The Great Los Angeles Earthquake
A scientist doing some checks finds out there has been ground movement recently. Then the movie shows some people that have just ridden an earthquake ride at one of the studios. There's another scientist (a woman) out to prove a theory about earthquakes. (A lot of these films either have a man or a woman out to prove his or her own theory earthquakes.) They have a Mexican worker whose family also figures into the movie.
She gets back to work at the seismology department of some university and is told there was a 4.3 point earthquake at Bombay Beach. There's one very annoying guy that doesn't want to believe her theory or anything she says, really. She wants a warning put out, and he says no.
There's a lot of time taken up with couple relationships such as the woman scientist and her landscape designer husband, and a cop and a young woman that loves him, but is opposed by her mother. There's also a shyster land developer. There's also a sensationalist television show guy, and an important government minister from some other country all involved in one way or another with the earthquake when it actually happens. There's also a very stupid additional plot about a guy that wants to assassinate the minister.
Also, the guy who opposes the woman scientist is in league shyster land developer.
Then the La Brea Pits start acting up. Then other things start happening, smaller earthquakes. Even though her theory looks like it's going to be proven, and a major earthquake will hit L.A., her boss tells her political pressure is heavy to get her to back off on what she is saying.
Finally the evidence becomes enough that she is able to say the big earthquake is on its way. The shysters and the politicians still try to stall things, but it gets out of their hands and then the earthquake hits. The effects scenes are done well. The film also gives a good idea of just how bad such a quake would be, how many would be killed, and how difficult the immediate aftermath would be.
The movie also shows that a lot of the danger will come from the aftershocks. I think the following gives an example of what could happen.
The physical quality of the film is not the greatest, but the way it handles the actual reality of what would lead up to a major earthquake, including the shyster politicians who want to keep the public ignorant, the effects of the earthquake itself, the effects of the aftershocks, and the massive destruction and loss of live that would occur are done well, along with the fact that immediately afterwards getting away would be about impossible, and getting help would be almost as impossible.