Because the 1970s were awash in disaster pictures—many of them cheap and cheesy—the entire genre sometimes gets a bad rap. And it doesn’t help that we’ve just endured a decade-plus of real-world disasters that make falling skyscrapers and massive floods less entertaining, even in fiction. But taken on their own terms, a few of those star-studded Me Generation smash-ups are quite good. The Poseidon Adventure is a genuinely white-knuckle adventure with a point to make, showing how a ritzy cruise-liner is cursed by corporate mismanagement and divine wrath. Gene Hackman leads an all-star cast, playing a leftist firebrand minister who yells at his fellow passengers in a capsized ship, to get them to abandon the seemingly safe confines of the dining room and work their way upward to safety. Stella Stevens, Ernest Borgnine, and Shelley Winters all chew the scenery like crazy, but producer Irwin Allen, director Ronald Neame, and screenwriters Stirling Silliphant and Wendell Mayes turn Paul Gallico’s novel into compelling series of impossible obstacles, and a stirring meditation on faith to boot. Plus, it’s never not fun to watch well-dressed movie stars stubbornly refuse to listen to reason, and then suffer the consequences. The Poseidon Adventure airs on Turner Classic Movies tonight at 8 p.m. Eastern.
December 16, 2014 Cable Pick Of The Day