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Earthquake Blu-ray

United States
Universal Studios | 1974 | 122 min | Rated PG | Jun 04, 2013

Earthquake (Blu-ray)
Large:


Video
Codec: VC-1 (31.61 Mbps)
Resolution: 1080p
Aspect ratio: 2.35:1
Original aspect ratio: 2.39:1

Audio
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit)
French: DTS 5.1
English: DTS 5.1
Note: English DTS 5.1 designate...

Subtitles
English SDH, Spanish

Discs
50GB Blu-ray Disc
Single disc (1 BD)

Playback
Region free

Price
List price: $19.98, Price history
Amazon: $11.49 (Save 42%)
New from: $11.48 (Save 43%)
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Movie rating
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
6.5
47
ratings.


Blu-ray rating
Video 3.2 of 53.2
Audio 3.8 of 53.8
Extras 0.2 of 50.2
Based on 6 user reviews

Movie appeal

 
Action100%
Drama100%
Thriller100%
39%
popularity
265
collections
16
fans




Earthquake

 (1974)

Earthquake Blu-ray offers decent video and solid audio in this enjoyable Blu-ray release

This prime example of the Seventies cycle of disaster movies centres on the repercussions of a massive earthquake that rips Los Angeles apart. Amongst those attempting to restore order are construction engineer Stewart Graff (Charlton Heston) and streetwise cop Lew Slade (George Kennedy), whilst construction company owner Sam Royce (Lorna Greene) struggles to escape from his own devastated building.

For more about Earthquake and the Earthquake Blu-ray release, see Earthquake Blu-ray Review published by on where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.

Starring: Charlton Heston, Ava Gardner, George Kennedy, Lorne Greene, Genevičve Bujold, Richard Roundtree
Director: Mark Robson

» See full cast & crew


Earthquake Blu-ray, Video Quality

  3.0 of 5

Cinematographer Philip H. Lathrop was nominated for an Oscar for his beautiful widescreen imagery of Earthquake, a demanding task that required him to harmonize minitatures, opticals and full-scale practical effects into a convincing whole. Universal's 1080p, VC-1/encoded Blu-ray presentation of Lathrop's work is certainly watchable and, in some circles, might even be considered superior—that is, unless you are one of those finicky viewers who happens to like the look of film.

Let's start with the positives. The image is generally sharp and detailed, remarkably so for the anamorphic lenses and film stocks of this particular era. (Hold that thought for a moment.) The blacks are solid and deep, which is essential for the night scenes and the extended sequences in tunnels and underground. The colors are vivid, varied and well-saturated, which is crucial to the look of Southern California and the frequently hilarious Seventies fashions. My viewing companion remarked on the darkness of many of the fleshtones, but in this era in California, dark tans were the norm. People worried far less about sun damage than they do today. Some of the characters (e.g., Genevičve Bujold's Denise) are meant to be fair-skinned, and they look the part.

Now let's talk about that sharpness. It isn't the natural look of the original cinematography. Rather, it's an electronically induced sharpness of the subtle kind that doesn't create edge halos but does distort the film's grain pattern so that it no longer moves in a smooth and natural fashion. Instead, we get what I call (and this is not a technical term) a "dirty" image, that is, an image with a thin layer of video noise that is most easily observed in light-colored expanses such as the sky. At its most extreme, this phenomenon causes portions of the frame to shimmer in a manner similar to aliasing, but fortunately these occasions are rare. In general, though, the entire Blu-ray looks as if someone had turned up the sharpness control on your TV set. On screencaps, the noise may not be readily evident; it is sometimes even mistaken for grain. In motion, it is unmistakable.

It's unfortunate that Universal seems to be continuing their efforts to make film look like video, because they're doing everything else right. They've put Earthquake on a BD-50, allowed it a generous average bitrate of 31.61 Mbps and avoided any compression artifacts. The "dirty" video noise isn't a dealbreaker, but why add it in the first place?


Earthquake Blu-ray, Audio Quality

  3.5 of 5

Earthquake was the first of four films released theatrically in "Sensurround", a short-lived venture between Universal and speaker manufacturer Cerwin-Vega that attempted to enhance the theatrical experience by adding low frequency effects that were intended to be felt more than heard. The format was abandoned for a variety of reasons, including the cost to theater owners and the tendency for the Sensurround vibrations to damage ceilings, especially in older structures, and cause fragments of plaster to fall on patrons' heads.

Earthquake comes with two English-language tracks. One is a lossless DTS-HD MA 5.1, which is presumably based on the 6-track mix created for the 70mm release. The other is labeled as "DTS 2.1 with Sensurround". I switched back and forth between them while watching the film and ultimately preferred the 2.1 track, because the 5.1 track has the dialogue mixed too low.

I never experienced Sensurround in a properly equipped theater, but those who did have been disappointed with the home theater equivalent, which uses the system's low-frequency "control tones" to indicate a deep bass presence but doesn't vibrate the environment as the original system was intended to do. (For that, one would have to install a tactile transducer such as the d-Box system.) In any case, the bass extension on Earthquake's soundtrack is certainly impressive for a film of this vintage and will make good use of whatever subwoofer you have in your system to intensify the film's major disaster sequences. As I noted in my review of Battlestar Galactica, contemporary viewers are used to such things, so that they are no longer a novelty. Sonically, though, these sequences are still effective.

For the rest, the dialogue is clear, and John Williams' score strikes an effective note of urgency. The sounds of chaos are just as effective coming from the front speakers as they would be if they were spread all around.



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Earthquake Blu-ray, News and Updates



Earthquake Blu-ray - March 20, 2013

Universal Studios Home Entertainment has announced the Blu-ray release of director Mark Robson's 1974 disaster thriller Earthquake, which stars Charlton Heston, Ava Gardner and George Kennedy. Nominated for four Academy Awards (Best Cinematography, Best Editing, ...


Earthquake Blu-ray, Forum Discussions



Topic Replies Last post
Earthquake (1974) - June 4, 2013 (

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