A cruise ship succumbs to a terrorist act and capsizes on New Year's eve. A rag-tag group of survivors, spearheaded by a priest and a homeland security agent, must journey through the upside down vessel and attempt an escape.
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 <email@example.com>
Opening credits prologue: At midnight on New Year's Eve, the S. S. POSEIDON, enroute from New York to Athens, met with disaster and was lost. There were only a handful of survivors. This is their story. . . See more »
The Poseidon Adventure has gotten its reputation as the best of all the disaster films of the seventies, not just for the Special Effects good as they are. It's that select group of people trying to survive, they're a bunch you do get to care about even though some of them can be annoying as all get out.
The film is an adaption of Paul Gallico's novel which was written in the Thirties, but it was updated to the present for the film. While on the luxury liner Poseidon as a New Year's Eve Party goes on, Captain Leslie Nielsen takes note of an undersea earthquake and the tidal wave that will hit the ship in about fifteen minutes. But he's certainly not prepared for the wall of water that smacks the Poseidon broadside and capsizes it.
Before the big event and the special effects that got The Poseidon Adventure its Oscar in that department we are introduced to the group of people who elect to try and climb up to the keel of the capsized Poseidon while the rest remain in the grand ballroom. Leading the group is minister Gene Hackman and the rest are married couples, Jack Albertson and Shelley Winters, Ernest Borgnine and Stella Stevens, musician/singer Carol Lynley, hypochondriac Red Buttons, steward Roddy McDowell, and teenager Pamela Sue Martin and her little brother Eric Shea.
You do get wrapped up and sucked into the conflicts especially with Ernest Borgnine who's simultaneously got a war going with Gene Hackman and with his wife Stella Stevens. She's an ex-hooker who he busted several times and eventually married. He's got a rambunctious nature and Borgnine provides a lot of the interest here.
Jack Albertson and Shelley Winters are the typical elderly Jewish couple who are on a trip to Israel to visit the grandchild they've never seen. They're a calming and steadying influence on the others. So is Red Buttons who finds courage he never thought he possessed and he helps Lynley out who's devastated at the loss of her brother who was in the band performing at the New Year's Eve Party.
Gene Hackman as a minister takes his gospel from that noted skeptic Benjamin Franklin who said that God helps those who help themselves. For those who believe in a divine plan, he seems divinely sent to get these people to safety. Not all of them make it though.
The Poseidon Adventure got another Oscar for Best Song for The Morning After. Maureen McGovern's recording of that tune was playing everywhere in 1972. It's one of the few Academy Award winning songs that is still prized and remembered over the last 40 years.
Maybe Irwin Allen did a wise thing by not directing the film and letting Ronald Neame do it. Spectacle is great and I love it, but a good story with characters you care about is what makes the Poseidon Adventure the fine film it is.
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