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101 of 105 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Seen the special edition DVD which gives this classic a fantastic upgrade, May 7, 2006
This review is from: The Poseidon Adventure (DVD)
Timed to coincide with the big-screen remake "Poseidon," 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment are releasing 2-disc special editions of two classic star-studded disaster movies, including the 1972 original "The Poseidon Adventure" starring Gene Hackman, Ernest Borgnine, Shelley Winters and Roddy McDowell among a crew of 15 Academy Award winners. Produced by the legendary Irwin Allen (who made a career in the 1970s of turning out big-budget disaster movies) the movie, based on a novel of the same name by Paul Gallico, tells the story of the aging liner Poseidon, which is hit by a 90-foot tidal wave that knocks her over on her final voyage from New York to Greece.
Featuring impressive special effects for its time and excellent performances from its cast, the movie manages to rise above a trite script and corny dialogue as they travel through an upside-down world, into the bowels of the ship in the hope of rescue from above.
Perhaps the main attraction of this movie is the sets, which effectively create a world turned on its head that leaves passengers walking on the ceilings of a maze of passageways and falling into what was just seconds before the roof of a giant ballroom. The movie proved to be a smash hit in 1972 and itself garnered nine Oscar nominations.
The movie was previously released on DVD as a relatively bare-bones effort, an oversight which has been corrected here in what is a virtual embarrassment of riches for those of us who love to scour through the special features of those shiny discs. Alongside two audio commentaries, one featuring director Ronald Neame and a second with cast members Pamela Sue Martin, Stella Stevens and Carol Lynley are ten all-new featurettes that include a retrospective by the cast and crew and the AMC Backstory that looked behind the making of the movie. The longest of these short documentaries by far is the Backstory presentation that clocks in just short of a half-hour at 25:08 and details not just the fight by Allen to bring the novel to the screen, but also on-camera interviews with the likes of Roddy McDowell, Sheila Metthews Allen and Stella Stevens.
Fox apparently was reluctant to finance the $5 million picture and tried to kill the movie even after work had started on it. It was up to Allen to raise half of the budget, something he managed when he interrupted two rich friends playing cards at the neighboring country club who said "Yes, but let us get back to the game." The two men subsequently became even more wealthy.
The shortest documentary "Turning over the ship" on the effects shots in the picture is a mere 2:26.
The other documentaries cover such elements as the song "The Morning After," the religious themes of the movie, how some of the scenes were created and a featurette, which this DVD shares with "The Towering Inferno," on writer Stirling Sillipant.
Even given its short length at 6:27 is the featurette "The R.M.S. Queen Mary" which gives a fascinating history of the liner which served not only as a location for exterior shots of the "Poseidon" and the design of the ship, but also in the genesis of the idea for the novel. Apparently Gallico had taken a trip on the Queen Mary in the 1950s when it had been hit by a large wave. Tilting slightly plates and glasses went flying until the ship righted itself. Years later as Gallico sat down to write a novel the memory came back to him.
Perhaps the most famous shot of the movie is of the character Terry falling from a table into the glass ceiling below. This stunt was performed by actor Ernie Osatti, who was asked to do it so the movie could say that a number of the stunts had been performed by the actors themselves. This is recounted by Osatti in the 4:09 documentary "Falling up with Ernie."
Of the two commentaries the solo effort by Neame is the most involving with the director commending his cast for spending virtually an entire movie being "damped down" with hoses before practically every shot. Neame also reveals that he was "terrified" when he heard that Gallico would be seeing the movie because he had not stayed faithful to the novel, but was relieved to find out that the novelist loved the film.
Neame also explained the use of the "title" on the front of the movie which would seem to a casual observer to be a spoiler. As the movie opens we learn from a blurb on the screen that "only a handful of survivors" made it through the capsized ship. As Neame tells us, this was included as a means of holding the audiences attention through the first 20 minutes of the picture as we are introduced to the impressive cast with the audience trying to figure out who will survive.
The second cast commentary by Martin, Stevens and Lynley has, strangely enough, more periods of silence as the three seem to become involved in watching the movie unfold. It is also more anecdotal in nature. Stevens, for example, recounts getting into trouble recently for having her picture taken with the model of the ship (which apparently is on display at the maritime museum in Long Beach, Calif.), until it was learned she had appeared in the movie.
The three also talk about the casting and even mention how they had expressed an interest in making cameo appearances in the new movie, a notion which was met with no enthusiasm by the studio.
Perhaps the most interesting special feature is also the most unusual, an interactive feature that allows the viewer to follow the escape through schematics of the ship as they watch the movie. With a boat graphic in the lower right corner of the picture as a prompt, a screen comes up that shows the viewer where the survivors are, the path they took to get there and who is left. The schematic is based (as the movie and book were also) on the R.M.S Queen Mary.
Rounding out the DVD is a 10-minute archival 1972 promotional feature on the movie, two teaser trailers and the theatrical trailer, three storyboard comparisons and the transcription of an article that appeared in an edition of "American Cinematographer" with selectable images that take the viewer to image galleries.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 26, 2007 5:52:45 PM PST
[Deleted by Amazon on Mar 27, 2011 5:00:25 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 17, 2009 7:55:56 AM PDT
Magellan says:
Yes, great review, with loads of interesting trivia on how the movie was made.

Posted on Nov 13, 2011 9:52:29 AM PST
Brad P. says:
This movie should be released on Blu-Ray.
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