Criticism Of Criticism Of Criticism

Phoenix Theatre,
Charing Cross Road,
London W1.

Dear Gay News,

I felt I just had to write and have a moan about your film critic, David Seligman.

A couple of times he has given bad reviews to quite good films. But his latest criticism of the Poseidon Adventure was completely unwarranted.

To start with, to compare this film with “Sunday Bloody Sunday” is ridiculous. “The Poseidon Adventure” is pure escapism, whereas “Sunday Bloody Sunday” was a mature study of life.

It’s like comparing “2001” with “Carry On Camping”. Both in their way good entertainment but vastly different.

I feel very sorry for Mr Seligman if he is unable to watch and enjoy a film just for its entertainment value and to stop worrying about the fact that nobody has Jewish schmaltzy neighbours anymore.

Also if Mister Seligman wishes to make references to other films (ie George Sanders) but is unable to give the title of these films, then he should leave well alone.

Martha and Fong

True, my comparisons are sometimes vague and uncertain, but if the audience had reacted positively to the “Poseidon Adventure”, I would have said so. When I saw it at the Carlton, Haymarket, people were continually fidgeting, yawning, or even walking out. In the long run I believe that if the ever emptying cinemas are going to survive, and be recognised as valid competition to the telly, films have either got to be entertaining in a vastly different, totally cinematic way, like good horror movies, or provide a completely alternative, something mind shattering, thought provoking, amazingly visual on a large screen, like “Sunday Bloody Sunday” or a “Clockwork Orange”.


Ooh! You Are Awful

THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE : Director Ronald Neame. Stars : Gene Hackman, Ernest Borgnine, Red Buttons, Carol Lynley, Roddy McDowell, Stella Stevens, Shelley Winters. Distributor : Fox Rank.

Old time lavish adventures are fine on lavish budgets, but when you try and make ’em for under a million pounds, things begin to become unstuck – like Shelley Winters’ dress – I mean !! Seriously, you must be joking, there wasn’t even time to set the atmosphere of decadence, aboard an Atlantic cruise ship, badly most of the time, mocked up inside a studio. The publicity handouts suggest this is one of those movies where all our realistic, familiar Jones and Jonettes from next door, are plunged into a real life situation, like a ship turning over in an earthquake which takes place at exactly midnight on New Year’s Eve. Have you ever been trapped in the middle of the lake in a leaking boat with the Vicar ?

Anyway, its all been done before. George Sanders made a movie like this, I wish I could remember its name, in the early sixties. It had an identical plot except the direction of the suspense was excellent, and the characters weren’t all shallow, fine upstanding citizens.

As those of you who read these columns regularly know, I am a great champion of entertaining, exciting cinema, but you can’t make effective big films on little budgets, nor can you fob off the discerning cinema goer, the only people who haven’t succumbed to the telly, whoever they may be, with cheap novel crap about people crawling upside down through an upturned ship with courage, valour and a stiff upper grip, or however Americans handle a situation like this. Incidentally I was very disappointed not to catch even one glimpsette of the Stars and Stripes or a plastic gold replica of the Statuette of Liberteria.

We don’t live next door to schmaltzy, elderly Jewish couples anymore – we live in the world of THE FRENCH CONNECTION Mr Hackman. Go and see The Poseidon Adventure if you can’t ignore the advertising, and then pause, think and compare it to Sunday Bloody Sunday, and see what makes me loathe and love and sometimes despair about the Cinema, as it alternates between firing ones mind with explosive brilliance and alienating its lovers. Its life really.