Friday, June 12, 2020

The Disaster Blogathon! On Board the Poseidon

Everyone always wonders how they would react in the event of a disastrous incident. Would you be a leader? Follower? Or that one guy who is a pain in the you-know-what to everyone around him (or maybe you’re the sexy lady running around in the strategically torn dress 😉).

Disaster movies are a way for us to imagine ourselves in these situations. From the dawn of film to the present, whether it be fire, flood, or earthquake, an erupting volcano or a shipwreck, killer mutant insects or zombies, to the modern apocalyptic films Hollywood loves so much, there is literally a movie for every disaster imaginable.

It was in the 1970s however, that the disaster movie became a genre of it’s own. And the man behind it was none other than the “Master of Disaster” himself, Irwin Allen.

One of his biggest hits, grossing over $84 million, was The Poseidon Adventure (1972). Based on the novel by Paul Gallico and directed by Ronald Neame, the film has an impressive cast of Oscar winners and nominees: Gene Hackman (2x winner), Ernest Borgnine (1955 winner), Shelley Winters (2x winner and 1 nomination), Red Buttons (1958 winner), Carol Lynley (2x Golden Globe nominee), Roddy McDowell (Golden Globe nominee), Stella Stevens (Golden Globe winner), Arthur O’Connell (2x nominee), and Jack Albertson (1969 winner). The cast also newcomer Pamela Sue Martin and child Actor Eric Shea (The Magical World of Disney). Playing the captain of the doomed Poseidon: Leslie Nielsen.

It’s New Year’s Eve and the Poseidon is making her final voyage before being scrapped. But Mother Nature has other plans. Just after midnight, the luxury liner going faster than is safe in order to arrive at it’s destination on time, is hit by a tidal wave caused by a sub-sea earthquake. Everyone on the bridge watches in horror as the wall of water sweeps towards them, killing them instantly when it hits and capsizes the ship, throwing partygoers to the ceiling now far below them as it rolls completely over. Chaos ensues until Reverend Scott (Hackman), a preacher who believes that “God helps those who help themselves,” takes charge of the situation. He informs everyone that they need to make their way to the hull of the ship, now above them, where the propeller shaft is located, as the steel there is only an inch thick. With the help of some of the men, the giant fake Christmas tree is pushed upright to serve as a ladder. Only a few passengers follow him, the majority listening to the ship’s purser who encourages everyone to wait until help comes. No sooner does the little group reach the top of the tree when explosions rock the ship, filling the great hall with water and drowning those who stayed behind.

As they make their way through the ship there are more explosions, including ones of temper as Hackman and Borgnine have constant disagreements. At one point the group comes to a seemingly dead end - a flooded corridor. In the original script, Winters character, a now overweight former Olympic swimmer, swims through but becomes trapped and has to be rescued by Hackman. Hackman suggested it be switched and the resulting scene, in which Winters rescues him only to die of a heart attack minutes late, earned her an Oscar nomination (Esther Williams was originally offered the role but turned it down on her husband’s advice). Winters studied with an Olympic swim coach prior to filming to give the scene authenticity.

More people die before the small group finally reach their destination and are rescued by the coast guard who cut a hole in the hull and pull them to safety.

There are several great intense scenes that made this movie enjoyable and entertaining. It would be fun to see it on the big screen!

The film was nominated for an Oscar in nine categories and won for Best Song and Best Special Effects, for which it also won a Special Achievement Award. Hackman won the BAFTA for Best Actor and Winters won a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress.

A sequel, Beyond the Poseidon Adventure, was released in 1979 also with an all-star cast, including Michael Caine, Sally Field, Karl Malden, Telly Savalas, Peter Boyle, Jack Warden, Shirley Knight, Slim Pickens, Angela Cartwright, Mark Harmon, and Shirley Jones. Directed by Irwin Allen himself, the film was unfortunately a “disaster.”

Taking place minutes after the helicopter full of survivors has taken off, Caine, his partner Malden, and passenger Field (nicknamed Monkey), come across the Poseidon, with only a small area of its hull showing above water (the earthquake of the first film is changed to a tropical storm). He declares salvage rights and prepares to enter. Savalas and his crew show up posing as medics (later we find out he is looking for a certain bit of cargo containing... plutonium.

