Why do people think The Poseidon Adventure is the best disaster film


Jim Kalafus

Member
Dec 3, 2000
6,114
15
198
There have been several transers of Poseidon done. The most common, available ca 1985-1998 was indeed muddy. Subsequent to that, there have been multiple reissues, at least two of which have cinema-quality color reproduction.

For instance, an entire generation of viewers made deprecating comments over the scene in which Nonnie appears to be cradling her brother's severed head and Red Buttons has to point out to her..."Nonnie- your brother is dead." (To which she immediately repolies "Did you like his music?") In the recent transfer,Teddy's body is right where it should be...his dark turtleneck no longer blends into the dark background and registering as a solid field of black. This robs the film of one of its funnier unintentional visuals; those who crave the sight of Carol Lynley explaining to a severed hippy head that she is too disorganized to survive without him must now seek out an older version of the film.

The Poseidon Adventure was visually a very rich film. There are tons of weird things happening in every frame. In the overhead longshot, establishing the New Years Eve party, there is a table full of what appear to be studio tourists seated to the left of the stage. They are in day clothing, and just what you would wear to a studio walking tour in 1971. They are not in New Years finery; not coiffed; and one appears to be wearing an ancestor to the Leisure Suit. WTF?

My favorite unintentional silliness is the chactater known as COUSIN ITT amongst cultists. She sits facing MIKE AND LINDA, and can be seen in the background during scenes shot at other tables. She has no body, and is just a HUGE mound of auburn hair, with a party hat set atop it. Thanks to the new transfer, you can see her in MANY more frames than you used to... a sad, soon to die, member of THE ADDAMS FAMILY, spending the last few minutes of her life listening to Linda Rogo whine.

The character known as MEAN HOOKER LADY; an angry hard looking woman in a Vegas-slut style gown, with a collapsed bouffant, who can be seen glaring angrily at Scott and Rogo during dining room scenes, looks meaner and...hookerier... in the glowing new transfers. And the pathos of LONELY SPINNING LADY- the only woman at the party with no dance partner, who can be seen spinning, endlessly, in establishing shots of THE BIG PARTY- is far more poignant when you can see her face.

The eerie scene in which Scott is pleading with the dolts walking forward to join him (Nurse; "Come with us, Reverend. Please, come with us) and suddenlt Sharon Tate, dead three years at that point, emerges from the shadows and walks past the central characters, is no less eerie with perhaps 60% fewer shadows. in fact, she looks MORE like Sharon than ever...its creepy.

>What do you think is the best disaster film?

Airport 1975.
 

Jim Kalafus

Member
Dec 3, 2000
6,114
15
198
I like Poseidon because, with two exceptions, the entire cast was, or had been, A List material during the dying days of Old Hollywood and knew how to act in the old STUDIO SANCTIONED REACH THE BACK ROW style.

The cast werent exactly hambones, or camping it up... wht you are seeing is the last gasp of stylized acting, before 100% naturalistic became the norm. Mercifully, the stylized acting was paired with some of the worst dialogue to appear in a big budget film, ever. Linda's I KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH SUPPOSITORIES scene, if played with 100% realism, would have been excruciating. As it was, the wretched dialogue paired with straight faced but decidedly theatrical delivery, made the scene a classic of unintentional camp.

That's why the later disaater films werent as much fun. Lorne Greene, ordering his female staff to doff their undergarb to fashion an escape with in earthquake COULD have been equal to anything in Poseidon. BUT, the naturalist acting in that scene killed it.... the scene exists in the REAL WORLD, so to speak, and forces you to confront the fact that A) there are easier ways to fashion an escape B) there arent enough panty hose in any given office for the plan to work, and C) it wouldnt work, anyway. With theatrical acting, you are separated from the onscreen doings... they do NOT take place in the same world in which you live... and it is easier to suspend disbelief.

Knowing? What is that about?
 

Jim Kalafus

Member
Dec 3, 2000
6,114
15
198
One other bit of dated Poseidon Charm....


TRhe Poseidon Advebnture was the last, very last, ultra last film to come out of Hollywood with virtually no female or gay appeal as far as EYE CANDY went.

The gap is striking. On the hetero male audience side, you have a blonde with huge breasts and a really nice backside, who spends 3/4 of her screen time in panties. You have a young (ish) hippy chick with great legs, and a doe-eyed teenager in hot pants. You have a dining room in whioch 75% of the women seem to be from a 1971 episode of PLAYBOY AFTER DARK...statuesque brunettes. Statuesque blondes. One or two statuesque auburn haired women. All wearing breast-flaunting Vegas evening wear.

