on 31 March 2014
THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE [1972/2013] [Blu-ray] Who Will Survive – In One of the Greatest Escape Adventures Ever! Hell, Upside Down!
One of the most gripping disaster films of all time follows ten survivors as they struggle to escape from an ocean liner capsized by a tidal wave. Suspenseful terror and combined with the victims' intimate and personal stories - results in compelling and heart-stopping drama. Nine ACADEMY AWARD® Nominations and a win for Best Visual Effects make this film a true classic.
FILM FACT: Awards and Nominations: Academy Awards®: Won: Best Original Song "The Morning After” for Al Kasha and Joel Hirschhorn. Nominated: Best Supporting Actress for Shelley Winters. Nominated: Best Production Design for Raphael Bretton and William J. Creber. Nominated: Best Original Score for John Williams. Nominated: Best Costume Design for Paul Zastupnevich. Best Sound for Herman Lewis and Theodore Soderberg. Nominated: Best Cinematography for Harold E. Stine. Nominated: Best Film Editing for Harold F. Kress. BAFTA® Awards: Won: Best Actor for Gene Hackman. Nominated: Best Supporting Actress for Shelley Winters. Golden Globe® Awards: Nominated: Best Original Score for John Williams. Nominated: Best Original Song "The Morning After” for Al Kasha and Joel Hirschhorn. Nominated: Best Motion Picture for a Drama for Irwin Allen. Motion Picture Sound Editors Award: Nominated: Best Sound Editing.
Cast: Gene Hackman, Ernest Borgnine, Red Buttons, Carol Lynley, Roddy McDowall, Stella Stevens, Shelley Winters, Jack Albertson, Pamela Sue Martin, Arthur O'Connell, Eric Shea, Fred Sadoff, Sheila Allen, Jan Arvan, Byron Webster, John Crawford, Bob Hastings, Erik L. Nelson, Leslie Nielsen, Phil Adams (uncredited), Charles Bateman (uncredited), Craig Chudy (uncredited), Ronn Cragg (uncredited), Jimmy Cross (uncredited), Jim Galante (uncredited), Bob Golden (uncredited), Maurice Marsac (uncredited), Ernie F. Orsatti (uncredited), Victor Paul (uncredited), Frieda Rentie (uncredited), George Sawaya (uncredited), Paul Stader (uncredited), Mark Tulin (uncredited) and Waddy Wachtel (uncredited)
Directors: Ronald Neame and Irwin Allen (uncredited)
Producer: Irwin Allen, Sherrill C. Corwin, Sidney Marshall and Steve Broidy
Screenplay: Stirling Silliphant, Wendell Mayes and Paul Gallico (novel)
Composer: John Williams
Cinematography: Harold E. Stine
Video Resolution: 1080p [Color By Deluxe]
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 [Panavision]
Audio: English: 4.0 HD-DTS Master Audio, Spanish: Dolby Digital Mono, French: Dolby Digital Mono, Castilian: Dolby Digital Mono, German: Dolby Digital Mono, Italian: Dolby Digital Mono and Polish: 5.1 Dolby Digital
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Italian, Bulgarian, Cantonese, Danish, Dutch, Filipino (Tagalog), Finnish, Greek, Hebrew, Icelandic, Indonesian, Korean, Mandarin (Simplified), Mandarin (Traditional), Norwegian, Polish, Russian and Swedish SDH
Running Time: 117 minutes
Region: All Regions
Number of discs: 1
Studio: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Andrew's Blu-ray Review: An opening title card informs us that the ship Poseidon was lost at sea on a voyage from New York to Athens; "only a handful" survived. Now, instead of just being introduced to the main characters, the viewer begins to wonder which ones will be alive at the end. Mr. Rogo [Ernest Borgnine] is a New York cop taking his first real vacation with his wife, Linda (Stella Stevens), who's self-conscious because she's a former hooker and thinks she spotted a former client among the ship's crew. Belle and Manny Rosen [Shelley Winters and Jack Albertson] used to run a hardware store, but now they're retiring to Israel where a two-year-old grandson awaits their doting attention. Another shopkeeper, a haberdasher named Martin [Red Buttons], is obsessed with staying healthy and living a long life, but has never found the time for a relationship. A teenaged girl named Susan [Pamela Sue Martin] is traveling with her younger brother, Robin [Eric Shea], to join their parents; the kid is a nautical enthusiast who keeps bugging the crew for tours, thereby picking up information that will shortly prove useful. A ship's steward, Acres [Roddy McDowall], is taken with a singer, Nonnie [Carol Lynley], who will be performing at the New Year's Eve bash later that night, where Acres will be on duty.
The rest of the film is nothing more than the struggle to reach their destination past increasingly hazardous obstacles, as tempers flare, the doomed ship continues to break apart and the onrushing sea pursues them like a predator. Without ever reaching Africa, Rev. Scott has found his calling. "I've seen it!" he exclaims to the others, after he's returned from a scouting mission to locate the engine room, and Hackman delivers the line with messianic fervour. Hackman's performance is a key ingredient in Poseidon, because Rev. Scott could easily have been a caricature. Ultimately, though, Poseidon works because of the simplicity of its nightmarish scenario. There are no conspiratorial subplots about building codes, cost-cutting, greed or other human elements in the disaster. Even the brief argument between the ship's captain and the owner's representative about safety measures is a red herring, because nothing could have secured the ship against the wall of water that capsized it. The film inflicts an unimaginable, unforeseeable disaster on a random group of individuals, and then we watch how the survivors react. Forty years later, it's still scary stuff.
