The Cassandra Crossing 1976 ***

George P Costmatos’s 1976 film marked the start of the slow decline of the disaster movie; it’s the kind of all star extravaganza that defies logic and credulity, but the packaging is consistently entertaining. Richard Harris play a divorced couple who end up by chance on the same trail; they’ve picked the worst possible transportation, since there’s a plague carrier on board, not to mention a seriously weakened bridge to negotiate. There’s also a motely collection of actors doing their thing, including OJ Simpson, Martin Sheen, Ava Gardner and John Phillip Law. McKenzie (Burt Lancaster) is trying to cover up the outbreak, with disastrous results; Cosmatos is intent on using the tropes of a conspiracy thriller to knit the disparate elements together, and the result is chaotic but enjoyable; continually on rotation on British and American television throughout the eighties, The Cassandra Crossing is one of these daft films indelibly branded into the consciousness of several generations.



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