Reflecting in depth on two Carol Lynley disaster movies…
Memories on two of the many movies that came flooding in during her career for the disaster movie artiste, Carol Lynley.
The Poseidon Adventure (1972) “Morning After” by Carol Lynley, koji taniguchi
I was sad to learn that the actress Carol Lynley passed away recently. Carol Lynley was an actress I was brought up watching on telly, this every year at Christmas. As a kid (and more so now) I enjoyed watching her in this Irwin Allen directed star studded disaster movie set at sea, in the annual showing of The Poseidon Adventure.
This disaster film essential telly viewing for my clan, and shown by the powers that be possibly in a bid to make us feel better for being at home over the school Christmas holidays. It’s one of many disaster films, I’ve rewatched more recently with the Master of the Riff, Darlin Husband. On reading her filmography, it appears this not the only water themed disaster film that Carol worked on with Irwin Allen.
[NATURE DISASTER MOVIE TRAILER]-[FLOOD!]-, kenneth The Animator
Irwin Allen – as a producer – cast Carol in Flood (1976) with this one of three movies Allen made for television. This was originally to be a pilot show for a series about helicopter pilots, but it became a TV Movie after this idea was dismissed. This TV Movie cast also includes Robert Culp, Barbara Hershey, Roddy McDowall and 1970s pin up and singer Leif Garratt.
The story telling how flood waters threaten to burst a dam which is on the verge of collapse (surprise surprise). This threatening to destroy an nearby American town. But the mayor refuses to act on advice, as this town a popular fishing holiday resort. With these disaster themes in plot, it’s all sounding a wee bit familiar for this 70s disaster movie fan. If you add a shark or even a fire in a skyscraper. Cue Irwin Allen staples.. helicopters, shouting, screaming, non important characters dying in fun ways and more.
Carol plays a pregnant ie soon – as in as soon as disaster strikes – to be mother who later is trapped in her home as the dam bursts. As for her husband, that’s for another post. With the inevitable happening as her character goes into labour. But luckily Barbara Hershey’s cast as a nurse. Anyway, as is the norm in these films there’s more soap sudded drama before, after and as the dam bursts. But I’ll leave you to find out if her character sinks or swims in this movie.
The Poseidon Adventure (1972)
The Poseidon Adventure (1972)trailer, SPARTEN2
This film telling of the events on a New Year’s Eve cruise on its final voyage. After meeting those very important passengers, we hit a storm and then an underwater earthquake causes a large wave on the stroke of midnight. This wave turning the luxury cruise ship, the SS Poseidon over with the passengers trapped inside. Like all of Allen’s future ensemble movies, the liner had a wide variety of characters from Carol cast as a lounge singer to Stella Stevens playing a one time prostitute. The all star cast also included Shelley Winters, Gene Hackman, Ernest Borgnine and Pamela Sue Martin. And a boat full of extras.
Carol Lynley here is remembered for her character Nonnie Parry (and one of the now familiar disaster movie tropes), the ship’s lounge singer. Poor Nonnie has a bit of a bumpy ride in this film, after her song rehearsed, she sings it live (with miraculously bad timing) as all celebrate the New Year, the wave hits the boat. The boat turns upside down and its raining furniture and Christmas trees. Casualties include Nonnie’s brother and later in the film, other crew and passengers that she cares about. Also with more and more explosions and the boat filling with water, needless to say the poor girl is quite shocked by these unfolding events. Nonnie and a party – including all those big Hollywood names (surprised? I thought not) – try to escape the boat. We also learn Poor Nonnie can’t swim.
In an interview with Roger Ebert, Carol Lynley told how she did her own stunts – HERE – when promoting this film she said…
“It was the most physically demanding role you can possibly imagine,” she said. “We had to swim underwater, climb across tiny catwalks, walk over flames . . . and they kept us wet all day long. They hosed us down at least 20 times a day. And there were no safety precautions for the first two weeks of shooting. I’d be up there on a catwalk, and if I slipped, it was six stories straight down through flames to a concrete floor.”
Although the song was performed by Carol, the song The Morning After was sung by Renee Armand for the movie. The song Nonnie sang has also quite telling lyrics…
There’s got to be a morning after
We’re moving closer to the shore
I know we’ll be there by tomorrow
And we’ll escape the darkness
We won’t be searching anymore
This song was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song for the nattily named The Song from The Poseidon Adventure, also known as The Morning After. It won the Oscar, with this one of nine Academy Award nominations (The film also won an award for visual effects). But with Carol Lynley’s wonderful performance throughout this film, she will always be remembered for her inspiring role as the lounge singer who brought us hope – against the odds – for a happy morning after to a disaster movie.