With another New Years Eve on the way I started to think about the overall Poseidon franchise and thought I would chime in about the forgotten sequel, Beyond the Poseidon Adventure.
The funny thing about Irwin Allen’s 1979 film, Beyond the Poseidon Adventure, is that many people don’t even know that it exists. The follow-up to one of the most popular mainstream blockbusters of all time was released seven years after the original The Poseidon Adventure and barely registered at the box-office. It did a very quick fade from theaters and is universally regarded as a creative and financial failure. That’s why many people who know and love the original don’t even realize that a sequel was produced as it rarely gets much television play.
On the Friday it opened, May 18, 1979, I remember seeing a review by veteran movie critic Dennis Cunningham on CBS affiliate channel 2 out of New York when I lived in Brooklyn. He gave the movie a one out of ten, which was not very encouraging. In a pre-Rottentomatoes.com era, a review here and there is all you would get. Still, being a huge fan of the original both my father and I couldn’t wait to see it. The one vivid memory I still recall (I was just 13 at the time) is leaning over to my father about halfway through and asking him why people are firing guns aboard the Poseidon. It just didn’t feel right. Needless to say we were disappointed and perplexed but over time the movie has become a guilty pleasure for me. While it will never be what the 1972 original is, the movie is still part of that disaster genre I grew up on and loved.
Perhaps my affection for The Poseidon Adventure blinded me into eventually seeing Beyond as a fun movie that clearly is in love with its campy self. Bottom line, it is campy to the hilt, and so far removed from the tone of the original that it almost defies logic. I enjoy the work of its stars, Michael Caine (tug boat Capt Mike Turner), Sally Field (Celeste Whitman) and Karl Malden (Turner’s first mate Wilbur). Caine’s Turner admitting to Malden’s character that he knows he has cancer is a solid disaster movie moment. The scene takes place here at the 4:48 mark. VIEW
Their chemistry is solid although Malden’s death scene toward the film’s conclusion is stunningly bad and one of the worst I’ve ever seen in a movie. It simply makes no sense. My other big pet peeve is the Telly Savalas villain character, Dr. Stefan Svevo. The story would have played so much better without him. Still, on a rainy Saturday morning, I can pop this film in on DVD and have a fairly good time watching it. The DVD transfer is a solid one in all its widescreen glory. At the end of the day it’s hard to go wrong watching Michael Caine. Despite all of its story problems and silliness, I’ve grown to enjoy it on a level that defies real criticism. Call it a product of its time; a time when Irwin Allen was winding down his mantle as the Master of Disaster! I guess I’m a sucker for a capsized ocean liner.
A monstrous tidal has left the luxury liner Poseidon capsized mid-ocean and its few survivors struggling to reach safety in an upside-down world. But The Poseidon Adventure was only the thrilling start. You must go Beyond the Poseidon Adventure to complete the white-knuckle suspense. Under producer/director Irwin Allen, Michael Caine and Sally Field head an all-star cast caught in the crippled craft’s flaming corridors and bursting bulwarks. Tug skipper Caine, first mate Karl Malden and passenger Field enter the foundering vessel hoping for salvage rights, miraculously finding more survivors. But others have come aboard, led by sinister Dr. Stefan Svevo (Telly Savalas). He wants a priceless cargo of plutonium – and will kill for his plunder!
Characters: Salvage Team Captain Mike Turner (Michael Caine), Wilbur Hubbard (Karl Malden), Celeste Whitman (Sally Field)
Villains: Captain Stefan Svevo (Telly Savalas), Kurt (Paul Picerni) Doyle (Patrick Culliton), Castrop (Dean Raphael Ferrandini)
Passengers: Frank Mazzetti (Peter Boyle), Theresa Mazzetti (Angela Cartwright), Harold Meredith (Jack Warden), Hannah Meredith (Shirley Knight), Suzanne (Veronica Hamel)
Crew: Gina Rowe, nurse (Shirley Jones), Dewey “Tex” Hopkins, wine cellar clerk (Slim Pickens), Larry Simpson, elevator operator (Mark Harmon)
Abandoned film sequel premise:
From the Special Edition DVD Actor Commentary: Producer Irwin Allen proposed an original sequel that would have the survivors testifying in a hearing on the disaster in Vienna, country of the Poseidon’s parent company. While on a train to the hearing, a mountain tunnel collapses leaving the survivors of the train to make their way out. A similar premise was used in the 1996 Rob Cohen film Daylight with Sylvester Stallone.
