One of the most gripping disaster films of all time follows ten survivors as they struggle to escape from an ocean liner capsized by a tidal wave. Suspenseful terror, combined with the victims' intimate and personal storie... more »s, results in compelling and hear« less
"20th Century Fox missed the boat on this one. This movie holds up remarkably well considering most of the dialogue seems a bit dated now. Shelley Winters gives a good solid performance of the grandmother on the way to see her grandson in Israel. Hackman is a rebel priest, and Stella Stevens is the hooker made good by marrying cop Ernest Borgnine. Everyone is having a good time until disaster strikes. The special effects of the capsizing of the Poseidon were unsurpassed until Star Wars came along - and even then Lucas wasn't turning over a boat load of passengers. The grand piano crashing through mid air still gives me stomach pains. Yes, they don't compare to James Cameron's Titanic, but remember - they didn't have digital/computer technology back then. I still don't know how they did it. Which leads me to my next point.The real disaster is the treatment Fox gave the DVD. I didn't wait all these years for DVD technology to hear Dolby mono. The movie was originally released in stereo. Hearing all those screaming people from my center speaker doesn't cut it. Hearing John William's fine score, and the Academy Award winning "The Morning After" in mono is a real disappointment. I know there was a 'making of' documentary produced around the time the film was made. Why isn't it on the DVD? Why didn't we get a commentary track from some of the special effects wizards, cast, or director. They can't all be dead. Again, we waited for years for this to be released in a digital format, but my recommendation is to stick with the VHS version. At least that is in stereo."
Seen the special edition DVD which gives this classic a fant
Darren Harrison | Washington D.C. | 05/07/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Timed to coincide with the big-screen remake "Poseidon," 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment are releasing 2-disc special editions of two classic star-studded disaster movies, including the 1972 original "The Poseidon Adventure" starring Gene Hackman, Ernest Borgnine, Shelley Winters and Roddy McDowell among a crew of 15 Academy Award winners. Produced by the legendary Irwin Allen (who made a career in the 1970s of turning out big-budget disaster movies) the movie, based on a novel of the same name by Paul Gallico, tells the story of the aging liner Poseidon, which is hit by a 90-foot tidal wave that knocks her over on her final voyage from New York to Greece. Featuring impressive special effects for its time and excellent performances from its cast, the movie manages to rise above a trite script and corny dialogue as they travel through an upside-down world, into the bowels of the ship in the hope of rescue from above. Perhaps the main attraction of this movie is the sets, which effectively create a world turned on its head that leaves passengers walking on the ceilings of a maze of passageways and falling into what was just seconds before the roof of a giant ballroom. The movie proved to be a smash hit in 1972 and itself garnered nine Oscar nominations. The movie was previously released on DVD as a relatively bare-bones effort, an oversight which has been corrected here in what is a virtual embarrassment of riches for those of us who love to scour through the special features of those shiny discs. Alongside two audio commentaries, one featuring director Ronald Neame and a second with cast members Pamela Sue Martin, Stella Stevens and Carol Lynley are ten all-new featurettes that include a retrospective by the cast and crew and the AMC Backstory that looked behind the making of the movie. The longest of these short documentaries by far is the Backstory presentation that clocks in just short of a half-hour at 25:08 and details not just the fight by Allen to bring the novel to the screen, but also on-camera interviews with the likes of Roddy McDowell, Sheila Metthews Allen and Stella Stevens. Fox apparently was reluctant to finance the $5 million picture and tried to kill the movie even after work had started on it. It was up to Allen to raise half of the budget, something he managed when he interrupted two rich friends playing cards at the neighboring country club who said "Yes, but let us get back to the game." The two men subsequently became even more wealthy. The shortest documentary "Turning over the ship" on the effects shots in the picture is a mere 2:26. The other documentaries cover such elements as the song "The Morning After," the religious themes of the movie, how some of the scenes were created and a featurette, which this DVD shares with "The Towering Inferno," on writer Stirling Sillipant. Even given its short length at 6:27 is the featurette "The R.M.S. Queen Mary" which gives a fascinating history of the liner which served not only as a location for exterior shots of the "Poseidon" and the design of the ship, but also in the genesis of the idea for the novel. Apparently Gallico had taken a trip on the Queen Mary in the 1950s when it had been hit by a large wave. Tilting slightly plates and glasses went flying until the ship righted itself. Years later as Gallico sat down to write a novel the memory came