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Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Like a traumatic incident the mind deletes from the memory bank, you forget just how embarrassingly corny the first couple of exposition heavy reels are in this audience favorite. But there’s method in the ham-fisted character & plot contrivances that allow a whole gaggle of actors to make their mark and establish betting favorites on who survives the (just) believable logistics of finding a way out of an upside down cruise ship. Gene Hackman brings a bit too much method actor conviction to his modish angry priest role, but he’s such an unlikely action hero that he holds his own against the big entertaining cast. That is, excepting Shelley Winters who really was some kinda force of nature here. Eventually, producer Irwin Allen also started directing his disaster pics with ludicrous results, but here we’re under the steadying hand of Ronald Neame who knows where to plant his laughs, how to gloss over our sense of disbelief, and when to turn up the suspense.

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