Saturday, December 20, 2014

FIRE (1977)

Showing up on network TV less than six month after Irwin Allen's previous disaster outing, FLOOD, FIRE tells the story of a forest fire caused by a work crew prisoner (Neville Brand) looking to make a cover for an escape attempt.  Soon, the fire is totally out of control and not only does it threaten Vera Miles' hotel and Ernest Borgnine's lumber mill, but also an entire nearby town.  So now it's up to Borgnine to drive all over the joint in his big truck wrecking into shit and saving everybody.

I liked FIRE quite a bit.  It was a big improvement over the lackluster FLOOD...the pace was quick, the acting much improved (the highlights being Miles and Borgnine), the special effects were better, impressive cast (Vera Miles, Ernest Borgnine, Lloyd Nolan, Alex Cord, Neville Brand, Eric Estrada, Patty Duke), the action scenes much more exciting, plus it just looked better.  Younger audiences would probably fall asleep, but it you have a soft spot of older TV movies then you should definitely check out FIRE.  Recommended.

Monday, December 8, 2014

FLOOD (1976)

Mildly interesting, mid-70's, made-for-TV disaster movie about the small town of Brownsville, who's entire economy depends on the fishing tourism dollar.  And what's the best way the get a lot of fishermen to spend money in your town?  Have a big ass body of water full of fish!  Unfortunately, Brownsville's big ass body of water full of fish is about to overflow the dam that's holding it back.  And if that happens...bye, bye Brownsville!

For an Irwin Allen production, I was hoping for a lot of excitement, but while the build-up was alright, the actual disaster itself was pretty lame.  The dam conveniently doesn't bust until nighttime, so the viewer really can't see much, just some lame miniature with water rushing over it.  Following that there's only a few unexciting scenes of people splashing around in waist high water.  Whoopee!

Good cast, passable story that could have used more tension, lots of helicopter footage, 1970's vehicles and fashions, pretty scenery, runtime padded with stock footage of real life floods.  If you're into older disaster movies then FLOOD is worth checking out, but most other people will probably be unimpressed.  My number one biggest gripe was Roddy McDowall's appearance was just a cameo!  That really pissed me off.

I've read that network publicity at the time said this film cost $2.5 million dollars.  Producer Irwin Allen and legendary TV director Earl Bellamy teamed up again the next year to make the much improved FIRE starring Ernest Borgnine, Vera Miles and Lloyd Nolan.