Here is where the film enters a major problem. They enter the ship and begin making their way “down,” Caine to the pursers office where the gold is kept, and Savalas to the baggage hold. Now in the first film, as the survivors made their way to safety, there was no possible way to turn back, as the explosions had caused the ships passageways to fill with water. Yet suddenly the salvagers have no problem walking through the ship! If I had watched the sequel first it wouldn’t have been that unbelievable. But given what I had just seen, their actions were impossible. And for some reason EVERYONE enters the ship, including passenger Sally Field. I mean, would YOU enter an almost completely submerged ship just so you wouldn’t be left alone topside?

Naturally after they enter there is an explosion that cuts them off from the outside. Their only way is forward. They come across a group of survivors (that helicopter left a little prematurely don’t you think?) and head to the pursers office where everyone’s dreams of becoming rich come true. At this point the true identity of Savalas is revealed. There is a shootout, people are killed, and then Caine and his group escape and miraculously find a way out - a hole in the ship and scuba equipment. Despite it being a short swim, not everyone makes it. Then, just as they reach Caine’s tugboat, the ship finally sinks, killing Savalas and his remaining crew. Caine and Field kiss and chug away into the sunset.

Can you see why the film didn’t do well?

It's not a total loss though. There are some good performances by Malden and Pickens. It's just unfortunate the story doesn't hold up.

I hope you enjoyed this post. It is part of the DISASTER BLOG-A-THON hosted by The Midnite Drive-In and Dubsism. Please be sure to check out the other "disastrous" articles!

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Movies I Watched in May

Eve Arden, The Unfaithful (1947)

Have you been listening to TCM’s new podcast The Plot Thickens? Season 1 is about director Peter Bogdanovich. It is very interesting! There are a few of his movies I want to watch now.
  1. Steamboat Bill, Jr. (1928) - Buster Keaton 
  2. Horse Feathers (1932) - Marx Brothers, Thelma Todd
  3. *Hide-Out (1934) - Robert Montgomery & Maureen O’Sullivan, Mickey Rooney, Edward Arnold 
  4. Intermezzo (1936-Swedish) - Ingrid Bergman 
  5. Married Before Breakfast (1937) - Robert Young & Florence Rice
  6. Marie Antoinette (1938) - Norma Shearer & Tyrone Power, John Barrymore, Gladys George, Robert Morley, Anita Louise, Ruth Hussey 
  7. Daughter of Shanghai (1938) - Anna May Wong, Charles Bickford, Anthony Quinn
  8. The Citadel (1938) - Robert Donat & Rosalind Russell, Ralph Richardson
  9. June Night (1940-Swedish) - Ingrid Bergman 
  10. Double Indemnity (1944) - Fred MacMurray & Barbara Stanwyck, Edward G. Robinson 
  11. The Unfaithful (1947) - Ann Sheridan & Zachary Scott, Lew Ayres, Eve Arden
  12. *The Voice of the Turtle (1947) - Eleanor Parker & Ronald Reagan, Eve Arden
  13. The Caddy (1953) - Jerry Lewis & Dean Martin, Donna Reed
  14. Pickup on South Street (1953) - Richard Widmark & Jean Peters, Thelma Ritter 
  15. Johnny Guitar (1954) - Joan Crawford & Sterling Haydn, Ernest Borgnine, Ward Bond
  16. Quentin Durward (1955) - Robert Taylor & Kay Kendall
  17. *Our Miss Brooks (1956) - Eve Arden, Don Porter
  18. *North to Alaska (1960) - John Wayne & Capucine, Stewart Granger, Ernie Kovacs, Fabian
  19. The Wheeler Dealers (1963) - James Garner & Lee Remick, Chill Wills, Phil Harris
  20. Masquerade (1965) - Cliff Robertson, Jack Hawkins 
  21. The Family Jewels (1965) - Jerry Lewis (x7), Sebastian Cabot
  22. Three on a Couch (1966) - Jerry Lewis & Janet Leigh, James Best
  23. *The Green Berets (1968) - John Wayne, Aldo Ray, Jim Hutton, Patrick Wayne
  24. Executive Action (1973) - Burt Lancaster, Robert Ryan
  25. Paper Moon (1973) - Ryan O’Neal, Tatum O’Neal, Madeleine Kahn
  26. *Rocky (1976) - Facebook live with Sylvester Stallone!
  27. Gallipoli (1981) - Mel Gibson, Mark Lee 
  28. Attack Force Z (1982) - Mel Gibson 
  29. The Patriot (2000) - Mel Gibson, Heath Ledger
  30. *What Women Want (2000) - Mel Gibson & Helen Hunt, Alan Alda, Marisa Tomei, Judy Greer
American Experience - Walt Disney (2015)
Wait for Your Laugh (2017) - Rose Marie 
The Lost City of Cecil B. DeMille (2017)

