The Curator of Schlock #166 by Jeff Shuster
Beyond the Poseidon Adventure
That’s Sir Michael Caine
It’s hard to believe that 2016 is almost over…finally. I wouldn’t say that this year has been as excruciating for me as it has for some because I’ve been reviewing nothing but pre-1980 classic schlock. Still, we’ve had a glaring omission here at the Museum of Schlock. We haven’t reviewed one single Michael Caine movie all year. This just isn’t done. For your reading pleasure, may I present the 1979 Irwin Allen classic, Beyond the Poseidon Adventure.
Did The Poseidon Adventure need a sequel? No. Did The Poseidon Adventure need to be made in the first place? No, but it does stand apart by being one of the few New Year’s themed motion picture series, the first taking place on New Year’s Eve, the second on New Year’s Day. And with this cast is stellar: Michael Caine, Sally Field, Telly Savalas, Karl Malden, Shirley Jones, Jack Warden, Peter Boyle, Mark Harmon, and Slim Pickens! Holy cow! In case you were wondering, Slim Pickens plays a Poseidon waiter who’s pretending to be a Texas oil tycoon. Heaven help me.
Michael Caine plays Captain Mike Turner, a down on his luck tugboat captain who happens upon the S.S. Poseidon with crewmates Wilbur Hubbard (Karl Malden) and Celeste Whitman (Sally Field). Turner figures there must be bags of money in that ship and claims salvage rights. Is that a thing? It sounds an awful lot like stealing to me. That makes Turner a pirate as far as I‘m concerned. Aaaarrrgh! That’s my imitation of a pirate. Pretty sweet, huh?
A fancy yacht pulls up next to the upside-down wreckage of the S.S. Poseiden. We see none other than Telly Savalas at the helm. He plays Dr. Stefan Svevo, a medical doctor who wants to offer medical assistance to any survivors onboard. Turner doesn’t have a problem with Svevo and his crew saving lives as long as they keep their hands off the cash. Below deck, they run into to that same fiery pit of boiling water that the last movie ended with. This reminds me of when Nintendo made Super Luigi Bros., a version of Super Mario Bros. that’s played in reverse. I half expected them to find the boiled corpse of Gene Hackman.
If you like to hear Michael Caine yelling a lot, this is the movie for you. Not since On Deadly Ground have I seen this man so perturbed. They run into some survivors. Peter Boyle’s Frank Mazzetti is particularly obnoxious. He’s always arguing with Turner over which direction to go in, pleads for them to help him find his missing daughter who he’s sure is still alive.
Turner finds the safe with thousands of gold coins and precious diamonds. The bank won’t be repossessing his tugboat now! If only he can get off the ship with the treasure. This may be difficult. Dr. Svevo is actually a super villain who wants to steal a plutonium cache from the S.S. Poseidon in order to build a nuclear bomb.
That’s the plot.
Happy New Year!
Jeffrey Shuster (episode 47, episode 102, episode 124, and episode 131) is an MFA graduate from the University of Central Florida.