back to him. Perhaps the most famous shot of the movie is of the character Terry falling from a table into the glass ceiling below. This stunt was performed by actor Ernie Osatti, who was asked to do it so the movie could say that a number of the stunts had been performed by the actors themselves. This is recounted by Osatti in the 4:09 documentary "Falling up with Ernie." Of the two commentaries the solo effort by Neame is the most involving with the director commending his cast for spending virtually an entire movie being "damped down" with hoses before practically every shot. Neame also reveals that he was "terrified" when he heard that Gallico would be seeing the movie because he had not stayed faithful to the novel, but was relieved to find out that the novelist loved the film. Neame also explained the use of the "title" on the front of the movie which would seem to a casual observer to be a spoiler. As the movie opens we learn from a blurb on the screen that "only a handful of survivors" made it through the capsized ship. As Neame tells us, this was included as a means of holding the audiences attention through the first 20 minutes of the picture as we are introduced to the impressive cast with the audience trying to figure out who will survive. The second cast commentary by Martin, Stevens and Lynley has, strangely enough, more periods of silence as the three seem to become involved in watching the movie unfold. It is also more anecdotal in nature. Stevens, for example, recounts getting into trouble recently for having her picture taken with the model of the ship (which apparently is on display at the maritime museum in Long Beach, Calif.), until it was learned she had appeared in the movie. The three also talk about the casting and even mention how they had expressed an interest in making cameo appearances in the new movie, a notion which was met with no enthusiasm by the studio. Perhaps the most interesting special feature is also the most unusual, an interactive feature that allows the viewer to follow the escape through schematics of the ship as they watch the movie. With a boat graphic in the lower right corner of the picture as a prompt, a screen comes up that shows the viewer where the survivors are, the path they took to get there and who is left. The schematic is based (as the movie and book were also) on the R.M.S Queen Mary. Rounding out the DVD is a 10-minute archival 1972 promotional feature on the movie, two teaser trailers and the theatrical trailer, three storyboard comparisons and the transcription of an article that appeared in an edition of "American Cinematographer" with selectable images that take the viewer to image galleries."
4.5 stars -- more enjoyable than "Titanic."
Dirk | Warren, Ohio | 12/30/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
""The Poseidon Adventure" is the quintessential disaster movie -- the very best of the disaster film genre that reigned through the 70's and early 80's.This particular disaster flick involves a ocean liner capsized by a tidal wave (on New Year's Eve of all times!)and the ten survivors who struggle to make it up to the hull (which is actually the bottom of the ship) to possibly find a way out through the stern. Being that everything is upside down presents major obstacles to the cast. The pic features a stellar cast, including a young Gene Hackman and a fit Ernest Borgnine, who are constantly at each others throats because, as the Hackman character points out, they're two of a kind and Borgnine simply doesn't like what he sees in the mirror. The female cast includes Pamela Sue Martin (Nancy Drew), Carol Lynley and Stella Stevens, all well-cast as scantily-clad babes in distress. Also, Shelley Winters does a nice job as an overweight heroine. Red Buttons, Roddy McDowall and Leslie Nielson (in a serious role as The Captain) are also on hand.The sets of the sinking, upside down ship are absolutely outstanding. The scene wherein the ship tips over showing the party-goers fall/slide to the ceiling is superb.The characters are great and you really start to care for them. Okay, there is admittedly some silly dialogue, but I KNOW people who talk like this in real life, so it's not as campy and unrealistic as some criticize.Hackman as the fiery-passionate rebel preacher is excellent. His real struggle is ultimately with his Creator, who he "has it out" with at the end. Unspiritual people will no doubt tend to laugh at this scene, but it powerfully portrays humanity's grappling with the universal question "Why does a righteous God allow evil and hardship to exist?"The "Preacher" is nicely balanced out by the Pamela Sue Martin character who loves him and the Borgnine character who despises him; but observe Borgnine's nice change-of-heart at the very end. It's interesting to note that, even though some say this flick has campy aspects, everyone highly rates it. "The Poseidon Adventure" is just a very entertaining and moving motion picture. It's got "cult movie" written all over it. I find it of interest that many reviewers state how they like "The Poseidon Adventure" better than "Titanic." "Titanic" is hailed as one of the greatest, most popular pics of all time, yet all these folks say they prefer to see the former. I'd have to agree. "Titanic" is a good flick, there's no doubt; but given the choice I'd much rather see "The Poseidon Adventure.""