Although the original film abandoned much of the Paul Gallico original novel, he was asked to write a sequel novel that could be adapted into a film. He did and just as with his original novel most of it was jettisoned in favor of the resulting film.
This info on the Novel written by Paul Gallico as a direct sequel to the movie and not his novel on which the first Poseidon movie is based is quite fasinating. I can’t even imagine how this would have played out if they actually filmed it.
Like the movie, the novel picks up where the original leaves off. On the French Naval helicopter, Rogo forces the pilot to turn back to the wreck. After landing, Rogo, Manny Rosen, and James Martin get off. Manny wants to recover his deceased wife’s body while Martin is simply looking for more adventure. Only Rogo does not reveal that he is supposed to protect half a billion dollars worth of government gold in the ship’s hold.
Meanwhile, the owner of the Poseidon has hired pirate Captain Ilich Bela to recover the gold for his company.
Hely and several men are grave robbers. The men and Hely prepare to dive into the wreck to steal party jewels and valuables. Jason’s ship is wrecked by the same wave which destroyed the Poseidon. Some time later, Dutch freighter Magt van Leiden is shipping out when she comes across Jason in the water. Captain Klaas van Zeevogel and his daughter Coby spot Jason and pick him up. Jason asks if Klaas could sail him to the wreck of the Poseidon to pick up something.
Rogo and the other survivors are standing in the engine room when Jason and the van Zeevogels appear. By then, Bela’s ship has arrived at the Poseidon. After reporting that another ship is there, the employer tells Bela to disregard the salvage rights law and get on with the operation.
Inside the engine room, Jason orders Rogo to leave. After an extensive argument, they compromised that Jason can have his thing, Klaas can obtain salvage rights and Rogo can ship the gold into the Magt.
Down in the flooded ballroom, Hely and her accomplices are trying to ransack the bodies. Just when the others refuse to rob the deceased, Bela’s men arrive and kill all but Hely, who manages to swim away up to the engine room. Hely lies to the men that she was rescuing survivors when her friends got trapped, but Rogo is skeptical. Suddenly, a bulkhead/air pocket bursts, shaking the ship and pulling some of the water away, taking Mrs. Rosen’s body.
The group opens a storage hold and finds a tiger in it. As they are exploring the ship, Bela’s men drill a hole through the hulk and enter. One man named Anton has a brief fight with Rogo. Hely and Jason open the tiger cage and the tiger runs away. Manny finds Rogo’s gun and points it at Bela, saying that if Bela kills the group, he will shoot. After the others escape to Broadway (the crew corridor), all the pirates simultaneously shoot Manny.
The group makes it to Broadway and begins to set traps for the pirates. Rogo hides in the theatre, Hely and Jason in the barbershop and the rest in the library. There, they find the last remaining survivor on the ship: the nurse.
Bela orders Anton and several men to search for Rogo and his friend. One pirate ventures into the theatre and is killed instantly. Another is distracted by Hely’s nudity and was stabbed by Jason. Anton goes into the library only to be showered by books. Anton then encounters the tiger and wrestles it until it both fall into a hole and drown.
Rogo finds Hely’s purse of stolen goods and almost exposes her when she refused to open it. Eventually, they find a way back to the engine room and discover Jason’s parcel, which turns out to contain ammunition. They are captured by Bela, who has found the gold and is transporting it into his ship. Bela exposes Hely. Jason thought Hely loved him. Hely, to show her true love, dives into the ocean.
The captive group uses the ammunition to shoot Bela. Suddenly, Hely returns, suffering from the bends. Having knowingly sacrificed herself to help the others, she tells Jason that there is an erupting volcano directly under the Poseidon. She then dies.
It is Rogo that the pirates wanted dead. Rogo fakes his death by having Jason plant blood on his forehead and knocking him out. Jason approaches Bela by lying that Rogo died. Bela agrees to let them go with Hely and Rogo. Just after burying Hely in the sea a distance away, the volcano erupts and destroys the Poseidon and the pirates and creates a new island.