Least Favorite Film: Johnny Guitar was PRETTY bad. “Emma” had a major problem... The patients in Three on a Couch were annoying (I liked Jerry Lewis’ more restrained character though).

Favorite Movie: Intermezzo was really good. Ingrid Bergman was ridiculously luminous. Paper Moon was really good. Also, it's a crime Thelma Ritter didn't win the Oscar for Pickup on South Street.

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Movies I Watched in April

Underwater! (1955)

Well this month certainly looks different! I actually watched some movies from the last two decades!! Lol. You may have already guessed it, but I’m crushing on Mel Gibson right now. I also started watching Hot in Cleveland. Betty White is a hoot and I’m enjoying the show more than I ever expected. I also burst into tears unexpectedly at the opening of 2:1. It’s on YouTube. I keep starting “new” shows instead of finishing the ones I’m nearly through with... It’s always sad to end a good show. Anyway, here’s what I watched this month:
  1. The Navigator (1924) - Buster Keaton
  2. Monkey Business (1931) - Marx Brothers, Thelma Todd
  3. Ship Ahoy (1942) - Eleanor Powell & Red Skelton, Bert Lahr & Virginia O’Brien, Tommy Dorsey, Frank Sinatra (uncredited singer)
  4. The Next Voice You Hear (1950) - James Whitmore & Nancy Reagan 
  5. No Way Out (1950) - Richard Widmark, Sidney Poitier, Linda Darnell
  6. Kim (1950) - Errol Flynn, Dean Stockwell, Paul Lukas
  7. Underwater! (1955) - Jane Russell, Gilbert Roland, Richard Egan 
  8. There’s Always Tomorrow (1956) - Fred MacMurray & Barbara Stanwyck, Joan Bennett
  9. Love in the Afternoon (1957) - Audrey Hepburn & Gary Cooper, Maurice Chevalier
  10. Cinderfella (1960) - Jerry Lewis, Ed Wynn, Judith Anderson 
  11. *The Thrill of It All (1963) - Doris Day & James Garner, Arlene Dahl, Carl Reiner
  12. Captain Nemo and the Underwater City (1970) - Robert Ryan, Chuck Conners
  13. Annie Hall (1977) - Woody Allen & Diane Keaton
  14. Tim (1979) - Piper Laurie & Mel Gibson
  15. Baby Boom (1987) - Diane Keaton
  16. Lethal Weapon 3 (1992) - Mel Gibson, Danny Glover, Rene Russo, Joe Pesci
  17. Lethal Weapon 4 (1998) - Mel Gibson, Danny Glover, Chris Rock, Joe Pesci, Rene Russo
  18. *Salt (2010) - Angelina Jolie, Liev Schreiber, Chiwetel Ejiofer
  19. The Conspirator (2011) - James McAvoy, Robin Wright
  20. Daddy’s Home 2 (2017) - Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlburg, Mel Gibson, John Lithgow, John Cena
  21. The Man Who Invented Christmas (2017) - Dan Stevens, Christopher Plummer
Least Favorite Film: Sorry Robert Ryan but Captain Nemo was a little hard to get through... Kim was a little boring too but I had put off watching it too long.

