Joe Schallan has posted on PUBLIB a very funny review of The Day After Tomorrow. (Apparently the movie features NYPL librarians doing heroic stuff, though in my opinion, any librarian who works with the public is automatically granted hero status.) The best part of Joe’s review is his mini-recap of seventies disaster movies and why watching national landmarks blowed up real good is just so satisfying. But Joe neglects to mention the one film that I consider the apex of the celebrity-disaster genre:
Who can resist? Not only does it have the requisite stock characters ala the original Airport and The Poseidon Adventure (Linda Blair as a teenager with a wonky kidney, and George Kennedy as the cigar-chomping, uh–chomper), it also has the one star who almost singlehandedly gave seventies B-movies their delightfully cheesy glaze: Charlton Heston. I’m not talking about the Academy-Award-winning, Moses-robe-wearing Charlton Heston (though the site of barrel-chested, loinclothed Heston is cheesy in and of itself), I’m talking about the Charlton Heston who falls in love with the Angela Davis clone in The Omega Man or snarls at Maurice Evans in an orangutan outfit in Planet of the Apes. In Airport 1975, not only does Heston do that creepy/hip love-patter to Karen Black as he did to Rosalind Cash in Omega Man, he’s actually inserted into the cockpit through a broken windshield in an attempt to land the damaged 747.
And who’s piloting the injured plane? Karen Black. Five Easy Pieces Karen Black. Trilogy of Terror Karen Black. Who else could make sheer terror look so luscious and comical at the same time? But the real horror is that in the movie, she’s a flight attendant who’s actually in love with Heston. If I were her, I would have taken my chances and tried landing the plane myself….