”The Poseidon Adventure” made our list of best disaster movies
FAMILIAR FACES Gene Hackman and Shelley Winters (shown); also: Ernest Borgnine, Red Buttons, Roddy McDowall, and Leslie Nielsen (!)
UH-OH! A tidal wave capsizes a luxury liner, leaving only 10 survivors among the passengers and crew aboard the upside-down, sinking ship.
DISASTROUS DIALOGUE ”I was the underwater swimming champ of New York three years running when I was 17.” —grandmotherly Belle Rosen (Winters), before embarking on a dangerous underwater mission
SAVING THE DAY Rev. Frank Scott (Hackman) must overcome his recent crisis of faith to inspire the remaining survivors to escape flooded or burning passages to get to the surface.
AFTERSHOCKS Besides spawning a sequel, a 2005 TV movie, and a 2006 big-screen remake, Poseidon established producer Irwin Allen as the granddaddy of disaster movies, a reputation he would cement with The Towering Inferno and squander with duds like The Swarm and When Time Ran Out. Poseidon’s cast of Oscar winners also gave the genre some prestige. The staging of other waterlogged catastrophes, particularly Titanic, owes Poseidon a debt.
WHY YOU SHOULD SEE IT Laugh at Winters if you must, but she swam her way to an Oscar nomination for Poseidon, while Hackman, as always, managed to keep a straight face. Credit veteran director Ronald Neame (The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie) for guiding the acting and the action set pieces with equal aplomb.
EW GRADE B