The Poseidon Adventure (1972 film)

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The Poseidon Adventure
PoseidonAdventure.jpg
Directed byRonald Neame
Irwin Allen (Action sequences only)
Produced byIrwin Allen
Screenplay byStirling Silliphant
Wendell Mayes
Based onThe Poseidon Adventure 
by Paul Gallico
StarringGene Hackman
Ernest Borgnine
Red Buttons
Carol Lynley
Roddy McDowall
Stella Stevens
Shelley Winters
Jack Albertson
Pamela Sue Martin
Arthur O'Connell
Eric Shea
Leslie Nielsen
Music byJohn Williams
The Morning After:
Joel Hirschhorn
Al Kasha
CinematographyHarold E. Stine
Editing byHarold F. Kress
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release dates
  • December 12, 1972 (1972-12-12)
Running time117 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$4.7 million[1]
Box office$93,300,000[2]
 
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The Poseidon Adventure
PoseidonAdventure.jpg
Directed byRonald Neame
Irwin Allen (Action sequences only)
Produced byIrwin Allen
Screenplay byStirling Silliphant
Wendell Mayes
Based onThe Poseidon Adventure 
by Paul Gallico
StarringGene Hackman
Ernest Borgnine
Red Buttons
Carol Lynley
Roddy McDowall
Stella Stevens
Shelley Winters
Jack Albertson
Pamela Sue Martin
Arthur O'Connell
Eric Shea
Leslie Nielsen
Music byJohn Williams
The Morning After:
Joel Hirschhorn
Al Kasha
CinematographyHarold E. Stine
Editing byHarold F. Kress
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release dates
  • December 12, 1972 (1972-12-12)
Running time117 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$4.7 million[1]
Box office$93,300,000[2]

The Poseidon Adventure is a 1972 American action-adventure disaster film, directed by Ronald Neame, produced by Irwin Allen, and based on Paul Gallico's novel of the same name. The film features an all-star cast, including five Academy Award winners: Gene Hackman, Ernest Borgnine, Jack Albertson, Shelley Winters, and Red Buttons. The cast also includes Carol Lynley, Stella Stevens, Roddy McDowall, Leslie Nielsen, and in an early screen role, Pamela Sue Martin. It won a Special Achievement Academy Award for Visual Effects and an Academy Award for Best Original Song (for "The Morning After"). Shelley Winters won the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role. It also received a nomination for the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Drama.

The plot centers on the SS Poseidon, an aged luxury liner from the golden age of travel, on her final voyage from New York City to Athens before being sent to the scrapyard. On New Year's Eve, she is overturned by a tsunami caused by an underwater earthquake. Passengers and crew are trapped inside and a rebellious preacher attempts to lead a small group of survivors to safety.

Parts of the films were filmed aboard the RMS Queen Mary, whose encounter with a rogue wave in 1942 inspired the book upon which the film is based.

Boxoffice Magazine reported "The Poseidon Adventure" as the #1 Box Office Champ of 1973. By the end of 1974, it ranked among the six most successful features in film history, along with Gone with the Wind, The Godfather, Love Story, Airport, and The Sound of Music. It is in the vein of other all-star disaster films of the 1970s such as Airport and later ones like Earthquake and The Towering Inferno. It was remade twice, first as a television special in 2005 with the same name, and a theatrical release with the name Poseidon in 2006.

A 1979 sequel, Beyond the Poseidon Adventure, was released later with an equally star-studded cast, but was a box office and critical failure.

Plot[edit]

The SS Poseidon, an ocean liner slated for retirement and scrapping, makes her way across the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea from New York City to Athens. Despite protests from Captain Harrison, who fears for the ship's safety, the representative of its new owners, Mr. Linarcos, insists that it make full speed towards its destination, preventing it from taking on additional ballast.