Favorite Movie: I really enjoyed Baby Boom. My aunt told me about it when I was describing the plot of Bachelor Mother to her. I also FINALLY watched Love in the Afternoon, which despite the subject I quite enjoyed. Audrey can be so heartbreaking. 

What’s been keeping you going this month?

LOVE this jacket worn by Stanwyck in There’s Always Tomorrow.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Movies I Watched in March

This shot of George Sanders in Ivanhoe cracks me up :D

This month was more Robert Taylor (I mean, after last month I might as well watch any that TCM shows that I’ve never seen before, right?) and, fittingly, disaster movies.

I’ve been wanting to rewatch The Ghost and Mrs. Muir for some time now and finally got around to it. I noticed it was based on a book in the opening credits (by R. A. Dick) and so checked it out and read it. I thoroughly enjoyed it. The main differences were that she also had a son, her meddling sister-in-law was even more meddlesome, and  she only saw Captain Gregg in a dream at the beginning. The rest of the time she only heard his voice in her head. She also met Miles differently. Oh, and she called Martha back to apologize for getting angry. That part made me happy.

I also downloaded the Hoopla library app and HOLY COW!!!! So many good books!! There’s also a small selection of classic movies and television shows. I’m reading Me and Jezebel by Elizabeth Fuller. Fuller is a psychic so some parts are kind of different (she speaks to spirits and holds a séance) but I’ve discovered that first-hand accounts of Bette make for delightful reading.
  1. Battling Butler (1926) - Buster Keaton
  2. The Divorcée (1930) - Norma Shearer & Chester Morris, Robert Montgomery 
  3. Pygmalion (1938) - Leslie Howard & Wendy Hiller
  4. The Long Voyage Home (1940) - John Wayne, Ian Hunter, Thomas Mitchell, Barry FitzGerald, Arthur Shields, Mildred Natwick 
  5. Lucky Partners (1940) - Ronald Colman & Ginger Rogers, Jack Carson, Spring Byington
  6. Johnny Eager (1941) - Robert Taylor & Lana Turner, Van Heflin, Edward Arnold
  7. Bombardier (1943) - Pat O’Brien, Randolph Scott, Anne Shirley, Eddie Albert, Robert Ryan
  8. *The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947) - Gene Tierney & Rex Harrison, George Sanders, Natalie Wood, Vanessa Brown
  9. B. F.’s Daughter (1948) - Barbara Stanwyck, Van Heflin, Charles Coburn, Richard Hart, Keenan Wynn, Spring Byington, Margaret Lindsey
  10. I Want You (1951) - Dana Andrews & Dorothy McGuire, Farley Granger & Peggy Dow, Martin Milner, Jim Backus
  11. Ivanhoe (1952) - Robert Taylor, Joan Fontaine, Elizabeth Taylor, George Sanders
  12. Knights of the Round Table (1953) - Robert Taylor & Ava Gardner, Mel Ferrer
  13. The Master of Ballantrae (1953) - Errol Flynn
  14. D-Day the Sixth of June (1956) - Robert Taylor, Richard Todd, Dana Wynter, Edmond O’Brien
  15. The Law and Jake Wade (1958) - Robert Taylor, Richard Widmark, Patricia Owens
  16. Countdown (1968) - James Caan, Robert Duvall
  17. The Poseidon Adventure (1972) - Gene Hackman, Ernest Borgnine, Shelley Winters, Roddy McDowell, Leslie Neilson
  18. The Swarm (1974) - Michael Caine & Katherine Ross, Richard Widmark, Olivia de Havilland, Fred MacMurray, Henry Fonda, Richard Chamberlain, Slim Pickens
  19. Beyond the Poseidon Adventure (1979) - Michael Caine, Sally Field, Karl Malden, Telly Savalas, Shirley Jones, Slim Pickens 
  20. Best Friends (1982) - Burt Reynolds & Goldie Hawn, Jessica Tandy, Keenan Wynn
  21. The Year of Living Dangerously (1982) - Mel Gibson & Sigourney Weaver, Linda Hunt
  22. The River (1984) - Mel Gibson & Sissy Spacek
The Sea Around Us (1953)

Even in a WWII movie Robert Ryan's face is made for noir.

