Flashback: ‘Meteor’ got its asteroid kicked 30 years ago

July 02, 2009 | 3:27 p.m.
Meteor 1979 poster

The great Karl Malden died Wednesday at age 97 in Brentwood and leaves behind a filmography dotted with classics such as “A Streetcar Named Desire” (for which he won an Oscar), “On the Waterfront,” “Patton,” “Birdman of Alcatraz,” “One-Eyed Jacks” and “The Cincinnati Kid.”

He, uh, also was in “Meteor.”

A disaster film in every way, “Meteor” brought together the talent of Sean Connery, Natalie Wood, Henry Fonda, Martin Landau, Malden and many others (too many in fact) to create a piece of inert space junk.

Think “Deep Impact” but even more shallow; imagine “Armageddon” without the special effects or the slow-motion astronaut strut.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the film and, well, nobody cares.

We now bring you the trailer for purely scientific reasons.

Malden is one of my favorite character actors. I loved “The Streets of San Francisco” too, with the killer theme song and the great banter between Malden’s senior inspector and the young-gun partner played by Michael Douglas (and later Richard Hatch, of “Battlestar Galactica fame). I’m also mesmerized by the 1977 “Streets” episode with Arnold Schwarzenegger as a dense immigrant bodybuilder who becomes an unintentional killer (he’s like an Austrian version of Lenny from “Of Mice and Men,” with massive pecs). Seriously, I’m not making this stuff up.

My Los Angeles Times colleague Dennis McLellan has written a fine obituary for Malden that does him justice (unlike this frivolous, fanboy-tilted blog post you’re reading) and I encourage you to read it and check out the late actor’s films if you haven’t seen them, especially his stellar work opposite Marlon Brando in “Waterfront,” “Streetcar” and the Brando-directed “One-Eyed Jacks.”

– Geoff Boucher

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