For the women and gay men in the audience, you have GRANDPA JOE from Willy Wonka, Ernest Borgnine, Red Buttons, and a cast of supporting actors so unappealing that Red Buttons looks fairly decent by comparison. Terry, Susan's helmet-haired date, is the only male in the entire cast under the age of 35 (except for 12 year old Robin, and his questionable relationship with CHARLIE THE THIRD ENGINEER) and is quite good looking...so, naturally, he has less than two minutes total screen time before dying, leaving the film with THREE ATTRACTIVE WOMEN IN A SEA OF MIDDLE AGED MEN.

This would never happen again in the world of Hollywood blockbusters
 
Aug 29, 2009
27
0
31
Jim, Knowing is about a man who finds a buried time capsule that has predicted disasters and it involves a solar flare heading towards earth.
 
That's not really a disaster film. It's sci-fi.

A disaster film is a natural disaster and people who persevere and try to survive. Earthquake, The Poseidon Adventure, The Towering Inferno, The Big Bus, The Day After Tomorrow, Deep Impact, Armageddon...all disaster films.
 

Jim Kalafus

Member
Dec 3, 2000
6,114
15
198
The Big Bus. Now THERE'S a flashback!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d2e6uqSWk_g&feature=related

Jump ahead to 1:40 to see a disaster within a disaster sequence. 1929 hadnt been a particularly good year for film, and that year Michael Curtiz pioneered a film style VERY familiar to modern viewers; THE FILM SO HEAVILY LADEN WITH SPECIAL EFFECTS AND GIMMICKS THAT HOPEFULLY YOU WONT NOTICE THAT THERE ISNT MUCH OF A STORY. The film, Noah's Ark, had EVERYTHING. It had color sequences. It had sound sequences. It had a train wreck. It had parallel plots, set in 1929 and Biblical times. It also pioneered the YOU CAN ONLY FOOL THE PUBLIC A CERTAIN NUMBER OF TIMES MEGA BUDGET BOMB, as it failed miserably at the box office.

What made it special, as you'll see above (starting at 1:40) was that it had a botched stunt sequence that killed between three and twelve extras, as they were struck by an honest-to-goodness man made tidal wave and swept away.
 
Dec 8, 2000
1,288
2
168
Grant, who are these people who think that? On the few occasions I've seen it, I thought the film a bit of a giggle. (With no thanks to Jim for reminding me about some of the why. ;) )

Just wondering how a solar flare disaster is not a 'natural disaster' if a meteor or comet is. Also, how are the latter two not scifi if a solar flare is? I haven't seen Knowing, but seem to remember that Deep Impact and Armageddon use technology that doesn't (or didn't) currently exist. With its extreme weather events, I've always thought of The Day After Tomorrow as a scifi/disaster combo too.

Favourite disaster film: I don't have one. Will have to give this a bit more thought.
 
Dec 2, 2000
58,619
423
283
Easley South Carolina
>>but seem to remember that Deep Impact and Armageddon use technology that doesn't (or didn't) currently exist.<<

Or which wouldn't exist in the real world because there's no need. The shuttles presented in Armageddon were shown with the rocket engines constantly firing. In a real spacecraft, once the ship had reached the desired delta vector, the engines would be shut down. With no air in space to create any resistance, inertia alone would be enough to keep the ship moving.

The impossible part comes from the fact that even if constant acceleration was needed, a space shuttle doesn't even come close to having the storage capacity for all the fuel which would be needed.

Lest anybody think I'm bashing Armageddon, note that this much is a very common Hollywood mistake. Star Trek, Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica (Old and re-imaginged) for example always show the engines firing.
 
Dec 8, 2000
1,288
2
168
Completely agree with you there, Jeremy!

I've been looking at several online lists of disaster films and there's some glorious inconsistencies in approach to labelling films in that genre. One thing that is consistent is that the various lists include few films I really like. Maybe that's why I don't have a 'favourite' even though I've enjoyed watching a number of those films over the years.
 

Jim Kalafus

Member
Dec 3, 2000
6,114
15
198
The Poseidon Adventure is the Gold Standard by which all others are judged. There are a few more I can repeatedly watch....

1) Airport 1975: A little girl kidney patient. A mid air collision. A singing nun. Mr. Roper as a comic drunk. Myrna Loy as a comic drunk. Gloria Swanson as herself, dictating her memoirs. A stewardess having to land the plane all by herself..... it is this// close to being the equal of Poseidon. George Kennedy's wife and son are on the plane, and he acts and acts and acts. Charlton Heston walks happily into a freeze frame with Karen Black.

