The Poseidon Adventure is one of those classic star-studded disaster movies of the 1970s and is easily the best, as far as I’m concerned. Boasting a number of Oscar winners, including Red Buttons (Mr. Martin), Jack Albertson of Willy Wonka fame (Mr. Rosen), Shelley Winters (Mrs. Rosen), and Ernest Borgnine (Mr. Rogo), it’s a film that doesn’t just display them for the sake of bragging but puts each of them to good use, and no one is put to better use than Gene Hackman as Reverend Scott. The first time she saw it, Hackman’s assured and intense performance made my VC admire him as much as Susan in the film. My favorite, though, is the Oscar-nominated Winters as Mrs. Rosen, a likable grandmotherly type whose death was the saddest for me.
Coming years before the likes of Titanic, the disaster scenes of the ship being overturned are fairly impressive for the time and garnered the first Special Achievement Academy Award at a time when there was no category for Special Effects. The film also offers some very unique visuals, showing entire rooms, stairways, and corridors upside down and sometimes underwater.
Considering that the violence was not graphic, it’s a shame that the filmmakers included several profanities. Also, I know he’s proud to be considered unorthodox, but Scott’s view of God seems rather contradictory. On the one hand, he talks about how God doesn’t concern himself with the individual (a clearly collectivist view) but mentions “that part of God within you” that will help you if you help yourself. Assuming he’s talking about the Holy Spirit, that’s God, indicating He does assist individuals. While Scott is certainly noble in his quest and sacrifice, I think his understanding of God and His role in the world and people’s lives is rather two-dimensional. Still, I do agree with part of the sermon he gives, as reflected in my Best Line.
The Poseidon Adventure was Irwin Allen’s crowning achievement and one of the best disaster films ever, putting focus on the characters as well as the terrible things happening to them. I’ll admit that I have not seen the 2006 remake Poseidon, but when the film is already this good, why redo it just for the sake of better effects?
Best line: (Reverend Scott, in his sermon) “God wants brave souls. He wants winners, not quitters. If you can’t win, at least try to win. God loves tryers…. So what resolution should we make for the New Year? Resolve to let God know that you have the guts and the will to do it alone. Resolve to fight for yourselves, and for others, for those you love. And that part of God within you will be fighting with you all the way.”Artistry: 7 Characters/Actors: 8 Entertainment: 8 Visual Effects: 7 Originality: 9 Watchability: 8 Other (language): -6 TOTAL: 41 out of 60
Next: #209 – Phineas and Ferb: Across the 2nd Dimension (please don’t laugh)
© 2014 S. G. Liput
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