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André De Toth
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A pilot wants a life of ease, flying for drug smugglers and looking the other way until his conscience is tweaked by a woman he has misused. The story unfolds in flashbacks as the pilot battles the storm and recalls his failures, including a love affair with the wife of his best friend. Written by
Mildly entertaining melodrama benefits from some nice performances by the leads. Pilot Slattery (Richard Widmark) takes off in a plane, flying through a hurricane where he looks back on his life. Most of this flashback centers on him running into a friend (John Russell) who he eventually stabs in the back and tries to steal his wife (Linda Darnell) while his own girlfriend (Veronica Lake) begins to lose control. While Slattery tries to steal the wife he has even more trouble from the men he works with who just happen to be involved in narcotics. At just 80-minutes this thing flies by pretty fast thanks in large part to the performances but in the end it's just way too predictable and full of too much melodrama to really work. I think the best aspect is the performance by Widmark who gets to act tough, as usual, but also manages to be very believable as the man simply struggling with his attitude and look on life. Widmark takes what could have been a simple tough guy role and adds some soul to it by really delivering a full character and one we can't help but feel as if we know. The cruelness that the character has towards anyone but himself is perfectly brought to life by the actor. Darnell doesn't get too much to do but she's certainly easy on the eyes. Russell's role is pretty thankless as well but I enjoyed all of his scenes with Widmark as the two certainly had a nice chemistry. Lake, who was married to the director at the time, doesn't come off nearly as good. I'm not sure what it was but just watch any scene she's in and it appears as if there's something really bothering her as she's constantly looking around and can't seem to keep her eyes still. Her role really wasn't written all that well but I still wasn't too impressed with her performance. The special effects of flying inside the hurricane were pretty good and it should be noted that Ray Kelloogg, director of classic drive-in fluff like THE KILLER SHREWS and THE GIANT GILA MONSTER, did the visual effects. I think the well-known cast will make people check this film out but the end results are rather mixed. There's some nice scenes and a couple decent performances but in the end you can't help but feel as if you're going through the motions and that you've seen this countless times before.
5 of 7 people found this review helpful.
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