Welcome to this blog of my film reviews. Some have been drafted carefully on paper, others I have sat and typed. I'm going to make it clear right now that I don't expect you to agree with my (re)views, or to like my style of writing. However, I want my views to be just out there and open, as a person who wishes to express himself from deep within. Feel free to comment and debate with me, but I do ask that you are civil and not harsh, as any comments which are basically swear words and insults will automatically be deleted. Also any text that is in orange (and often bold) is a Hyperlink to either a source, or a previous post for background reference.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

The Poseidon Adventure


It's New Year and S.S. Poseidon is making her final voyage. However, minutes after the clocks chime midnight a tsunami capsizes the ships, killing dozens of crew and passengers. Nine survivors (Gene Hackman, Jack Albertson, Red Buttons, Carol Lynley, Shelley Winters, Eric Shea, Pamela Sue Martin, Stella Stevens, Roddy McDowall) are lead by Reverend Scott (Gene Hackman), through an upside down maze to reach the engine room where (theoretically) they can get out and find fresh air and freedom - yes the capsized boat still bobs on the surface. With rising waters, explosions, flames and bodies everywhere, their escape attempt is filled with pain, panic, peril, danger and death.

The majority of ocean-set disaster films concern a sinking ship with those aboard trying to escape before it goes under. The Poseidon Adventure may concern people trying to escape, while dead lie or float everywhere, yet the ship has not gone under. And unlike most films where the survivors get on and work together to escape, the survivors here struggle with both, making escape seem even harder, and causing more and more tension to build up.

The two main leads - Hackman and Borgnine - play perfectly mismatched characters. Hackman's preacher is a level-headed man, thinking logically to escape, and Hackman makes his strength, courage and determination to save as many as possible very heartfelt and powerful. Borgnine's Police Officer is brawn over brains, desperate to survive, and hates having a Preacher dictate to him and undermime his authority, with Borgnine's performance being confident and strong. The remaining eight provide great support - their journies and emotions portrayed in a collection of really heartfelt, thoughtful and confident performances.

The films boasts superb effects also, especially for the 1970s. The moment the tsunami hits and capsizes the ship will make your heart pound, and your attention impossible to draw away, thanks to its raw power and impact as a moment. From there the effects remain strong, with your heart racing as water levels rise, your body shaking as explosions happen, and your stomach churning as people perish in water or fire.

All in all this is a thrilling, suspenseful and well-written film that features superb effects, and is ultimately carried by its excellent cast, who give coherently emotion, heartfelt and confident performances.

Gene Hackman, Ernest Borgnine, Red Buttons, Jack Albertson, Carol Lynley, Shelley Winters, Eric Shea, Pamela Sue Martin, Stella Stevens, Roddy McDowall, Arthur O'Connell, Leslie Nielsen, Byron Webster, Fred Sadoff, Jan Arvan, Sheila Mathews, John Crawford, Erik L. Nelson.

Oscars: Best Visual Effects (L.B. Abbott, A.D. Flowers), Best Original Song (The Morning After - Al Kasha, Joel Hirschhorn).
Oscar nominations: Best Supporting Actress (Shelley Winters), Best Art Direction (William J. Creber, Raphael Bretton), Best Cinematography (Harold E. Stine), Best Editing (Harold F. Kress), Best Sound Mixing (Theodore Soderberg, Herman Lewis), Best Original Score (John Williams), Best Costume Design (Paul Zastupnevich).

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