Reverend Frank Scott, a minister questioning his faith and believing God helps those who help themselves, delivers a sermon. Susan and her younger brother Robin are traveling to meet their parents. Robin is interested in how the ship works and frequently visits the engine room. Retired Jewish hardware store owner Manny Rosen and his wife Belle are going to Israel to meet their two-year-old grandson for the first time. Haberdasher James Martin is a love-shy, health-conscious bachelor. The ship's singer, Nonnie Parry rehearses for the New Year celebrations with her band.

That evening, New Year's Eve, passengers gather in the dining room to celebrate. Harrison is called to the bridge because of a report of an undersea earthquake. He receives word from the lookout that there is a huge wave coming from the direction of Crete at 60 mph. He issues a mayday and commands a "hard left" turn, but it is too late. The wave hits the ship and she capsizes.

In the dining room, survivors take stock of their predicament. Acres, an injured waiter, is trapped at the galley door now high above. With information from Martin, Scott surmises that the escape route will be found "upwards", at the outer hull, now above water. Robin tells him that the hull near the propeller shaft is only one inch (2.54 cm) thick. The Rosens, the Rogos, Susan, Robin, Acres, Nonnie and Martin agree to go with Scott, using a Christmas tree as a ladder. Scott unsuccessfully tries convincing more passengers to join them. After the group climbs to the galley, there is a series of explosions. As seawater floods the room the survivors rush to the Christmas tree, but the weight of everyone climbing causes the tree to fall.

Acres and Scott find the galley, and the survivors make their way to a staircase. Scott climbs its underside, then he and Rogo use a firehose to pull the others up before leading them to an access tunnel. While climbing a ladder inside a funnel, the ship rocks from another series of explosions. Acres falls and is lost.

Climbing out of the shaft, the group meets a large band of survivors led by the ship's medic, heading towards the bow. Scott is certain they are heading for their doom, but Rogo wants to follow them and gives Scott fifteen minutes to find the engine room. Although he takes longer than allowed, Scott is successful.

The group discovers the engine room is on the other side of a flooded corridor; someone must swim through with a line to help the others. Belle, a former competitive swimmer, volunteers, but Scott refuses her and dives in. Halfway through, a panel collapses on him. The survivors notice something is wrong and Belle dives in. She frees Scott and they make it to the other side. While Scott secures the lifeline, Belle suffers a heart attack. Before dying she tells Scott to give her "Chai" pendant, representing the Hebrew sign for life, to Rosen, who in turn will give it to their grandson.

Rogo swims over to make sure Belle and Scott are all right, then leads the rest over. When Rosen finds Belle's body he is unwilling to go on, but Scott gives him her pendant, reminding him that he has a reason to live.

Scott leads the survivors to the propeller shaft room's watertight door, but there is another series of explosions and Linda falls to her death. An infuriated and heartbroken Rogo blames her death on Scott. More explosions rupture a pipe that releases steam, blocking their escape. Scott rants at God for the survivors' deaths. He leaps and grabs onto the burning-hot valve wheel to shut off the steam, then tells Rogo to lead the group before letting go of it, sacrificing himself.

Rogo leads the survivors — Rosen, Martin, Nonnie, Susan and Robin — through the watertight door and into the propeller shaft room. They hear a noise above the ship and bang on the ceiling/floor to get the rescuers' attention. The rescuers cut through the hull and help the group out of the ship. The survivors, the only six alive after the disaster, fly to safety by helicopter.

Cast[edit]

Soundtrack[edit]

