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This trend would continue with The Deadly Mantis (1957), The Day the Earth Caught Fire (1961) and Crack in the World (1965).Volcanic disasters would also feature in films such as The Devil at 4 O'Clock (1961) starring Spencer Tracy and Frank Sinatra, and the 1969 epic Krakatoa, East of Java starring Maximilian Schell.The competing films enjoyed staggering success at the box office, with The Towering Inferno earning 6 million - 548 million in 2017 adjusted dollars, Earthquake million - 376 million in 2017 adjusted dollars, and Airport 1975 million - 235 million in 2017 adjusted dollars - in theatrical rentals.Arguably the greatest of the 1970s disaster films, The Towering Inferno was a joint venture of 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros.The genre came to particular prominence during the 1970s with the release of high-profile films such as Airport (1970), followed in quick succession by The Poseidon Adventure (1972), Earthquake (1974) and The Towering Inferno (1974).The casts were generally made up of familiar character actors.The drama San Francisco (1936) depicted the historic 1906 San Francisco earthquake, while In Old Chicago (1937) recreated The Great Chicago Fire which burned through the city in 1871.

Directed by Ronald Neame and starring Gene Hackman, Ernest Borgnine, Shelley Winters and Red Buttons, the film detailed survivors' attempts at escaping a sinking ocean liner overturned by a giant wave triggered by an earthquake.Disaster themes are almost as old as the film medium itself. Origins of the genre can also be found in In Nacht und Eis (1912), about the sinking of the Titanic; Atlantis (1913), also about the Titanic; Noah's Ark (1928), the Biblical story from Genesis about the great flood; Deluge (1933), about tidal waves devastating New York City; King Kong (1933), with a gigantic gorilla rampaging through New York City; and The Last Days of Pompeii (1935), dealing with the Mount Vesuvius volcanic eruption in 79 AD.John Ford's The Hurricane (1937) concluded with the striking sequence of a tropical cyclone ripping through a fictional South Pacific island.Once the disaster begins in the film, the characters are usually confronted with human weaknesses, often falling in love and almost always finding a villain to blame.The genre experienced a renewal in the 1990s boosted by computer-generated imagery (CGI) and large studio budgets which allowed for more focus on the destruction, and less on the human drama, as seen in films like 1998's Armageddon and Deep Impact.

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