18
Oct 04

FT Top 100 Films: 16. The Cassandra Crossing

Do You See + FTPost a comment • 1,309 views

What with Team America: World Police coming out in the US this week, much has been said about Super-Marionation of late. After the stupendous errors of the Thunderbirds film it seems that puppets may well often be the way to go in films. Which may explain a lot about the acting in The Cassandra Crossing, possibly the most preposterous of the disaster movies of the 1970’s. Wooden is not the word.

The film opens with Lord Lew Grade’s IPC logo which is about as bad a start as a film can have (Raise The Titanic anyone?). Then it swoops in on some very very anonymous UN style building which is the antithesis of exciting. However we soon see some criminals breaking into a top secret installation of some description. Hold the excitement though: they are not sexy thieves – rocking the cream polo-neck look. Anyway disaster strikes, our fella escapes but not before he catches ver PLAGUE. Bubonic natch.

If you were going to escape with your body riddled with plague, the only way to travel is by train. And indeed you do, with a bunch of z-list celebs (including OJ Simpson whose film career has died down a touch of late). They should include cheeky chap oldsters, dynamic younger types for the stunts and a few kids for dramatic effect. They should include that, but the CC is low on dynamic younger types, making do with a pre-heart attack Martin Sheen and an over the hill Burt Lancaster locked in a control room. The dilemma: stop the train and risk plague all over Europe. Let the train keep going and watch it, er , fall off at The Cassandra Crossing and spread plague across Europe.

A good disaster movie is a smorgasborg of soap opera, action movie and often social commentary. The Cassandra Crossing is more of a mix between Triangle, Thomas The Tank Engine and a programme telling us how bad the “Narzi’s” were. Thrilling, breathless, stunning: all words that do not describe the pounding tedium of the Cassandra Crossing.

It is therefore, very, very funny.

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