Not long ago, producer Irwin Allen let it be known that he was getting out of the "disaster movie" business. After bombs like "The Swarm" and "Beyond the Poseidon Adventure," he could tell this format was a thing of the past. The age of "The Towering Earthquake Hurricane Inferno" were over.
Quaintly, however, Allen has based his latest movie on a book called "The Day the World Ended." If that's not a disaster, what is? Actually, it isn't the world that ends in the film. It's just an island that happens to contain (a) a luxury hotel and (b) an active volcano. Do you want to hear more? I didn't think so.
I took my nine-year-olds to "When Time Ran Out. . ." and even they were struck by the triteness of the thing. "That's just like "The Poseidon Adventure ,'" whispered one of them, as a party of escapees edged over a pool of burning lava on a rickety bridge -- you know, like the bridges Laurel and Hardy used to move pianos across.
The presence of Paul Newman doesn't help, though the presence of Jacqueline Bissett almostm helps. Also on hand are William Holden, Ernest Borgnine, James Franciscus, Edward Albert, and a mountain with a crater in the top that shoots great balls of fire at the helpless hotel. Incidentally, when Paul Newman gets trapped near a blown-out oil well, the gobs of oil drip decorously down the sides of his face so we can still see his handsome features. What a silly movie this is.