The film is divided equally between the resort and the disaster.

An obnoxious place, not strictly on the up and up, yahooism and dullness prevail, the imperious bastard (Rock Hudson) who lost his wife (Mia Farrow) building it inaugurates the opening festivities with, “have a nice day” (later on, even the Red Cross helicopters have a slogan).

A concerned photographer (Robert Forster) snags the wife for a darkroom tryst, lobs a squib or two at the impending danger, and is satisfied.

It comes down in a devastating mass.

Critics didn’t know what hit them, though with Roger Corman producing they ought to have been aware.

A highly amusing and well-wrought score by William Kraft has a Bernstein touch at first and last, a little like On the Waterfront.

Lewis Teague handles the avalanche sequence.


The Man Who Saw the Alligators
The Rockford Files

A mobster sent to San Quentin by Rockford comes back to get him. The script by David Chase is typically remarkable for its folding structure, Angel wants to bilk a church in Philly with charity gambling, the mobster’s boss wants vengeance because he had to do time in Atlanta since the original job wasn’t done, and Rockford has two other crises (oral surgery and a tax audit).

And out of all this arises a fine philosophical point or two, transcending the lot. Thinking he was to die in prison, and hating California in the worst way, the mobster has become deranged with hatred for the “beach boy,” though Lt. Becker points out this is still not “a giggler in a Napoleon hat.” His mother serves up a homecoming feast, but he becomes enraged, “this whole family is nothing but a digestive tract.” And he explains to Rockford that guys like him “eating cheeseburgers, football players drinking milk,” all make life “a toilet” to live in for such as he, there’s no living together possible for them in this world.

The title is explained in a burst of emotion when the mobster’s younger brother betrays him to the boss, there were alligators under the bed when the kid was little, but now (with Brooklyn torpedoes outside) it can be told, “they were real.”

Allen’s direction is the sharp, clean, quick, functional apparatus that catches every nuance of the prodigious acting in single increments and assembles the whole thing with perfect accuracy. He seems at first to borrow a device from Hitchcock’s Rope when Rockford ends a scene by turning his back in a striped shirt right to the camera, but this dissolves to an exterior day down-angle past the trailer’s striped awning onto Angel about to sneak in, cut to an up-angle of him opening the door with the awning above him as background, a picturesque and mysterious sort of usage suggesting instead William A. Berke’s Dick Tracy.