Not exactly the Jungle cruise at Disney.
Two films on Blu-ray from the great Ronald Neame in a 30 day period is a very good thing. First The Odessa File, and now The Poseidon Adventure.
For non-cinephiles who are reading this, Mr. Neame, who passed away in June of 2010 at the age of 99, was the son of Ivy Close, star of Abel Gance's La Roue.
He was asst. cameraman on a little early sound film (also filmed as silent) called Blackmail, the director of which went on to make occasional thrillers.
By the 1940s, Mr. Neame was a shooting major productions as cinematographer, including Major Barbara, One of Our Aircraft is Missing, In Which We Serve, This Happy Breed, and Blithe Spirit (all three of which recently arrived via Criterion).
He then, as part of Cineguild worked (uncredited as producer) on Brief Encounter, and continuing his relationship with Sir David Lean, produced two of what are still considered today to be the finest of Dickens brought to film -- Great Expectations (1946) and Oliver Twist (1948). 1950 saw him producing One Woman's Story aka Passionate Friends for his partner Director David Lean, before making the major move toward direction.
A list of his credits might having you wonder how he came to direct The Poseidon Adventure.
The Man Who Never Was, Windom's Way, The Horse's Mouth, Tunes of Glory, I Could Go On Singing, The Chalk Garden, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (love to have that one from Fox on Blu.)
Most of you are wondering what The Poseidon Adventure looks like.
It looks nice.
Sounds nice also.
The film was distributed as both mono as well as 4-track stereo in 35mm. There were also a number of 70mm blow-ups produced.
Color is superb. Main titles are tack sharp -- still can't figure out what occurred with Camelot...
I'm not certain what element was used for image or how old the master might be, but it's fine. Grain seems a bit restrained for 5254, which leads me to believe this is either from a dupe, an older transfer or some knob-turning was performed.
With all of Fox's more recent transfers being stellar, this one just seems to be missing that bit of snap to the image.
But there's nothing untoward going on, and as a whole, both image as well as 4.0 DTS-HD MA audio yield a very pleasing representation of the film.
So where does The Poseidon Adventure fit into film history?
It delivered nice box office, as many less than great films do.
It's entertaining, and in the theatre the sound of others chomping on popcorn didn't seem to diminish the film's charms.
The same formula used in so many crisis films works once again.
It's like so many films. Pick a mode of transportation. A big plane in Airport (2 years earlier) or The High and the Mighty (almost two decades earlier). It can be a runaway train, a bus...
It's all the same formula. Take a reasonable number of former Oscar winners, mix them liberally with some young attractive thespians and a load of extras and create a nice setup.
To quote my favorite film critic Roger Ebert:
You can find Mr. Ebert's entire review here:
For those who won't visit his site, and you should be a regular there if you love film, here his summation. One of the best, I've ever read in a review:
"The Poseidon Adventure is the kind of movie you know is going to be awful, and yet somehow you gotta see it, right? They ought to be honest in the ads: Cornier that "Airport"! More clinches than "Grand Hotel!" The most character actors in small roles since "Flight of the Phoenix!" Bigger ups and downs than the elevator in "Hotel!"
See! Shelley Winter's left thigh! Hear! Ernest Borgnine say, "Do you mean to tell me...? Thrill! To Stella Stevens taking off her blouse to use as a bandage! Weep! As Jack Albertson promises to give Shelley Winters' underwater swimming medal to their grandchildren in Israel! Gasp! As Gene Hackman recoils from flames! Glop! As Carol Lynley is covered with oil! Hold your breath! As..."
Portions of the film were shot about the RMS Queen Mary in Long Beach, CA.
A fun visit to the 1970s genre film.
Image - 4
Audio - 5