The Poseiden Adventure

This classic movie from 1972 features a multi-star cast. It's not as much an adventure as a disaster at sea that kills off almost the entire passenger list. Parts of the movie were filmed on the Queen Mary.

The film looks very dated now, with glowing orange and yellow colors, a mixture of hippy singers and conservative older people. A preacher - Gene Hackman - spends his time telling people that God helps those who help themselves. He discusses this issue with a fellow preacher, one who believes in simply staying put and praying.

Of course this all comes into play in a short time when a killer tsunami sweeps along and overturns the boat in the middle of New Year's Eve festivities. There are a number of key people by this point - a young boy and girl, an older married couple, a middle-age couple of cop and reformed prostitute, plus the female singer and a crew member. The entire passenger list, pretty much, is stranded in the main ballroom area.

The preacher sets into action working to find a way to escape. The purser and most of the passengers decide to just "stay put" and wait for help, even though the boat is now upside down. This greatly upsets the preacher, but him and his 10-member "flock" climb to safety. There's no drawn out wondering if he did the right thing - the moment they get to a higher level, water comes in and drowns everyone else.

From that point forward it's a literal race against time - the water comes up behind them, they climb ahead. Even with so many proofs of why it's critical for them to reach higher ground, his flock constantly complains. They meet other people along the way who are convinced that staying put or going towards the water is a bad idea. It's really amazing how many people are slaughtered in this movie to make the point.

This isn't a great movie for someone afraid of boats - but it does give you a glimpse into what cruise life was before the great building explosion of the 1990s. Back in the early 70s, there were creaky, wooden chairs on deck, wooden platforms, very steep ladders, and a great deal of formality. It was a ship that people took cruises on, vs a floating hotel that happened to be on the water.

I do have an issue with the ending, but I won't give that away. In any case I highly recommend watching this to get a sense of what cruising was like in very recent times.

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