The Curator of Schlock #116 by Jeff Shuster
The Poseidon Adventure
(Movies are always better with Adventure in the title. Hmmmm. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Adventure)
Merry Christmas everyone! If it’s Christmas Day and you’re reading this blog, go spend some time with your family. If you haven’t got a family, go and see Star Wars: The Force Awakens. You might actually be able to get a seat! No, I haven’t seen it yet! Feel free to spoil it for me in the comments below! So Chewbacca was really Han Solo’s father?
Movies existed before Star Wars. In fact, this week’s exhibit is a New Year’s treat from 1972: The Poseidon Adventure. Contemplate it.
The Poseidon Adventure was directed by Ronald Neame and produced by Irwin Allen, the director of The Swarm. We don’t get killer bees, but we do get a killer ship and an all-star cast: Gene Hackmen, Ernest Borgnine, Red Buttons, Carol Lynley, Roddy McDowall, Stella Stevens, Shelly Winters, Jack Albertson, Pamela Sue Martin, Arthur O’Connell, Eric Shea, and Leslie Nielsen. Or so the poster tells us so. By the way, great poster! Hell, upside down. I’ll pay to see that.
I’ve been meaning to review this for the past couple of New Year’s blogs, but couldn’t manage to do it. There’s such a huge cast of characters in this movie that I can’t possibly do them justice in 500 words, and I’m wasting words by just explaining to you the reader that I don’t have enough words to do the film justice. Uh.
I guess I should just pick some random characters and tell you about them. Well, Leslie Nielsen plays the ship’s captain, Captain Harrison. He tells some corporate big wig that owns the S.S. Poseidon that the ship isn’t weighed down enough and that he needs more ballas…ballaste…billeste? Whatever?
The corporate guy tells him full steam ahead anyway, despite Captain Harrison’s protestations that it will endanger the lives of his passengers. Anyway, a gigantic wave hits the ship, flipping it upside down. It would have been great if they had played the Police Squad theme when this happened.
Meanwhile, the rest of our cast was celebrating New Year’s Eve up in the ballroom. You have Gene Hackman playing Reverend Frank Scott, a radical preacher who believes only the strong should survive. Ernest Borgnine plays Detective Lieutenant Mike Rogo, which is a nice change of pace from the Satanic cult leaders he typically plays. He’s married to Linda Rogo (Stella Stevens), a former prostitute. Jack Albertson and Shelly Winters play Mr. and Mrs. Rosen, a nice retired couple excited to visit their grandson in Israel for the first time. Red Buttons plays James Martin, a lonely haberdasher with a propensity for pill popping. Oh, and there’s an obnoxious little boy (Eric Shea) who keeps spouting out useful facts about the ship and telling his sister to “Shove it! Shove it! Shove it!”
I have to say, I wonder why people pick on horror movies like Saw and Hostel, but will flock to see disaster movies. Both kinds of movies feature characters dying in horrible and humiliating ways. I guess it’s okay if Mother Nature is the serial killer. When the S.S. Poseidon flips over, we see all manner of horrible deaths. One guy gets his pelvis crushed by a sliding piano. Another clings to a fixed table to the floor that has now become the ceiling. When he loses his grip, he crashes down into a huge overhead lamp, most likely getting electrocuted to death. I wonder how this movie managed to get an R rating. Oh wait. It got a PG. It was the 70s after all.
Happy New Year everyone!
Five Things I learned from The Poseidon Adventure
- Don’t become a haberdasher. It wreaks havoc on your love life.
- Christmas Trees make excellent ladders.
- Don’t stay with the ship’s purser. You will die!
- Don’t be Roddy McDowell in a disaster movie. You will die!
- Don’t make Ernest Borgnine angry. You wouldn’t like it when he’s angry.
Jeffrey Shuster (episode 47, episode 102, episode 124, and episode 131) is an MFA candidate at the University of Central Florida.