As a contributor to Sea Breezes it is always useful to get comment from our readers.
The item Movies at Sea within the Cruise section of the April 2017 copy of the magazine elicited such a response from the amiable Mr Geoff Shimmin, a former Junior Purser working for the Union Castle Line in the 70’s. He wondered why I had omitted to include the movie Juggernaut from my listing. Good question. It was mainly because I wasn’t able to research sufficient detail on the movie when preparing the item.
That situation has now changed because Geoff has been able to provide me with some interesting relevant background on Juggernaut, the movie. He was one of the film extras hired for the United Artists production of the movie. It was based on the QE2 bomb scare incident a few years earlier which some readers may recall. The Cunarder was contacted after sailing from New York and advised that there were bombs on board. Well known stars involved in the subsequent film included Omar Shariff, Richard Harris, Anthony Hopkins and Roy Kinnear amongst others. The film company chartered the former German Atlantic liner Hamburg that had been acquired by Russian owners and renamed the Maxim Gorkiy.
Geoff responded to an advert in a Southampton newspaper that lured 2,000 hopefuls to the ‘auditions’ in a local hotel. He was selected as one of the 200 extras. The advertisements had solicited extras who would take a lengthy (16 days) cruise in the North Sea for free, but with the knowledge that the ship would actually seek out the worst possible weather, as the story demanded seas too rough for the lifeboats to be lowered, trapping the passengers on board. Accordingly, the ‘cruise’ headed for the Hebrides and experienced the rough weather which the filmmakers required.
A UK Sunday tabloid carried reports ‘that were greatly exaggerated’ in respect of certain party related shenanigans that they claimed were taking place on board during the cruise. The reporter on board was heavily criticised for his claims and was asked to leave the vessel.