A passenger ship, on her way to the scrap yard is pushed to her limits by the new owners to save on the dismantling fees. A tidal wave hits her, flipping her over so that all the internal rooms are upside down. A priest takes a mixed band of survivors on a journey through the bowels of the ship in an attempt to survive. Written by
John Vogel <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Paul Gallico was inspired to write his novel by a voyage he made on the Queen Mary. When he was having breakfast in the dining room, the liner was hit by a large wave, sending people and furniture crashing to the other side of the vessel. He was further inspired by a true incident which occurred aboard the Queen Mary during World War II. Packed with American troops bound for Europe, the ship was struck by a gargantuan freak wave in the North Atlantic. It was calculated that if the ship had rolled another five inches, she would have capsized like the Poseidon. See more »
In a few shots in the wheel house, blue screen is seen outside the windows. See more »
The 1970's were the heyday of disaster films and this was one of the better ones. An overacting all-star cast graced the screen in all of them. THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE was the very first big-budget moneymaker that spawned a whole slew of knock-offs involving tidal waves, fires, hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, and volcanoes. It is also arguably the best. Producer Irwin Allen was the mastermind behind most of them, known for spending millions of dollars on special effects and his big-name stars.
A simple plot: a tidal wave knocks a ship upside down and a handful of survivors have to climb to the bottom of the ship at the surface before the ship sinks. They are led by a fanatical preacher (Gene Hackman) who conflicts with an ex-cop (Ernest Borgnine) and his ex-hooker wife (Stella Stevens). Jack Albertson (WILLY WONKA) and Shelley Winters are an elderly Jewish couple who are on their way to see their new grandchild. Pamela Sue Martin (TV's Nancy Drew) and Eric Shea (like Bobby Brady, but more annoying) are brother and sister on their way to meet their parents. Roddy McDowall (a fantastic actor) is wasted as a ship hand who dies rather quick. Red Buttons (PETE'S DRAGON) is an elderly gentleman who helps the ship's lounge singer (Carol Lynley) retain her sanity. Arthur O'Connell is a strict reverend who refuses to go along with Hackman. Leslie Nielsen makes a cameo as the ship's captain who dies during the tidal wave.
The cast really isn't very important, it's the special effects and on-going tension that makes the film so much fun. I absolutely love the claustrophobic and wet feeling that is so important to the execution of the film. While a lot of the acting hasn't aged well (Shelley Winters, Gene Hackman and Ernest Borgnine are especially guilty of overacting!), the special effects aren't too cheesy and the entire set of the ship is wonderfully well-made, still standing as an achievement on its own. Lots of unintentional humor abounds (the obese Shelley Winters swimming underwater, displaying her underpants clinging to her bulbous buttocks), which makes the viewing experience all the more enjoyable. The theme song, "The Morning After", won an Oscar and is rather lightweight, but highly listenable.
THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE definitely does have some twists and turns that surprise the viewer (not everyone gets out alive) and holds the audience's attention throughout the entire thing, even though things do get a little soap opera-ish at times. This makes a great double bill with THE TOWERING INFERNO, which I find a better picture, but POSEIDON is a very fun viewing and is, if anything, a great movie to watch if you have 2 hours to kill.
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