Goliath Awaits (1981)
Article 5846 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Kevin Connor
Featuring Mark Harmon, Christopher Lee, Eddie Albert
What it is: A variation on the Atlantis stories
The remains of an ocean liner that went down 42 years ago are discovered on the ocean floor, but exploration reveals there may be life on board it. And there is… but the man hailed as the savior of the liner’s passengers may not want them to be rescued…
This three-and-a-half-hour TV movie (originally run over two nights) isn’t exactly easy to categorize in terms of its fantastic content; it’s not quite fantasy and not quite science fiction, though it’s pretty close in spirit to any number of genre movies that involve a lost civilization that has become isolated from the rest of humanity. It does have, however, a fairly far-fetched concept; that a group of people aboard an ocean liner could survive underwater in their sunken ship for forty years and develop a sub-culture so complex it even has room for a rebel faction to develop. For me, the opening scenes that lead into the story are more mysterious and memorable than the story proper; once four of the rescuers make their way into the interior of the ship, things get a little more predictable and a lot more tiresome. Still, it is nice to see Christopher Lee in a strong role (as the savior of the people), and to catch John Carradine in a role where he gets more than a couple of minutes of screen time as well as not proving the hammiest actor in the cast; the latter award goes to Frank Gorshin, whose perpetual scowl and odd performance distracts our attention. It’s a little sad to see an interesting premise give way to a fairly predictable story; sadly, the extra length of it just causes it to become a bit more cluttered. It’s passable, but could have been much better.