Saturday, 22 February 2014

Film Review: The Poseidon Adventure

I mentioned last week that Valentine's Day is pretty much just an excuse to get some more films and treat ourselves to Chinese. The film we ended up watched was the oh-so-romantic (at least compared to my gift: The Wolverine) 1972 version of The Poseidon Adventure.

They don't make film posters like that anymore, do they?

This is a film in the same sort of genre as Towering Inferno. In fact, Towering Inferno could probably have been described as The Poseidon Adventure, in a tower, on fire! Basically, a big cruise ship is carrying a bunch of passengers on New Year's Eve is struck by a massive wave which flips the whole ship upside down. The passengers, most of whom are trapped in the ballroom, are faced with only one way off the boat; they must climb up (or should that be down?) to the very bowels of the ship to attempt to find their way our through the hull.

Among the passengers trying to make their escape are a young boy, a reverend, an elderly couple (one of whom was once a champion swimmer - a useful skill on a capsized ship) and three young women, all of whom are wearing hot pants!

Considering it's dramatic subject matter, it feels a little like a comedy to begin with. Helped along by the fact that Leslie Nielsen (yup, the Leslie Nielsen of Airplane! and the Naked Gun films) plays the Captain of the Poseidon. Even though he's playing it straight, you can't help but kind of expect him to start doing something funny.

When the film first started I commented to Mr Click, That guy looks like Leslie Nielsen. Five minutes on IMDB later I commented again, That's because that is Leslie Nielsen.

I vaguely remember watching this film when I was quite small. I must've been about eight-ish because I know it stuck with me when we were going on holiday, a holiday which involved a trip on a ferry. I may or may not have decided on the best way to get off the ferry in the event that it flipped over.

I've maybe seen it two or three times since then, but that was a long time ago, so most of this film felt new to me. But at the same time, I kept on remembering bits moments before or just as they happened. I didn't really remember much of the beginning, presumably because it wasn't as exciting to an eight-year-old as the bits with the ship upside down. All the bits while they battled against the water and fire and bits of broken boat.

It is kind of funny in places. The action kicks off during the New Year's party so obviously the women are dressed in their party best. These outfits aren't practical to climb up a Christmas tree to escape the ballroom, so skirts are ripped off and they spend the rest of the film wearing their hot pants.

No one is really safe in this film either. People you don't expect to die kick the proverbial bucket, while those that you think will probably croak manage to survive to the end. I don't want to spoil it for anyone who hasn't seen the film, but one death, even though I remembered that it was coming, still hit me. It's tragic and sad.

And it's an all star cast. It's not just got Leslie Nielsen in it; there's Charlie Bucket's Grandpa, Jack Albertson; Gene Hackman, Shelley Winters, Roddy McDowell. Lots of names that mean more to me now as an adult than they ever would've when I first watched it.

Plus, I also feel I should mention the music in the film. Like Towering Inferno there's a song playing while everyone's partying before the disaster hits. I love the hints at the impending disaster in the words of the song, sung by Maureen McGovern.


  1. Disaster movie classic! Just avoid the sequel, Beyond The Poseidon Adventure. Not even Michael Caine can save that one from sinking. And yeah, sadly the posters back then were far better than posters now.

    1. You know, now you've said that I feel like I have to check it out, purely out of morbid curiosity!

      And I just love the whole 'HELL UPSIDE DOWN' bit across the top of the poster. Classic.

      We ended up watching it again yesterday.


Let me know what you think. :-)