest indie drama by appearing here) and future B-movie director Andy Sidaris.