The Poseidon Adventure (1972)
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I guess it was a magic Christmas tree that only allowed people who had received character development to climb it.
The Poseidon Adventure is one of the parents of the disaster movie genre (for better or worse), but while there are moments when I wonder how long we're going to go down a darkened corridor, it's still among the most clever and sustainably interesting movies of that type. The film smartly lets us know the cast of characters before tipping the cruise ship upside down (in fact, I think my prior experience with this one was the Mad Magazine parody, The Upside-Down Adventure), so we have a good sense of who's who and why we should care when they're in danger or die (as per the trope). While the Poseidon becomes a good death trap, that's not the only thing going on. This is really a contest of wills between Gene Hackman's bootstraps preacher, who believes God helps those who help themselves, and Ernest Borgnine's by-the-book policeman - a neat reversal of expectations, which I suppose is thematic - with various other characters having to overcome their fears and trauma during the ordeal. In any case, it's Shelley Winters I find most affecting. One of the things disaster movies like to do is have a big cast of name actors to play with, and they're really perfecting the formula here. I have no doubt it would spawn the approach used in The Love Boat, and I can't help but see this as Love Boat gone wrong even if the chronology is wrong. Did Carol Channing and Charo die in the first moments of the accident?
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In 4 official lists
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This movie ranks #20 in Emma Beare's 501 Must-See Movies
This movie ranks #89 in Box Office Mojo's All Time Adjusted Box Office
This movie ranks #90 in AFI's 100 Years...100 Thrills
This movie ranks #540 in TSPDT's 1,000 Greatest Films: 1001-2000