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The Cassandra Crossing




Right smack dab in the middle of the Seventies disaster movie craze came one of the more odd entries in the genre, 1976's THE CASSANDRA CROSSING.

Terrorists break into the World Health Organization in Geneva and in the midst of a gunfight, shatter vials of a deadly virus and are exposed.

One of the gunmen escapes (to much fanfare and one of Jerry Goldsmith's classic disaster flick scores) and boards a transcontinental train with 1000 people on board. Luckily, many of them are movie stars to make the journey more entertaining.

We have Richard Harris as Dr. Chamberlain, a handy guy to have on hand for an outbreak, Sophia Loren as his ex-wife, Ava Gardner as an aging wealthy cougar and Martin Sheen as her young, heroin addicted boyfriend.

Round that out with OJ Simpson as a priest (?) and Burt Lancaster on the ground as Mackenzie, the army man in charge of containing the deadly virus and you've got quite a cast.

The train is rerouted deep into Poland and it must cross an old, abandoned, massive bridge called the Cassandra Crossing to get to quarantine.

I lost count of how many times they showed the old dusty bridge and missing rivets with scary music playing loudly to herald the terror, but as long as they didn't let Anne Turkel (married to Richard Harris at the time) sing the god-awful, off key song she does at the beginning of the train ride, I was thrilled.

It's silly, its kind of exciting, has enough good sequences to hold your interest and a pretty spectacular last ten minutes.

But at the end of the ride, its not exactly a disaster movie classic. We'll call this train ride a C ticket.

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