By GORDON GLANTZ
GORDONVILLE — Perfectly slotted between when Sofia came home from school and when she had to leave for dance was “The Poseidon Adventure” — the original from 1972, not the remake (a practice that should be illegal in Hollywood without written permission from the Gordonville high court).
At age 7, just about six months older than my little princess is now, I saw this action-adventure flick — cut from the cloth of “Airplane” and “Towering Inferno” made during the era of shag carpets and man-perms — I saw this in a movie theater (no Net Flix back then).
Sofia came into the room at the pinnacle scene, when Gene Hackman‘s character — the heroic Rev. Scott — plummeted to his death after making the rescue possible for the other survivors (Come on! It was 41 years ago, putting me a year beyond the statute of limitations on spoiler alerts, so I don’t want to hear it.).
I warned her that it was “just pretend” and that I could prove to her by showing her one of the other 98 movies starring Hackman (not an exaggeration, he has 99 credited roles), but she was a soldier undaunted anyway.
“When is he going to come back?” she asked, as the cast of mostly “B” actors (save Hackman and Ernest Borgnine, whose interaction were a highlight) were being blow-torched out and spirited away in a helicopter as the credits began to roll.
For those who say that history doesn’t repeat, those were the same thoughts running through my young head in 1972, when the song “The Morning After” from this movie topped by the charts (who can name the singer without cheating on Google or IMDB?).
It was the first time I saw a bittersweet ending, at least to my knowledge; the first time a protagonist gave the ultimate sacrifice.
Likely the same for Sofia.
It was meaningful, in a weird way, to share it together.
And maybe it was the nostalgia, but they don’t make them like they used to, do they?
Bringing us back to the mourning after.
I’m not a real big fan of this type of movie. I haven’t been for a long time. Maybe it is because I saw the classics, and got them out of my system, at a young and impressionable age (even though it took today’s viewing to realize some tawdry tricks, like having Pamela Sue Martin and the other actresses, other than Shelley Winters, strip down to nothing early on under the guise of needing to shed clothing to climb a Christmas tree out of the dining area).
It made an impression then and now.
For all the times I click through all 678 channels and find nothing to watch, this was right on time.
At the perfect time.