Welcome aboard the SS Poseidon, the setting of the 1972 hit film, “The Poseidon Adventure.” For decades, this disaster movie has captivated audiences with its star-studded cast and thrilling plot, but what lies beneath the surface? That’s precisely what we’re diving into today! So, join us as we uncover the top 10 things you didn’t know about The Poseidon Adventure.
Shelley Winters, who was only 51 years old during the filming of the movie, was deceptively cast as an elderly retiree. Adding to the age paradox, her co-star Ernest Borgnine, who played a character that treated her as an older woman, was ironically three years Winters’ senior. This clever casting choice both enhanced their characters and confused audience perceptions.
The suspenseful voyage that forms the plot of The Poseidon Adventure has its roots in reality. Author Paul Gallico was inspired by a chaotic breakfast he had on the Queen Mary when a gigantic wave caused havoc. This incident, coupled with a WWII story of the Queen Mary nearly capsizing, created the thrilling backdrop for his novel.
Shelley Winters went to great lengths, both literally and figuratively, to bring her character, Belle Rosen, to life. First, she gained an impressive 35 pounds to authentically portray the character’s physique. However, losing the weight proved to be a challenge for Winters afterward. But what you may not know is that she trained with an Olympic swim coach to ensure that her portrayal as a former award-winning swimmer appeared realistic, especially during the underwater scenes. Now that’s dedication!
The memorable “capsizing” sequence was achieved through innovative set design. The filming began with the hydraulically-controlled set being tilted to a maximum angle of 45 degrees, capturing the initial part of the dramatic scene. Then, the set was ingeniously redressed, transforming the floor into the ceiling and vice versa. When the actors returned, it was tilted even further, thus completing the breathtaking sequence.
Although audiences remember Carol Lynley’s performance of the Oscar-winning song “The Morning After,” it was actually Renee Armand’s voice that was heard. This unseen dubbing added a powerful touch to the film’s award-winning soundtrack, demonstrating the collaborative effort that goes into every cinematic masterpiece.
To give audiences a realistic maritime experience, several pre-capsize scenes were shot on board the majestic Queen Mary herself. From the stormy opening sequence to the intimate moments in staterooms and hallways, the filmmakers captured the ship’s atmosphere, and in doing so, added depth and realism to the film.
An unexpected mishap occurred while filming the gripping rescue scene where Rev. Scott rescues Robin. The set, which was supposed to stop halfway into a large water tank, continued its descent, submerging the camera crew underwater. Miraculously, the film remained unharmed, resulting in an unplanned moment of authenticity.
More than 125 stunt people performed the film’s action sequences without sustaining any injuries. As filming progressed, the actors, motivated by a competitive spirit, began to perform more stunts themselves. Under the watchful eye of the crew, this increased the energy on set, contributing to the film’s thrilling dynamism.
Gene Hackman’s character, Reverend Scott, stands out as a rebellious figure among his fellow Christian preachers. This uniqueness is a reflection of Hackman’s personal religious philosophy, which blends elements of Christianity, Buddhism, and New Age Spiritualism. The character’s beliefs add depth to Hackman’s performance, showcasing the complexities of faith.
“Poseidon Adventure” boasts an extraordinary cast filled with accolades. With five Academy Award-winning actors – Gene Hackman, Ernest Borgnine, Shelley Winters, Jack Albertson, and Red Buttons – and Oscar nominee Arthur O’Connell, further highlighting the film’s exceptional talent.
The Best Quotes from The Poseidon Adventure 1972
- “You took from me the only thing I ever loved in the whole world, my Linda” – Mr Rogo
- “Why don’t you shove it!” – Eric Shea
- “Ya had a lotta guts, lady… a lotta guts” – Mr Rogo
- “That’s right, I said Mayday. Mayday, Mayday, Mayday.” – Captain Harrison
- “I can’t swim.” – Nonnie Parry
- “We’re sinking and nothings going to keep us from drowning.” – Linda Rogo
- “In the water, I’m a very skinny lady” – Belle Rosen
- “I said I was gonna get everybody out of here and goddamit I’m gonna do it.” – Rev. Scott
- “I’m going next. So if ole’ fat ass gets stuck, I won’t get stuck behind her.” – Mrs Rogo
- We did ask you to fight for us but damn it, don’t fight against us! Leave us alone! How many more sacrifices? How much more blood? – Rev Scott
The Poseidon Adventure 1972 Cast:
- Gene Hackman as Reverend Frank Scott
- Ernest Borgnine as Detective Lieutenant Mike Rogo
- Red Buttons as James Martin
- Carol Lynley as Nonnie Parry
- Roddy McDowall as Acres
- Stella Stevens as Linda Rogo
- Shelley Winters as Belle Rosen
- Jack Albertson as Manny Rosen
- Pamela Sue Martin as Susan Shelby
- Arthur O’Connell as Chaplain John
- Eric Shea as Robin Shelby
- Leslie Nielsen as Captain Harrison
- Fred Sadoff as Linarcos
- Sheila Allen as Nurse
- Jan Arvan as Doctor Caravello
- Byron Webster as Chief Engineer
- John Crawford as Chief Officer
- Robert Clary as Purser
- Bob Hastings as M.C.
- Erik L. Nelson as Ben