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Damnation Alley

1977       Jan-Michael Vincent

Twentieth Century-Fox's futuristic thriller, Damnation Alley which opened in Sound 360 in 1977, is the turbulent, suspenseful story of a tiny band of survivors making an incredible cross-country journey over a continent ripped by nuclear war. Jan-Michael Vincent, George Peppard, Dominique Sanda and Paul Winfield star in the new action-drama produced by Jerome M. Zeitman and Paul Maslansky. Directed by Jack Smight, Damnation Alley is based on Roger Zelazny's popular novel of the same name and was written for the screen by Alan Sharp and Lukas Heller. Hal Landers and Bobby Roberts, are executive producers. Spectacular in scope, the LandersRoberts-Zeitman Production is a tale of adventure and survival told against a backdrop ot nature gone absolutely mad. The filmmakers have called on the ultimate in movie special effects wizardry to conjure up the unimaginable dangers haunting the bizarre landscape. A great deal of research has been invested in the making of Damnation Alley Everything seen on the motion picture screen is in the realm of possibility and is presented with scientific accuracy. Jan-Michael Vincent

and George Peppard portray Air Force officers assigned to a sensitive spot in America's defense system. Without warning they not only witness, but take part in, the destruction of civilization. A psychologically mismatched pair, they are forced to team when they find themselves among the few who escape the holocaust.

"DAMNATION ALLEY," 20th Century-Fox's new futuristic survival film, marks the debut of Sound 3600, a technical innovation aimed at totally involving the audience in the movie's action.

"Good drama always strives to give the audience a feeling of participation," says Jack Smight, who directed Damnation Alley on the heels of his enormous success with "Midway." "Sound 360 has expanded the sound so that it now surrounds the audience. As the motion picture follows the adventures of four nuclear war survivors, viewers will hear the terrifying noises of a planet gone absolutely mad."

Burt Perry, technical advisor on the Sound 360 project, says, "The exciting success of the system is largely attributable to the scope allowed the director in his use of special technique and equipment for the recording of the magnetic sound tracks. He may call for a speech, or music, or effects, which move around the periphery of the audience area. For example, offstage characters may move about while talking to stage characters, a whirlwind may be made to swirl around the audience, or an airplane circle overhead. A band could be heard approaching from, say, right rear of the auditorium then circle to the left and finally appear on screen marching from left to right and off stage." According to producers Jerome M. Zeitman and Paul Maslansky, Damnation Alley was an ideal motion picture to showcase the intriguing possibilities of Sound36O. In the opening minutes of the picture, audiences find themselves in the center of a nuclear holocaust that virtually destroys the globe. As the environment deteriorates around a handful of survivors, played by Jan Michael Vincent, George Peppard, Dominique Sanda and Paul Winfield, viewers will be audibly engulfed by killer tornadoes, whirling floods, human-sized scorpions and gigantic roaches, to name just a few of the sounds projected by the new system. Adds Burt Perry, "It must be heard to be believed. It provides a magnificent new multidirectional sound quality. Sound in a theatre presently equipped for six of four magnetic track reproductions is now heard coming from any or all points of the compass with full screen quality in the theatre equipped with Sound 360. Theatre owners should be especially pleased to learn that installation is relatively simple, basically utilizing existing facilities. Also, there has been some concern about new sound systems actually being structurally dangerous when used in older theatres. That is no problem with our system. "It is fitting that 20th Century-Fox pioneered this development," Perry concludes. "Since it introduced 'Grandeur' large screen film in 1928, it has been a leader in the technical field, It brought us 'Cinemascope' stereophonic film in 1953 and has released many 70mm, six-track, large screen stereophonic films." Damnation Alley written for the screen by Alan Sharp and Lukas HeIler, is based on Roger Zelazny's novel. Hal Landers and Bobby Roberts were executive producers and Jerry Goldsmith created the music. Click here for more

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Damnation Alley

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