Least Favorite Film: The Long Voyage Home was kind of depressing and The Swarm was kind of ridiculous. The first half of Knights... was slow but I finally got into it.

Favorite Film: Lots of solid movies but none really stood out. I loved Ronald Colman in Lucky Partners.

I love Burt Reynold's goofy grins :)

The Greer Garson Blogathon is HERE!!!

It’s here!! The Greer Garson Blogathon is here!

Musings of an Introvert kicks things off with the classic The Winsome Qualities of Greer Garson in the 1940 Pride and Prejudice.

Taking Up Room discusses Garson’s most famous role as Mrs. Miniver (1942).

Movies Meet Their Match watches Garson for the first time in Sunrise at Campobello (1960).

The Wonderful World of Cinema discusses Greer Garson’s Elegant Entrance: Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939).

Hope this Blogathon was a welcome distraction from the world! Don’t worry if your post is late. I’ll happily accept them all week. Hope all of you stay healthy and thanks so much for participating!!

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Movies I Watched in February

Drums Along the Mohawk

February is 31 Days of Oscar month on TCM and it is usually a rather slow month for me as I've already seen a majority of the films or they are ones that air several times a year anyway. However, this time I made an effort to finally watch some of the films I say I'm going to watch every time TCM shows them but never actually get around to viewing (three that have been on my watchlist for some time are A Midsummer Night's Dream, Dark Victory, and Separate Tables). This month also ended up being a Robert Taylor (5) and Greer Garson (7) month for me, as you will see. And I enjoyed Madame Curie so much I am currently reading the biography of the same name by her daughter Eve Curie as well as A Rose for Mrs. Miniver: The Life of Greer Garson by Michael Troyan.  I also just announced The Rose of MGM: The Greer Garson Blogathon.
  1. The Painted Desert (1931) - Bill Boyd, Helen Twelvetrees, Clark Gable
  2. A Midsummer Night's Dream (1935) - James Cagney, Mickey Rooney, Anita Louise, Dick Powell & Olivia de Havilland. Joe E. Brown, Ian Hunter, Frank McHugh
  3. The Lives of a Bengal Lancer (1935) - Gary Cooper, Franchot Tone, Richard Cromwell, C. Aubrey Smith
  4. Broadway Melody of 1936 (1935) - Jack Benny, Eleanor Powell & Robert Taylor, Buddy & Vilma Ebson, Una Merkel
  5. Born to Dance (1936) - Eleanor Powell & James Stewart, Virginia Bruce, Una Merkel, Buddy Ebson 
  6. Three Comrades (1938) - Margaret Sullavan & Robert Taylor, Franchot Tone, Robert Young
  7. *The Cat and the Canary (1939) - Bob Hope & Paulette Goddard, Gale Sondergard
  8. Dark Victory (1939) - Bette Davis & George Brent, Geraldine FitzGerald, Humphrey Bogart, Ronald Reagan 
  9. Drums Along the Mohawk (1939) - Henry Fonda & Claudette Colbert, Edna May Oliver, Ward Bond
  10. *The Ghost Breakers (1940) - Bob Hope & Paulette Goddard, Willie Best, Paul Lukas, Richard Carlson, Anthony Quinn
  11. *Pride and Prejudice (1940) - Greer Garson & Laurence Olivier, Ann Rutherford, Marsha Hunt, Frieda Inescourt, 
  12. Blossoms in the Dust (1941) - Greer Garson & Walter Pidgeon, Marsha Hunt
  13. *Mrs. Miniver (1942) - Greer Garson & Walter Pidgeon, Teresa Wright, Richard Ney, Dame May Whitty, Henry Travers, Reginald Owen
  14. Madame Curie (1943) - Greer Garson & Walter Pidgeon, Henry Travers, Dame May Whitty, Robert Walker, Van Johnson
  15. None Shall Escape (1944) - Marsha Hunt, Alexander Knox, Henry. Travers
  16. The Valley of Decision (1945) - Greer Garson & Gregory Peck, Marsha Hunt, Preston Foster, Jessica Tandy, Gladys Cooper, Donald Crisp, Lionel Barrymore, Marshall Thompson, Dan Duryea, Reginald Owen
  17. Danger Signal (1945) - Faye Emerson, Zachary Scott, Rosemary DeCamp
  18. That Forsyte Woman (1949) - Greer Garson, Errol Flynn, Robert Young, Janet Leigh, Walter Pidgeon 
  19. Quo Vadis (1951) - Robert Taylor & Deborah Kerr, Peter Ustinov
  20. All the Brothers Were Valiant (1953) - Robert Taylor, Ann Blyth, Stewart Granger, Keenyn Wynn, Betta St. John, James Whitmore, Lewis Stone
  21. *River of No Return (1954) - Robert Mitchum & Marilyn Monroe 
  22. On the Waterfront (1954) - Marlon Brando & Eva Marie Saint, Lee J. Cobb, Karl Malden, Rod Steiger
  23. Magnificent Obsession (1954) Rock Hudson & Jane Wyman, Agnes Moorehead 
  24. Executive Suite (1954) - William Holden, Barbara Stanwyck, June Allyson, Walter Pidgeon, Fredric March, Nina Foch, Dean Jagger, Shelley Winters, Paul Douglas, Louis Calhern, Tim Considine
  25. Written on the Wind (1957) - Lauren Bacall, Rock Hudson, Robert Stack, Dorothy Malone
  26. Separate Tables (1958) - Deborah Kerr, David Niven, Burt Lancaster, Rita Hayworth, Wendy Hiller, Gladys Cooper, Rod Taylor, Audrey Dalton
  27. The House of the Seven Hawks (1959) - Robert Taylor & Nicole Maurey
  28. Pepe (1960) - Cantinflas, Shirley Jones, Dan Daily
  29. The Facts of Life (1960) - Bob Hope & Lucille Ball, Ruth Hussey, Don DeFore 
  30. The Rare Breed (1966) - James Stewart & Maureen O’Hara, Juliet Mills, Brian Keith
  31. A Warm December (1972) - Sidney Poitier & Esther Anderson
  32. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) - Henry Thomas, Drew Barrymore, Dee Wallace, Robert MacNaughton
  33. Mrs. Soffel (1984) - Diane Keaton & Mel Gibson
  34. Spaceballs (1987) - Mel Brooks, John Candy, Bill Pullman
  35. Double, Double, Toil and Trouble (1993) - Mary Kate & Ashley Olsen, Cloris Leachman
  36. *Maverick (1994) - Mel Gibson & Jodie Foster, James Garner, James Coburn
  37. Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (2019) - Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Michelle Phieffer, Chiwetal
Least Favorite Film: Didn't like how Three Comrades ended...

