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The Poseidon Adventure (1972)

Cast: Paul Stader, Paul Stader, Gene Hackman, more...
Director: Ronald Neame, Ronald Neame
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Studio: 20th Century Fox
Genre: Action, Disaster Action, Adventure, Seafaring
Running Time: 117 min.
Languages: English, French
Subtitles: English, Spanish
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This title is currently out of print.

The Poseidon, an ocean liner larger than the Queens Elizabeth and Mary combined, is charting its course on New Year's Eve. Just after midnight, Captain Harrison (Leslie Nielsen) spots the mother of all tidal waves. It is the last thing that Harrison and practically everyone else onboard sees before drowning -- the Poseidon is turned upside down, with only a handful of survivors. The ten lucky ones -- including Mike Rogo (Ernest Borgnine), Linda Rogo (Stella Stevens), Acres (Roddy McDowall), Belle Rosen (Shelley Winters), and Manny Rosen (Jack Albertson) -- led by no-nonsense minister Frank Scott (Gene Hackman), desperately attempt to climb from the top of the ship (now submerged) to the bottom (now "the top"). The film's theme song, "The Morning After," sung by Maureen McGovern, earned an Oscar. In addition, The Poseidon Adventure received the Special Achievement Award for Special Effects; L.B. Abbott and A.D. Flowers were the recipients. A sequel, Beyond the Poseidon Adventure, came out in 1979. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

The 1970's disaster movie craze begins! by EPetersen May 30, 2004 - 10:28 AM PDT
3 out of 3 members found this review helpful
When legendary movie / TV producer Irwin Allen saw how successful the 1970 airplane disaster flick Airport was despite critical scorn, he decided he could make a better, more successful disaster picture. Allen was right, and The Poseidon Adventure was the result.

This disaster-at-sea story makes the Titanic look like a tipped-over canoe. The Poseidon is a gigantic passenger ship - a floating hotel. It's also on its last voyage, as age has taken a toll on the vessel. Add to the equation a poor, top heavy design, and, well, you know what's going to happen.

The Captain (Leslie Nielsen in a fine dramatic turn) receives a report of a massive earthquake on the ocean floor that the Poseidon will soon pass over. He wants to take an alternate route, but the ship company suit on board insists that the Captain follow the approved route to save time and money. (Corporate greed and government penny-pinching are always the main causes of disaster in Irwin Allen's movies.)

When the Poseidon passes over the earthquake zone, the quake unleashes a monstrous tidal wave that slams into the ship, capsizing it and causing it to float upside-down on the water. One of the passengers, an outspoken, liberal minister (Gene Hackman in top form) leads the rescue efforts.

The Poseidon's guest list is a who's who of great actors, including Shelley Winters, Jack Albertson, Roddy McDowall, and Red Buttons. Ernest Borgnine has a meaty co-starring role as a loudmouthed cop on board along with his equally-loudmouthed ex-prostitute wife. They provide most of the comedy relief.

The Poseidon Adventure is packed with great special effects, especially the tidal wave scene. The screenplay is tight and suspenseful. All of the many characters are well-developed. There are no stereotypes or cardboard caricatures. Most importantly, the script is believable.

When it was released in 1972, The Poseidon Adventure bested Airport in terms of both critical acclaim and box office ticket sales. Producer Irwin Allen would continue the disaster movie craze he'd begun, with The Towering Inferno, Fire, Flood, and other movies and TV miniseries. Leslie Nielsen would later lampoon disaster films in the 1980 comedy classic Airplane!

Technically speaking, this a beautiful 2:35:1 widescreen DVD transfer. The print has been digitally remastered and looks better than ever.

If you want to see the 1970's disaster flick that started the craze, rent this movie!

- Eric Petersen

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 6.37)
90 Votes
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