The Poseidon Adventure: Limited Edition[3]
No.TitleLength
1."Main Title"  2:12
2."Rogo and Linda"  1:34
3."The Big Wave/The Aftermath"  4:02
4."Raising the Christmas Tree"  1:28
5."Nonnie and Red/Up the Tree"  1:59
6."Death's Door/The Upturned Galley"  2:01
7."Through the Galley"  1:13
8."The Other Survivors"  1:37
9."Search for the Engine Room"  2:51
10."Barber Shoppe Scene"  1:46
11."Saving Robin"  1:24
12."The Death of Belle"  3:25
13."Hold Your Breath"  3:08
14."The Red Wheel"  1:25
15."Rogo Takes Command"  1:38
16."End Title (The Rescue)"  3:36
17."Main Title (Alternate #1)"  1:58
18."New Year's Party (Version 1)"  0:58
19."To Love"  3:12
20."New Year's Party (Version 2)"  2:11
21."Main Title (Alternate #2)"  1:59
22.""The Morning After" (Version 1)"  2:10
23.""Love Is A Many Splendored Thing""  2:19
24.""Give Me The Simple Life"/"A Certain Smile""  1:49
25.""The Morning After" Instrumental"  2:09
26.""Auld Lang Syne""  1:34
27.""The Morning After" (Version 2)"  2:10
28."End Title (Alternate)"  2:38

Reception[edit]

The film earned estimated rentals of $40 million in North America in 1973.[4]

The Poseidon Adventure has received largely positive reviews, with review aggregate Rotten Tomatoes reporting 79% of 24 critics gave the film a positive review, with an above average score of 6.8/10.[5]

When the film made its network television premier on ABC on October 27, 1974, it earned a 39.0 household share, making it the sixth highest film to ever air on network television.[6]

In recent years, the film has garnered a strong cult-like following.[7] It has been released on DVD and Blu-ray.

The film is listed in Golden Raspberry Award founder John Wilson's book The Official Razzie Movie Guide as one of The 100 Most Enjoyably Bad Movies Ever Made.[8]

Accolades[edit]

The film won two Academy Awards,[9] a Golden Globe Award, a British Academy Film Award and a Motion Picture Sound Editors Award.[10]

AwardCategorySubjectResult
Academy AwardBest Supporting ActressShelley WintersNominated
Best Production DesignWilliam J. CreberNominated
Raphael BrettonNominated
Best Original Song ("The Morning After")Al KashaWon
Joel HirschhornWon
Best Original ScoreJohn WilliamsNominated
Best Costume DesignPaul ZastupnevichNominated
Best SoundTheodore SoderbergNominated
Herman LewisNominated
Best CinematographyHarold E. StineNominated
Best Film EditingHarold F. KressNominated
ACE EddieBest EditingNominated
BAFTA AwardBest ActorGene HackmanWon
Best Supporting ActressShelley WintersNominated
Golden Globe AwardBest Supporting Actress – Motion PictureWon
Best Original ScoreJohn WilliamsNominated
Best Original Song ("The Morning After")Al KashaNominated
Joel HirschhornNominated
Best Motion Picture – DramaIrwin AllenNominated
Motion Picture Sound Editors AwardBest Sound EditingN/ANominated
Satellite AwardBest DVD ExtrasNominated

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Solomon, Aubrey. Twentieth Century Fox: A Corporate and Financial History (The Scarecrow Filmmakers Series). Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 1989. ISBN 978-0-8108-4244-1. p256
  2. ^ "The Poseidon Adventure, Box Office Information". The Numbers. Retrieved January 21, 2012. 
  3. ^ "The Poseidon Adventure (Stereo): Limited Edition". La-La Land Records. Retrieved October 19, 2012. 
  4. ^ "Big Rental Films of 1973", Variety, 9 January 1974 p 19
  5. ^ The Poseidon Adventure at Rotten Tomatoes
  6. ^ The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows 1946-Present. Ballantine Books. 2003. p. 805. ISBN 0-345-45542-8. 
  7. ^ Vinciguerra, Thomas (2006-05-07). "Underwater, and Over the Top in 1972". The New York Times. 
  8. ^ Wilson, John (2005). The Official Razzie Movie Guide: Enjoying the Best of Hollywood's Worst. Grand Central Publishing. ISBN 0-446-69334-0. 
  9. ^ "The 45th Academy Awards (1973) Nominees and Winners". oscars.org. Retrieved 2011-08-28. 
  10. ^ "NY Times: The Poseidon Adventure". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-12-28. 

External links[edit]