Favorite Film: Lots of solid films but I really loved Madame Curie.

Three Comrades
What Oscar winning films did you finally watch this month? Was there a CLASSIC that you enjoyed more than you expected? Was there a star you watched more than any other?

ANNOUNCING “The Rose of MGM: The Greer Garson Blogathon”

In the month of February I ended up watching five new-to-me Greer Garson films and revisited two that I had seen before. I also started reading her biography, A Rose for Mrs. Miniver: The Life of Greer Garson by Michael Troyan. I decided it was time to hold a blogathon for Miss Garson and settled on the weekend of April 6th, the 24th anniversary of her death.

Since Garson appeared in under 30 films, I will allow two duplicates. However, it would be fantastic to have all of her films covered. Posts on her television appearances, frequent co-starrings with Walter Pidgeon, her many Oscar nods, or her impact on women during WWII are also welcome and encouraged.

To claim your topic, please comment with your choice and link to your blog. Then take one of these banners to display!


Mrs. Miniver (1942)


Phyllis Loves Classic Movies: Madame Curie (1943) & Greer Garson’s appearance on Father Knows Best

The Midnite Drive-In: Mrs. Miniver (1942)

The Wonderful World of Cinema: Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939)

Musings of a Classic Film Addict: Remember? (1939)

Musings of an Introvert: Pride and Prejudice (1940)

Movies Meet Their Match: Sunrise at Campobello (1963)

Rebecca Deniston: Mrs. Miniver (1942)