Blu-ray Video Quality – 20th Century Fox's 1080p encoded image quality of `The Poseidon Adventure' looks absolutely terrific. The source materials are in excellent shape and faithfully restored, and the image is beautifully detailed with rich, saturated colours, deep and solid blacks, and a sense of depth that is essential to conveying the sheer scale of the production. Compression artefacts, banding, artificial sharpening and other defects that would militate against a recommendation were nowhere to be seen. Fox has been on the front lines of experimenting with ways to make the appearance of older films acceptable to a generation used to contemporary "cleanliness" in their video experience, and the results have often been controversial. Overall it has stood the test of time and Fox has done a brilliant job and any youngsters viewing this Blu-ray will think it has been made in 2014.
Blu-ray Audio Quality – The 4.0 DTS-HD Master Audio track appears to contain the film's original "four-track stereo" mix, which predates Dolby Surround and its variations (which wouldn't be available until the following decades). Almost all of the sound occurs in the front three speakers with only occasional effects or reinforcement from the mono rear channel. The discrete centre channel aids in preserving the clarity of dialogue, especially as the noise of the ship's deterioration increases, and the stereo separation between the front mains contributes a welcome sense of dimensionality as the survivor's work their way through the various spaces and past increasingly challenging obstacles. The dynamic range is respectable but limited at both the bottom and the top; so that explosions that routinely rock the capsized vessel won't do much for your subwoofer and the high notes of John Williams' memorable score. Still, given the vintage of the production, the track sounds quite good.
Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:
Audio Commentary: Commentary by Director Ronald Neame: Ronald Neame was in his early 60s when he directed The Poseidon Adventure and his early 90s when he recorded this commentary and sadly passed away in 2010 at age 99. Still, you'd never guess his age from the quality of this presentation, which is sharp, insightful and full of interesting detail. Ronald Neame's memory was no doubt kept fresh through invitations to address biennial conventions of the Poseidon fan club that met aboard the Queen Mary, where he and his wife would be put up in the Royal Suite, but his critical faculties are equally sharp, as he routinely points out lines of dialogue he wishes he'd changed, edits he would do differently today and directorial choices about which he's had second thoughts (notably, he'd like to tone down the intensity of the conflict between Gene Hackman's Scott and Ernest Borgnine's Rogo). Ronald Neame's observations on the relation between producer and director and on the changing role of the camera's "eye" in 20th Century cinema are invaluable.
Audio Commentary: Commentary by Actors Pamela Sue Martin, Stella Stevens and Carol Lynley: As is often the case with group commentaries, the three actresses have too much fun reminiscing and talking over each other to provide an informative commentary. In the latter half of the movie, pauses become frequent.
Special Feature: Hollywood Backstories: The Poseidon Adventure  [25:09] The AMC series produced some excellent features on classic films, and this particular episode on `The Poseidon Adventure' is a fine example. Using both contemporary footage and new interviews from 1995, it describes how the Poseidon was green lit, nearly cancelled, rescued at the last minute and went on to become a classic.
Special Features: The Cast Looks Back  [5:42] The interviewees include Sheila Allen (Irwin Allen's widow, who played the ship's nurse), Red Buttons, Carol Lynley, Pamela Sue Martin, Roddy McDowall, Stella Stevens and James Radford (consultant).
Special Feature: Falling Up with Ernie  [4:10] Ernie Orsatti recalls how he was hired on Poseidon as an actor, but was suddenly plucked from the crowd by director Ronald Neame to perform the film's most famous stunt: the fall into a huge pane of glass.
Special Feature: The Writer: Stirling Silliphant [9:16] Recollections of, and tributes to, Poseidon's screenwriters by assorted friends and colleagues.
Special Feature: The Heroes of the Poseidon  [9:53] A quasi-allegorical interpretation of the film that pushes every possible Christian element in the story to the breaking point and beyond. Contributors of this special feature included Christopher Heard, Stella Stevens and John Vogel.
Special Feature: The Morning After Story [9:00] Co-writer Al Kasha with Joel Hirschhorn describes writing the film's Oscar-winning theme song. Additional observations are supplied by Maureen McGovern, whose recording became the standard edition, Carol Lynley who performed the song in the film, and Renée Armand who recorded the demo and ended up dubbing Carol Lynley in the finished film.
Special Feature: R.M.S. Queen Mary  [6:25] A brief overview of the majestic ocean liner, which both inspired Gallico's original novel and provided a template and locations for the film.
Special Feature: Conversations with Ronald Neame  [8:51] Sinking Corridor: How the shot of Reverend Scott and Robin running along the flooding corridor was done, and how the negative ended up submerged in water and was nearly ruined. Also included is Generations of Fans: Fan mail. Turning Over the Ship: Combining hydraulics with camera angles.
Special Feature: Galleries: Marketing Posters and other assorted ads, Publicity: Publicity stills, Behind-the-Scenes: On-set photos and many featuring director Ronald Neames, plus concept sketches for costumes.
Special Feature: Storyboard Comparisons [6:53] Ship Capsises, The Vertical Shaft and Saving Reverend Scott.
Special Feature: Vintage Promotional Material: Original 1972 Feature [10:01] Teaser Trailer [1:38] Short and to the point. Original Trailer [3:17] Over twice the length of the teaser but less effective.
Finally, `The Poseidon Adventure' has definitely aged well both in its technical attributes and its storytelling perspective. Its admirable screenplay, direction, and acting performances allow its long list of potential survivors to really grow as significant characters in a disaster tale that is straightforward but challenging to assemble. Its human elements and action-packed presentation justify both its box office success and critical acclaim and that is why I am so glad I have now added this classic blockbuster movie disaster to my Blu-ray Collection and of course they could not be able to make this type of film today, especially without all the CGI effects, as it would cost double the amount of money to make today and if you have not seen this film, then you will be missing something that is totally unique and you will be stunned by what you view and you will be a nervous wreck by the end of the film. Highly Recommended!
Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom