S.O.S Titanic- 9-23-1979
When this movie was first released on television, the actual Titanic had been at the bottom of the sea for nearly 67 and a half years, but, there hadn't been a story about the sinking for at least a couple of decades.
As the first Titanic movie in color, this had an all star cast (the norm for any disaster movie) and is probably the most boring of all the movies related to the sinking.
On the plus side of this, we do get a glimpse of the most ignored passengers, those in Second Class. This part of the movie follows the ship board romance of Leigh Goodwin (Susan saint James) and Laurence Beesley (David Warner) which she instigates.
Their story is probably the best since they're caught up in the middle of First and Third Class and they are able to express how they feel about both classes. They also are able to express the change in the world from the Victorian Era to modern times.
When it comes to the First Class passengers, Molly Brown (Cloris Leachman) and John Jacob Astor (David Jannsen) are the characters featured prominently. I know that they try their best, but in reality, they could have phoned in their performances since both characters come across very wooden.
Leachman does do a good job since this version of Brown is very flirtatious and causes gossip amongst the wealthy due to her actions. I'd have to say that she's probably the best character in the movie, but then again there's not much to work with here.
Down in Third Class, there's some beautiful woman who seems to float around like a ghost and catches the attention of some guy (really, by this point and the few times that I've watched this movie) I have no idea who the actors or characters are. I really didn't care for them since they weren't developed enough.
While this isn't my favorite Titanic movie, you may enjoy it, but I do remember that when I originally watched it, I was through when the first comercials came on.
Disaster on the Coastliner- 10-28-1979
As I'm writing this column, William Shatner is less than a day from heading to the outer region of space and if there's one item he should have taken, is the master copy and all other copies of this movie.
While billed as a disaster, it does live up to its name since it really is a disaster. And not in a good way.
Disgruntled employee Jim Waterman (Paul L. Smith) wants vengeance for the accidental deaths of his wife and daughter and as a computer expert, he manages to reroute two passenger trains so that they're on a collision course.
But that's not all.
After he reconfigures the route, he manages to "hijack" a train by posing as an engineer.
With this soap opera on the rails story, Paula Harvey (Yvette Mimieux) plans a surprise trip to her husband Matt (Robert Fuller) in San Francisco following an argument. She doesn't know that he's been having affairs throughout the marriage and after first telling him that she's coming up, he decides to head south to Los Angeles.
Also heading north is Stuart Peters (Shatner) who's being pursued by the police. He befriends Paula and hits on her throughout the trip. He's also using her as a beard with the hope that the police won't become suspicious of him.
While both trains are enroute, tension mounts as controller Al Mitchell (Lloyd Bridges) works with crews trying to avoid a collision and while in contact with the head of the railroad, Estes Hill (Raymond Burr) Waterman outlines his demands.
Once it gets out about the upcoming collision, the general public gathers at the potential crash site with a party atmosphere, by the way, and they wait for the carnage.
It's a movie that you just want to keep scratching your head and saying, "huh?" and wishing that both trains would derail fast.