“The Poseidon Adventure” (1972) starring Gene Hackman, Ernest Borgnine & Shelley Winters / Z-View

The Poseidon Adventure (1972)

Director: Ronald Neame

Screenplay: Stirling Silliphant, Wendell Mayes based on The Poseidon Adventure by Paul Gallico

Stars: Gene Hackman, Ernest Borgnine, Shelley Winters, Red Buttons, Carol Lynley, Roddy McDowall, Stella Stevens, Jack Albertson, Pamela Sue Martin, Eric Shea, Arthur O’Connell, Sheila Allen, Byron Webster, John Crawford, Bob Hastings and Leslie Nielsen.

Tagline:  Who will survive-in one of the greatest escape adventures ever!

The Plot…

On New Year’s Eve with a full ship, the S.S. Poseidon is hit by a 90-foot tidal wave and capsizes.  Now the ship is floating upside down.  Dozens of survivors are in the dinning room.  There is confusion on the best course of action.  Some believe that everyone should make their way up to the hull.  They reason rescuers will be able to cut them out where the ship’s metal is the thinnest.  Another group, argues that a distress call was sent.  Everyone should just stay in the dinning room.  Attempting to move through the upside down damaged ship would be dangerous.  Most agree that staying put is the best course of action.

Reverend Scott (Hackman), who is not your typical Reverend, leads a group up to the next level.  Joining Scott are:

  • Rogo (Borgnine): a tough NY City cop
  • Rogo’s wife, Linda (Stevens): a former prostitute Rogo met (and arrested several times) while working the streets
  • Susan (Martin) and her younger brother Robin (Shea)
  • Grandparents Manny (Albertson) and his wife, Belle (Winters)
  • Acres (McDowell): one of the dinning room waiters
  • Nonnie (Lynley): one of the ship’s singers
  • Martin (Buttons): a retired business man

Just as they make it up to the next level a series of underwater explosions occur.  The ship begins taking on more water and sinking.  It’s too late for those below.  As Scott leads his group up, the dangers mount. Not everyone will survive!

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)

The Poseidon Adventure (1972) did well at the Academy Awards:

Academy Award Wins:

  • Best Music, Original Song: Al Kasha, Joel Hirschhorn – for the song “The Morning After”
  • Best Music, Original Dramatic Score: John Williams
  • Special Achievement Award: L.B. Abbott, A.D. Flowers – for visual effects.

Academy Award Nominations:

  • Best Actress in a Supporting Role: Shelly Winters
  • Best Cinematography: Harold E. Stine
  • Best Art Direction-Set Decoration: William J. Creber, Raphael Bretton
  • Best Costume Design: Paul Zastupnevich
  • Best Sound: Theodore Soderberg, Herman Lewis
  • Best Film Editing: Harold F. Kress

The Poseidon Adventure features five Academy Award winning actors – Gene Hackman, Ernest Borgnine, Shelley Winters, Jack Albertson and Red Buttons; and one Oscar nominee: Arthur O’Connell.

Shelly Winters was 51 when she played Belle, a much older character.  Ms. Winters gained 35 pounds for the role.  I was 14 at the time.  I remembered a younger Shelly Winters in older movies playing a “hottie”.  It was hard to wrap my head around seeing Ms. Winters older and heavier.  Stars do age.

Reverend Scott is my favorite Gene Hackman role.

Ernest Borgnine is always great.  His wife in the movie Stella Stevens made quite an impact on this 14 year old  ; )

I have many great memories of seeing The Poseidon Adventure. A few of my friends and I took the city bus down town to see it.  We felt like big shots.

It’s funny (ironic?) now seeing Leslie Nielsen playing it straight.

The Poseidon Adventure (1972) rates 5 of 5 stars.