The Poseidon Adventure: Special Edition (1972)

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Released 6-Jun-2006

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Main Menu Introduction
Audio Commentary-Director
Audio Commentary-Cast
Featurette-Follow The Escape
Web Links
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-AMC Backstory: The Poseidon Adventure
Featurette-The Cast Looks Back, Falling Up With Ernie
Featurette-The Writer:Stirling Silliphant,The Hero's of the Poseidon
Featurette-The Morning After Story,R.M.S. Queen Mary
Featurette-Conversations With Ronald Neame
Featurette-Original 1972 Featurette
Teaser Trailer
Theatrical Trailer
Notes-American Cinematographer Article
Gallery-Marketing, Publicity, Behind The Scene
Storyboard Comparisons
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1972
Running Time 112:14
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (74:25)
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Ronald Neame

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Shelley Winters
Gene Hackman
Stella Stevens
Ernest Borgnine
Red Buttons
Carol Lynley
Roddy McDowall
Leslie Nielsen
Case ?
RPI ? Music John Williams

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.40:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
English Audio Commentary
English Audio Commentary
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    The Poseidon Adventure is one of the best known and loved disaster films ever made and was responsible in a lot of ways for the huge expansion of this genre in the 1970s. Initially, the studio (Fox) thought the film would be a flop and even cut its budget by half just before filming was about to begin. Irwin Allen, the producer, managed to keep the project afloat by arranging finance by himself and agreeing to allow Ronald Neame, the studio's choice, to direct the film. The film has previously been released on Region 4 DVD. The review of that version can be found here. This new version is significantly different. The main differences can be summarised as follows:


Original Region 4

New Special Edition

Video Transfer

Decent but unspectacular

Brand new transfer with improved sharpness and reduced artefacts




Other extras

Original featurette, trailer, text bios

Complete second disc of extras including making of, 6 featurettes, interviews, text article, galleries, storyboard comparisons and more

    There is an excellent plot outline in the previous review if you are not aware of this film. I would say this was definitely worth upgrading to if you are a fan of the film and certainly worth considering if you have not seen the film. This film has recently been remade twice, which I am sure prompted this reissue. There is a 2005 telemovie (which is available on DVD) and now in 2006 a new feature film has been shot, directed by Wolfgang Petersen, which is to be called just Poseidon. It opens at the cinemas in Australia soon.

    Having not seen this film before I was very keen to see it and review the disc. I enjoyed the film very much as it does a great job considering the technology available at the time of recreating the capsizing of a major ocean liner. Additionally, the acting, directing and writing are excellent, bringing great drama and tension to the situation. I saw many scenes in this film which have been repeated in some form in later movies. One that leaps to mind is the scene where they needed to swim underwater in order to get to the engine room. There is quite a similar scene in the fourth Alien film, amongst others.

    The film was nominated for 8 Academy Awards in 1972, winning one of those and getting a special achievement award for visual effects. Most of the awards that year went to The Godfather or Cabaret.

    This special edition is highly recommended.

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Transfer Quality


    The video quality is excellent for a film of this age.

    The feature is presented in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio 16x9 enhanced which is very close to the original aspect ratio of 2.40:1.

    The picture was surprisingly clear and sharp throughout for a film of this age, with no evidence of low level noise. Shadow detail was very good. Grain was non-existent, at least partially due to a consistently high bitrate.

    The colour was excellent, particularly noticeable during the scenes involving fire where the whole scene had a warm glow. I did notice one short scene near the beginning which was overbright (8:10), however this was probably a function of the original material.

    There were no noticeable artefacts, so obviously some significant cleansing work was done since the last transfer which featured a number of artefacts.

    There are subtitles in English for the hearing impaired. The English subtitles were clear and easy to read but slightly summarised.

    The layer change occurs at 74:25 and was not noticeable.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    The audio quality is very good. I was not in a position to directly compare this audio transfer to the previous one and it is the same from a technical specification perspective, so I cannot say whether this is a new transfer or not. It remains in the original mono, which is either a good or bad thing dependent upon your point of view.

    This DVD contains an English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono soundtrack encoded at 192 Kb/s.

    Dialogue was clear and easy to understand and there was no problem with audio sync.

    The score of this film by John Williams was Oscar nominated (which is slightly surprising), however it is not overt except in the credits. Some scenes benefit from the score adding tension in a subtle way. The more obvious music over the credits is slightly overblown.

    The surround speakers and subwoofer were not used.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    There are copious extras spread over two discs. Most of the extras are of high quality.


    The menu was silent and still but functional.

Disc 1

Follow the Escape

    An excellent special feature which when activated initiates seamless branching during the film at various points to show a schematic of the ship indicating the progress of each major character including the location of the bodies. This makes it easy to know where they are in the ship and makes the film easier to follow. My only criticism would be that sometimes it seemed to branch off to show them still being in the same place they were before.

Director's Commentary - Ronald Neame

    An excellent commentary which is honest, forthright and interesting. He discusses many topics including the planned audience for the film, how difficult the shoot was for the cast, the novel, special effects, locations and sets, miniatures, the story, the Oscar winning song, things which he would have done differently in hindsight, cinematography, stunts and editing. He also tells some interesting anecdotes. If only all commentaries were of this quality.

Cast Commentary - Pamela Sue Martin (Susan Shelley), Stella Stevens (Linda Rogo) & Carol Lynley (Nonnie Parry)

    This is a decent commentary but not anywhere near as good as the director's one. They discuss working with Ronald Neame (who they liked) and Irwin Allen (who they didn't), how they got their parts, their characters, their experiences on the shoot, costumes, and working with the other cast members, particularly Gene Hackman, Ernest Borgnine & Shelley Winters. They joke around a fair bit and tell some anecdotes. There are also quite a few pauses as they watch the film.

Disc 2

AMC Backstory : The Poseidon Adventure (25:09)

    A making of documentary made for the American Movie Classic network in 2000. It focuses on Irwin Allen and his struggle to get the film made, covering financing issues, problems with Fox, pre-production, budget issues, the director being forced on Irwin, locations, effects and stunts. Well worth watching. Presented in 1.33:1.


    This sub-menu includes 6 new featurettes made in 2005. All are presented in 16x9 widescreen. Interviews are featured with many of the cast members who are still alive, with the notable exception of Gene Hackman. Included are:

Conversations with Ronald Neame

    This sub-menu includes 3 short interviews with the director recorded in 2005. All are presented in 16x9 widescreen. Included are:

Vintage Promotional Material

    This sub-menu includes some of the original material, most of which was included on the original DVD release. Included are:

American Cinematographer Article

    This is a 43 text page article reprinted from a magazine of the time. It is focused on the cinematography in the film and is quite interesting. As you work your way through the text various photo galleries are accessible. Unfortunately the instructions on how it works are not really correct. Worthwhile regardless.


    Three separate galleries of stills are included.

Storyboard Comparisons

    Three short comparisons of final film to storyboard. Included are:

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This special edition has also been released in Region 1 and is identical except for NTSC/PAL differences. This is a draw.


    A classic disaster film from 1972 gets the special edition treatment. Upgrade recommended.

    The video quality is excellent for a film of this age.

    The audio quality is very good.

    There are a huge array of high quality extras on this 2 disc set.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Wednesday, June 07, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Yamaha YST SW90 subwoofer

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