..Better than the "remake"..
Cozyjo | Garnerville, New York USA | 05/26/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As someone who's just seen the new "Poseidon", and having just seen the original after a long "hiatus", I felt compelled to put my two cents in.
While the new "Poseidon" was taut with non-stop action and special effects, I found it severely lacking in the character-development department.
Which brings me to the original. Although the dialogue is somewhat dated and the special effects do not match anything by today's standards, "The Poseidon Adventure" works far better in that it is a fine piece of cinematic story-telling. You get to know and care about these people, not witness two-dimensional characters taking a backseat to computer graphics technology. The people and the story of their escape and survival remain the primary focus of the movie, while the special effects enhance and supplement this goal; not the other way around.
For its time, "TPA" was brilliantly conceived and its effects, amazing. I was reminded, as I sat and watched the original, of just how real everything seemed. Never did I get the feeling that I was looking at a set. What also makes this film even more horrific and intense, imo, is that much of what happens is left to your imagination. There isn't this constant need to repeatedly display death and carnage for shock value or in order to prove that it exists. In fact, one of the most horrowing scenes is when parts of the ship explode, thereby putting those who have chosen to stay with the ship's Purser in peril. Thereafter, you witness these very same people frantically clammoring up the Christmas tree as they try to escape certain death. Heartbreakingly, the tree falls over from the passengers' weight, and all Reverend Scott can do is sorrowfully close a door to the screams and agony of those left behind. To me, that is one of the more powerful scenes in this film because of what you DON'T see.
As for the acting, the performances in this film really stand out and make up for any "cheesiness" in the dialogue. Gene Hackman and Ernest Borgnine are "over-the-top" as two of the main characters, and Shelly Winters more than holds her own as a Grandma yearning to make a difference. All of the actors do a splendid job in making you believe in their dilemma and in taking you along for the ride. You won't be disappointed.
Lastly, I had forgotten how "diverse" the dialogue was for its time, given the few curse words and light comedic moments. Stella Stevens' character declaring that she wanted to go first up the Christmas tree because she didn't "want to get stuck behind fat-*ss" took some edge off of the horror of their situation and made their characterizations even more real.
Whether or not you believe anyone can survive such a disaster, the story and performances in "The Poseidon Adventure" will make you think that it is possible, and herein is why the picture works and remains one of the greatest disaster films of all time."
Poseidon Takes Me Way Back!
Jack V | St. Louis, MO USA | 05/21/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I first saw Poseidon Adventure on Christmas Eve 1972. I was nine and my brother was almost twelve. I vividly remember calling the theater and, because it was rated PG, asking the lady if my brother and I had to have an adult with us in order to see it! Well, needless to say, my 9-year-old eyes had never seen anything like it and to this day the movie has a certain hold on me. I bought the special edition dvd the day it came out. I watched it four times the first two days. Both commentaries are great but I think I like the commentary by Stella Stevens, Carol Lynley and Pamela Sue Martin a little better than the director's. It's fun to listen to the three ladies reminisce and laugh together. I have seen the new movie and I like it, probably because I like the premise of the story. It's just a very different take on the same premise. Poseidon Adventure will always be among my favorite movies."