Nothing to be Afraid of in Here

Disaster Hits of the 1970s and Escapist Fantasies of Today

Poster art for The Concord...Airport, '79. (Detail).

As the old studio system was collapsing (1970 was the worst financial year in Hollywood’s history), they got lucky and ran with a trend that worked. Irwin Allen’s The Poseidon Adventure and The Towering Inferno followed, and through the late-1970s, disaster movies were surefire hits. No matter how implausible or silly (Karen Black flies a 747 with a hole in the cockpit in Airport 1975), dozens of movie stars, new and old, put into perilous situations was what people wanted to see in the 1970s. So many things were changing so fast, almost all for the worse, and it was comforting to see so many famous people in danger.

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Nicky Otis Smith is a filmmaker and writer. He was born and raised in New York City and has lived in Baltimore since 2003.

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