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Sink-a-Palooza: Maritime Disaster Films Part 1

1. Beyond the Poseidon Adventure: This is actually a 1979 sequel to the original Hackman version of The Poseidon Adventure. The story centers on a team of salvage divers (headed by the always excellent Sir Michael Caine and supported Sally Field) who head out to overturned Poseidon the day after the events of the first film. They meet up with a crew of rescue personnel (led by Telly Savalas...who unsurprisingly turns out NOT to be who he says he is. Which--duh! It's Telly Savalas!) and head into the wreck in search of left-behind riches, only to find themselves trapped inside with a bunch of survivors. From there on out, it's pretty much exactly the same as the original film--"Oh noes! We're trapped! We must climb up! Come on everyone, climb! But it's flooded! And on fire! Climb damn you, climb!" The main characters do well (come on, it's Michael Caine, how bad can it be?) and there are some fun performances from the survivors, particularly Slim Pickens as a boisterous Texas oilman and Peter Boyle as the loudmouth. There also appearance from other familiar faces, included Shirley Jones (Mrs. Partridge), Shirley Knight (the woman has 158 IMDB credits, I'm sure you'll recognize her from something), and a very young Mark Harmon (Gibbs from NCIS). Although not a stellar film, it's decent rainy-day entertainment.



2. A Night to Remember: This is the original 1958 adaptation of Walter Lord's book of the same name. This the last Titanic film to be made in black and white, and is still regarded as one of the best. (It was referenced heavily by James Cameron in his Titanic.) It's a pretty good film, though in my opinion not quite long enough--there were many characters, and sometimes the film felt like it was bouncing around between them almost randomly. Also, although they touched on some of the less-than-wholesome sides of the tragedy, there was a lot of whitewashing going on, especially with regard to the treatment of the steerage passengers. Not a bad film, and certainly one that's relatively historically important in the disaster film oeuvre. Trivia: look out for a very young David McCullum (Ducky on NCIS) as well as an allegedly uncredited 20-something Sean Connery as a nameless sailor. In addition, this was made before it was known that the Titanic broke in half before sinking, so it's interesting to see the sinking of the entire ship using the special effects of the times.



3. The Poseidon Adventure (Hallmark Channel mini-series): No, okay, just no. I gave it a chance because I like Adam Baldwin, but just no. I will give you three very clear reasons:
A. Terrorists. Yes, not a tidal wave, terrorists.
B. Special effects I am pretty sure I could have done myself with MS Paint.
C. They LEFT THE CREDITS IN BETWEEN SECTIONS! All the credits, beginning and ending! Even though both halves of the mini-series were playing concurrently on the same side of the disk!
*Bonus*: Stars Steve Guttenberg. Also Rutger Hauer and C. Thomas Howell. Is basically where B-movie stars have apparently gone to die. Poor Adam Baldwin.

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