Wednesday, May 10, 2006


With the opening of the film Poseidon, there's been a lot of talk about the original 1972 film The Poseidon Adventure - how it's become a "camp classic," how it's so dated with all of those wide lapels and collars and so forth.

That all may be so, but I speak for millions who came of age in the 70's when I say that it scared the shit out of me. One must separate The Poseidon Adventure from all of the cheeseball disaster clunkers that came in its 90-foot wake - those films elicited unintentional laughter, but Poseidon Adventure just made me hold my breath. Honest. When Shelley Winters, bless her fat-addled heart, braves that long underwater sprint, I just about passed out. There are a number of shots that are tattooed onto my brain for good - the terrific crash of the passenger into the stained glass ceiling-turned-floor, that long shot of the upside-down cocktail tables, Hackman falling to his death while trying to wrest that giant steam valve closed.

Wow, what a film. Don't let anyone tell you it's some kind of kitschy artifact - it made many millions at the time because kids were genuinely thrilled-frightened by it. Years later, it was a very effective cruise vacation deterrent. Well, that and the shuffleboard.


wassupjohjoh said...
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wassupjohjoh said...

Ditto on all of your comments.

I fondly remember the 70's 'apocalyptic' era. While we're talking about it, how about "Omega Man?" Now THERE was some freakiness in that flick.

"Show him the pretty marks."

Was Charlton Heston in nearly every apocalyptic film in 70s? Except, of course, Poseidon Adventure. I absolutely fell in love with Gene Hackman in that movie--the hot-headed priest with his take action attitude and willing-to-do-all to rescue those people.

A close second favorite is the oft-overlooked Ernest Borgnine.

You're right though about the Shelley Winters scene. I remember as a kid trying to hold my breath as I swam from end to end in a friend's pool--you know--just in case I was in that predicament, I'd know what to expect.

I have to see the new one, even if it hurts my image of the first one.

What's the name of the 70's high-rise disaster...there's a fire...I wonder if Hollywood will try to capitalize on that.

...or worse...soylent green.

wassupjohjoh said...

I just remembered: The Towering Inferno. Steve McQueen, no less.

...Hey, you never know.

Anonymous said...

Not to mention the very memorable song, "It's got to be the morning aff-ter" (or whatever that line is -'scuse me while I kiss this guy)-IW

MW said...


its the towering inferno! maybe the second best disaster flick - the worst? earthquake! ugh.....

Melinda said...

The sequence where the ship capsizes is classic. Right after the guy crashes through the window, there's a shot of the Poseidon upside down underwater. There's a loud boom and then all the lights on the ship go out. Gives me chills every time.

The 70's disaster flicks may not have aged well, but they're a hell of a lot better than a lot of the crap produced today. At least they were populated with competent actors.

wassupjohjoh said...

How about "Logan's Run?" "...There's nooooo sanctuary..." What a freaky movie.

Not long before they remake that one. I bet Michael York and Farrah Fawcett would be up for it.

I don't know how to say what I want to say about these 70's classics...the closest I can say about what I like about them is the ability to get 'lost' in the story and not the special effects or the star's bustline. Well, except for Farrah's in that movie.

Maybe my age age had something to do with it (I'm 36 now). Saturday afternoons watching a double with my dad. I'd come out of the theater rubbing my eyes thinking about it, thinking the whole thing was like a dream. Good times.

Needless to say, I didn't feel that way when I gave up half-way through the 'modern' planet of the apes with Markie Mark. Someone tell me, does he exclaim: "get your stinking paws off me, you damned dirty ape!" Just wouldn't be the same without it.

I guess I'm just too old to 'feel the vibration.'