TCM heads to sea with ‘The Poseidon Adventure’ and other tales

‘The Poseidon Adventure’ helps mark a watery day on TCM

Gene Hackman stars in “The Poseidon Adventure” Monday on Turner Classic Movies.

If you’ve ever thought of going out to sea, certain movies might make you reconsider.

Turner Classic Movies – which, ironically enough, has a “Classic Cruise” as one of its yearly events — offers several such films Monday, March 9, with a day consisting of ocean-themed features. While host Dave Karger will introduce several of them in his weekly primetime slot, the attractions will begin earlier. (It’s the first day in a month of Mondays of TCM showcasing waterlogged attractions.)

Among the March 9 titles is the 1957 drama “Abandon Ship!,” with Tyrone Power as a ship’s officer overseeing a crowded lifeboat – built for nine people, it’s forced to hold more than 20 – after a luxury liner sinks. And if that’s not enough trouble, a hurricane is coming! Following that is “Beyond the Poseidon Adventure” (1979), producer Irwin Allen’s sequel being shown before the original film in the day’s TCM lineup.

Someone who was aboard one of history’s most famous sunken vessels, the Titanic, is the focus of the next feature: the 1964 musical “The Unsinkable Molly Brown,” with Debbie Reynolds in the title role. Then comes the original “The Poseidon Adventure” (1972), deemed one of the true classics of the genre … successful enough to have launched a string of disaster movies that spanned the rest of the Seventies.

When “The Poseidon Adventure” was released, it proudly boasted a cast filled with Oscar winners, led by one of then-recent vintage: Gene Hackman, playing a maverick clergyman who leads a group of survivors through the upside-down interior of a ship capsized by an enormous tidal wave on New Year’s Eve. Ernest Borgnine, Shelley Winters, Red Buttons and Jack Albertson are among other Academy Award owners on board.

The 1941 version of Jack London’s “The Sea Wolf” comes next, with Edward G. Robinson as a captain whose harsh manner proves dangerous to others. After that is the supremely tense 1960 thriller “The Last Voyage” with Robert Stack and Dorothy Malone as a couple traveling with their young daughter (Tammy Marihugh) on a ship that starts to sink – with the realism heightened by director Andrew L. Stone making the picture aboard a vessel actually destroyed during filming.

“A Night to Remember,” the chillingly authentic 1958 account of the Titanic disaster, is one of TCM’s late-late-night

attractions; its British cast features Honor Blackman (“Goldfinger”) and David McCallum (“NCIS”). Finally, 1959’s “The Wreck of the Mary Deare” caps the seafaring festival, with a salvager (Charlton Heston) the only hope the title wreck’s captain (Gary Cooper) has of being cleared of negligence.

If you’re a fan of ocean tales, then, TCM may be your port of call on March 9. Just remember to bring a life jacket to your seat — it might help you through the marathon.

Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin has decades of experience covering the television and movie businesses, winning Tribune Media Services’ Crown Jewel Award in 2008 for his performance in the company. Over those many years of interviewing and writing, he has spoken with everyone from Robert De Niro and John Travolta to Paul McCartney and Tony Bennett … from Meryl Streep and Julie Andrews to Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood.

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