Directed By: Irwan Allen and Ronald Neame
Written By: Paul Gallico (novel), Stirling Silliphant and Wendell Mayes (screenplay)
This was a new addition to the blog from a couple of months ago. I had never seen it before sitting down to review it for the first time. I picked it up specifically because I was familiar with it as a classic and wanted to see a more youthful Gene Hackman. In that I succeeded but despite the notoriety the film has maintained over time I was not enamored with it.
I am a big Gene Hackman fan but haven’t seen enough of his career prior to what he has achieved in my own lifetime. For as long as I can remember Gene Hackman has been old. Much like other famous and prolific actors of advanced age like Anthony Hopkins or Sean Connery I had never known any other version than the one I grew up with. Having recently taken the time to start appreciating what the younger Clint Eastwood accomplished, Hackman was another actor I wanted to see earlier in his career. I bought this movie after being prompted by Amazon but there are others I need to see too. The French Connection is one that specifically comes to mind because I have never seen it. Outside of Bonnie and Clyde, the only movie I had seen from Hackman’s younger career was Superman.
I’ll be honest I didn’t really love this movie. It’s a good movie but it didn’t pull me in quite the way I expected having heard so much about it over the years. I thought Hackman’s performance made it worth seeing and I understand how the role advanced his career. He was quick thinking, in control, and in the end he got to be the martyred hero. The movie had very compelling scenes throughout but Hackman’s heroic death at the end was one of the best.
I didn’t love this movie but I appreciate it. The movie ended on a very gripping note as the few survivors from the group found that they were the only survivors on the ship. As the camera pans out over the turned over cruise ship the reality sets in and it’s haunting. This must have been an incredibly shocking ending in 1972. Not only did the hero die but the tragedy proves be as dire as it could have been in the final moments. I think I would have liked this movie a lot more had I been around when it actually came out. Plenty of movies made long before I was born still captivate and marvel me in ways that nothing else can. This one didn’t do that though and I can’t put my finger on why. I’m gonna blame it on a generational thing having grown up overexposed to this type of tragedy and action.
I have never seen the remake of this film and don’t intend to. I have written many times about my distaste for remakes and I think the idea of remaking this movie was just as poor as all the other remake ideas. When there is nothing to improve on a film there is no reason to tarnish the original with a subpar version. If anybody reading this has seen the remake make your case for it if it actually was worth seeing. I cannot imagine such an argument will be presented, the remake has an incredibly low rank on IMDB. The original on the other hand is worth seeing and if you get an opportunity to see it your time won’t be wasted.
NEXT MOVIE: Predator (1987)