Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5. Canada/USA, 1980. International Cinema, Warner Bros.. Screenplay by Carl Foreman, Stirling Silliphant, based on the novel The Day The World Ended by Gordon Thomas, Max Morgan Witts. Cinematography by Fred J. Koenekamp. Produced by Irwin Allen. Music by Lalo Schifrin. Production Design by Philip M. Jefferies. Costume Design by Paul Zastupnevich. Film Editing by Edward A. Biery, Freeman A. Davies. Academy Awards 1980.
Most of Irwin Allen’s disaster epics are laughably corny, but it’s important to distinguish between the ones that are fun to sit through and those that are a chore. Despite a bland plot and some poor visual effects, this one’s bright colours and game cast make it easy enough to endure, particularly if you are turned on by the kitsch factor. William Holden shows up at a south Pacific island resort that he has recently built, accompanied by his beautiful secretary (Jacqueline Bisset) whom he hopes to make his seventh wife. He doesn’t realize that she is actually still in love with ex-boyfriend Paul Newman, an oil rigger on a nearby site who is thinking to pull his crew out thanks to warnings by scientists that the nearby volcano is set to blow. The hotel’s co-owner James Franciscus insists that there’s nothing to worry about it, but when the mount starts to blow chunks and take out entire buildings, the locals get scared and start to run. There are lots of fun, loud sequences, particularly an exciting elevator ride into the depths of the volcano, but also a lot of ridiculous stunts (Burgess Meredith doing his high-wire act across a chasm is literally hilarious).