2) Earthquake. Shake the camera and have people stagger and pretend to fall. Lorne Greene as Ava Gardner's FATHER. Marjoe Gortner as a mild mannered supermarket manager who...uhhhh...dons a crewcut wig, becomes a national guard uber-fascist. He then disastrously tries to conquer the heart of afroed Victoria Principal, who he arrests for stealing donuts and then attempts to win over with his studly ways. Splatter red on the screen after an elevator crashes. Escape via women's underwear. Shake the camera some more. George Kennedy shoots Marjoe Gortner. Charlton Heston is swept to his doom down a sewer.

3) The Naked Jungle. Charlton Heston lives WAY up the Amazon. He has built an empire. He brings in mail order bride Eleanor Parker, and then attempts to return her to Sharper Image when he discovers that she has been married before. But, he did not save the original packaging and lost his receipt, so he's stuck. Parker is quite beautiful and has an epic cantilevered chest but...uhhhh...ya seee...she's NOT a virgin and Heston is.

LEHTIGEN; I'm not LIKE the other men. I never went to the village women's tents like the other men did. There's a word for that kind of man....

PARKER; "Heterosexual" Mr. Lehtigen? Is that the word?

She doesnt really say that, but he actually does have those lines.

Anyway, it midpoint, the film veers from weird psychosexual drama to disaster film, as Army Ants march across the Amazon, eating everything in their path.

Heston dynamites a dam.

Heston loses his virginity to his wife, in a tent.

4)The Swarm. Bees kill a family picnic. Sole survivor of the family attempts to wreak sweet sweet vengeance and instead sets the SWARM loose on his hometown. Olivia deHavilland outhams Shelley Winters. At the midpoint of the film THE ENTIRE CAST IS KILLED IN A TRAIN WRECK and a new cast brought in. Bees explode a nuclear reactor and kill Texas. Yes. You heard me. They kill Texas. Henry Fonda plays bee mating signals thru stereo speakers, and leads the SWARM out to sea, where they die.

5) Smash Up on Interstate Five. It begins with a gazillion cars crashing in slo-mo. We see familiar has-beens in peril. THEN it flashes back, and we see the lives of EVERY FRICKKIN' VICTIM during the 36 hours leading up to the crash. Then, we see the entire crash sequence again, only now we know who they are.. "OOOOH! They're HONEYMOONERS They CANT die!" "OOOOH! She's a murdering bank robber! She deserved to have that truck land on top of her!" "OOOOOH! He has children waiting at home!"

6) The Last Voyage. MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY NO!NO!NO!NO!NO!NO! NO! NO! MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY NO!NO!NO!NO!NO!NO! NO! NO! MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY NO!NO!NO!NO!NO!NO! NO! NO! MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY NO!NO!NO!NO!NO!NO! NO! NO! MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY NO!NO!NO!NO!NO!NO! NO! NO!

And the Ile de France gets blown up.

7) CRASH. The true story of Eastern 401, which crashed in the Everglades after the crew got distracted and forgot to fly the plane. A better than average made forTV film, adapted from a better than average book. I occasionally contribute to a far better than average website about this disaster. Check it out. http://sites.google.com/site/eastern401/ This event begat a second film, Ghost of Flight 401, which claimed to be a true story about the dead flight engineer returning to haunt other planes. Ernest Borgnine plays the ghost.

8) Five Came Back. This 1939 film details a luxury plane that crashes in the jungle on its maiden voyage. There is the usual cross section of humanity, and the plane can be patched up and flown out but...see... only 5 can go with it. The rest must stay behind to be horribly tortured and then eaten by the headhunters who can be heard drumming in the distance. Who will stay? If you guess MR AND MRS STRAUS and THE MAFIOSA WHO REFORMS all volunteer to stay, well....if you guess that, you've seen your share of 1930s films. The twist? The Mafiosa has a gun with two bullets. When last seen, he is about to execute the unknowing MR AND MRS STRAUS with the two bullets, leaving only himself for the headhunters to torture for months and months.

Lucille Ball, 52 in 1939, plays a hardbitten call girl sort.
 

Bob Godfrey

Member
Nov 22, 2002
6,046
60
208
UK
"Lorne Greene as Ava Gardner's FATHER"

Well, at least he was by a few years the older of the two. Whereas in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Dick Van Dyke's Papa was played by Lionel Jeffries, who achieved the rare feat of being younger than his offspring. Does that count as a disaster?

You're being rather mean to your Mom about The Last Voyage, Jim. If she thinks it's a classic could you not just sadly shake your head? No need to make such a fuss about it.
 
I think that Jim was referring to the demonic Little Orphan Annie knock-off known as Tammy Marihugh in The Last Voyage. He was quoting of her (every one of her) lines. Probably the most annoying child ever captured on film.

I *believe* that she grew up to be quite a dish and posed for Playboy. But now she's probably fat, dresses like Jill Henderson and terrorizes her crippled sister. "She's written a letter to Mommy".
 

Similar threads