Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Avalanche (1978)

A 1970s disaster movie starring Rock Hudson and Mia Farrow? Well, sign me up!

Rock Hudson is David, a ski lodge owner building a new home up in the mountains.  Mia Farrow is Caroline, David's ex-wife who is visiting him, for some reason I can't remember.  David is interesting in reconciling, but that doesn't stop him from sleeping with his secretary.

Nature photographer Nick has a cabin nearby and warns David of the possibility of an avalanche. Nick bases his concerns on concrete factors, like the weather, snow levels, and the clearing of trees which leaves the slopes prone to slides.  David and his security chief laugh off the warnings because Nick is just a wildlife loving photographer.

Later that evening in the fabulous disco bar, Nick approaches David with a second warning.  David scoffs in his general direction, and then turns green with envy when Caroline asks Nick to dance.  What David doesn't know is that a small slide has already occurred, but a pro skier escaped it by jumping into a tree.

The next day, a small plane crashes into the mountain and an avalanche ensues.  Watch for tons of stock footage, Styrofoam snow, and everyone - and I do mean everyone -  getting buried in the avalanche. I had forgotten that 70s disaster movies maim, injure, or kill everyone.  The avalanche hits the skiers, the crowd lining the slopes to watch them, the skating competition, Nick's cabin and the entire ski lodge. We are reminded that no one escapes unscathed when a small child is slammed into a fence by a Styrofoam blast of snow.

This has 70s pacing, which seems slow by today's standards, but I enjoyed it.  It's an unintentionally   silly movie.  One of the most ridiculous scenes is of David's mother, who is trapped in the lodge. The piano remains playable, and she plays a song before collapsing in a heap.  She also tries to dig out by using a chair, not the most useful digging implement.  There is also a woman who undresses outside in a snow storm before entering her playboy skier boyfriends condo.

If the print weren't washed out, the scenery would be amazing 
Wildlife photographer and manly man Nick 
This mean seems to be wearing a bad toupee.
The ski lodge bar is one happening place.
David is overcompensating for his jealousy
The fabulous ski competition
Watch out for primitive avalanche special effects
The biggest threat to those at the lodge?  Hunks of Styrofoam.

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