That night, the survivors are celebrating. Coby reveals that she has rescued one bar of gold. When they reached Athens, Rogo lies about what really happened to conceal the truth about the gold. The group parts with Rogo telling Jason to buy a new boat with the gold that they rescued. Jason responds by saying that it will be called Dumb Cop. Back at the shipowner’s office, the manager reports that Bela and his men all died and the shipment was lost.
A region one DVD version was released on August 22, 2006. A digital version is available for rental and purchase on the Playstation Network for the Playstation 3.
This is the ONE movie I cannot wait to see in 2010. After seeing this footage there’s little doubt that 11 year old actress Chloe Moretz (who plays Hit Girl) will enter the annals of pop culture instantaneously once this film is released in April 2010. I’ll be seeing this one in NYC with the largest crowd possible. Take a LOOK and be prepared to be wowed. Don’t expect trailers to be running on the Fox news channel as they would probably consider this the fall of western civilization!
One movie that is and always will be as a stable of must watch movie viewing come Holiday time for me is Joe Dante’s highly inventive, 1984 classic, Gremlins. While most agree that it’s a terrific movie, the one thing about it that has always brought more than a few unintentional laughs is Phoebe Cate’s character explaining why she doesn’t like Christmas. Being good sports, Dante and Cates even did a parody of it in the sequel.
Cates as Kate
“The worst thing that ever happened to me was on Christmas. Oh, God. It was so horrible. It was Christmas Eve. I was nine years old. Me and Mom were decorating the tree, waiting for Dad to come home from work. A couple hours went by. Dad wasn’t home. So Mom called the office. No answer. Christmas Day came and went, and still nothing. So the police began a search. Four or five days went by. Neither one of us could eat or sleep. Everything was falling apart. It was snowing outside. The house was freezing, so I went to try to light up the fire. That’s when I noticed the smell. The firemen came and broke through the chimney top. And me and Mom were expecting them to pull out a dead cat or a bird. And instead they pulled out my father. He was dressed in a Santa Claus suit. He’d been climbing down the chimney… his arms loaded with presents. He was gonna surprise us. He slipped and broke his neck. He died instantly. And that’s how I found out there was no Santa Claus.”
Here is a look at a GREMLINS review by Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel from their At the Movies program 25 years ago.
My first thoughts: This reminds me of the structure used in Rocky 3 with Tony Stark and his alter ego Iron Man (instead of Rocky) now a high profile figure with a new adversary, Whiplash (instead of Clubber Lang) waiting in the wings. Bottom line – it looks really good. Check it out HERE
With James Cameron’s latest offering, Avatar, ready to be unleashed next Friday, it’s hard not to look back at his body of work and think he’s one of the greatest filmmakers of all time. Like any great director, his films stand up against the test of time. Terminator 1&2, Aliens, True Lies and Titanic. They never tire of repeat views and neither does his somewhat troubled 1989 underwater epic, The Abyss. One scene that really stands out here is the amazing drowning scene featuring Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio. The harrowing choice that must be made between the film’s two lead characters, Ed Harris and her, is as compelling as anything Cameron has ever put on screen. Take a LOOK
One film that is always on my must watch list every holiday season is Edward Scissorhands. The 1990 Tim Burton movie was the launching pad for the super stardom of actor Johnny Depp (Tom Hanks and Tom Cruise were frontrunners before Depp landed the role). In many ways, at least for me, this is director Burton’s most emotionally satisfying movie. This clip is one of the film’s most powerful moments beautifully scored by Danny Elfman. When I saw this film at the famed Ziegfeld Theater in NYC on a Saturday afternoon almost two decades ago I knew I was watching something special.
An official poster for Iron Man 2 has hit the web via Paramount/Marvel Studios! This one features both Iron Man and a good look at War Machine (which should be being worn by Don Cheadle… who replaced Terrence Howard)! Iron Man 2 also adds Mickey Rourke, Scarlett Johansson and Olivia Munn to its cast that returns Robert Downey Jr and Gwyneth Paltrow.