But not soon enough…

Pick a form of soggy melodrama: personal, family based, marriage, legal, business; When Time Ran Out has it. The overwritten conflict doesn’t cease, and time takes far too long to run out.

More modern disaster films focus on the threat. The science, the warnings, and foreshadowing disaster. When Time Runs Out does that, a little anyway. Paul Newman plays a worried oil driller, aware a Hawaiian volcano is preparing to blow, warning local businessman/hotel owner James Franciscus to evacuate people. He doesn’t listen, so cue the eruption, putting lives at risk.

If Hawaii is where the budget went, that’s When Time Ran Out’s egregious fault

Before the lava flows, tidal wave, and an earthquake, When Time Ran Out sputters along on grating love triangles and needless bit parts. The best is Burgess Meredith, who in an arduously long escape sequence across a bridge, uses his tightrope walking skills to save lives. The only drama is in how long the producers and creative team will keep that sequence going (too long, to be clear).

With a $20 million production cost, When Time Ran Out doesn’t look the part. Location cinematography rarely factors, keeping actors indoors. If Hawaii is where the budget went, that’s When Time Ran Out’s egregious fault, leaving no financial room for the visual effects. A decent miniature or two helps, but soon the dismal matte work and hilariously awful explosions (including a final one that kills off multiple main characters) erode any credibility.

It’s stiff and cheap enough to make the theatrical release utterly baffling; Irwin Allen was already dumping these projects as TV movies. Other than its aspect ratio, When Time Ran Out mirrors those generic offerings (Fire, Flood) in scale, tone, and style. Also, its ambition, and lack thereof.


Fantastic restoration efforts lead to this presentation, with all of its crispness and sharpness intact. Marvelous clarity resolves fine detail flawlessly, and of the movies in this Irwin Allen Master of Disaster Collection, When Time Ran Out looks crisp enough to stem from a 4K scan; Shout’s packaging states these are 2K masters, but this one is precise enough to suggest otherwise.

Splendid grain replication keeps When Time Ran Out appearing wholly natural and film-like. There’s an assist from the color reproduction, primaries rich and flesh tones dead on accurate.

Equally great black levels resolve excellent shadows. An early scene with the cast covered in oil challenges the presentation, handling both the men slathered in black and their slipping into actual shadows. Effective contrast lifts the early ’80s visuals flawlessly.


Stable, clear DTS-HD mono handles the orchestration of Lalo Schifrin’s score perfectly. Dialog has a mild harshness indicative of the age. However, the sound track remains entirely intact, without skips or dropouts.


Stills, the TV cut in SD, and just the deleted scenes from that version make up the bonus menu.

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

When Time Ran Out
  • Video
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A relentlessly soapy formula bogs When Time Ran Out down, but there’s a passable disaster movie occasionally showing through.

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The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 42 full resolution, uncompressed HD screen shots grabbed directly from the Blu-ray:

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