Earthquake (film #470 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: News]

This film documents the 1971 Southern California earthquake wtih a focus on the rescue efforts. Federal disaster relief had just been increased and the Office of Emergency Preparedness formed, and the film shows how they addressed their first major disaster. The film is very straightforward and unemotional in its presentation and it all has that kind of depressing 70s feel to it, from the days when it seemed like every film and tv show was filmed on location in the ghetto. Still, some scenes are moving, some are disturbing, and there's even one funny scene: Office workers at some government agency get into an office in a building that was hit by the quake and find a big mess, including emergency preparedness brochures scattered all over the floor. One guy says, "Where's the disaster plan?" and a woman replies, "It's under all this junk somewhere!" A wonderfully ironic moment in a film that is otherwise slow-moving and turgid. Be aware that there are some brief scenes of bloody injured people, corpses, and body parts that may be upsetting to some people––these are quite brief and infrequent, though.

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: N/A (though the moment in the office gets ***). Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: *****. Overall Rating: ***.

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