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When a commercial airliner develops engine problems on a trans-Pacific flight and the pilot loses his nerve, it is up to the washed-up co-pilot Dan Roman to bring the plane in safely. Written by
Jim Beaver <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The flying scenes were filmed during the third week in November 1953 using a DC-4 borrowed from Transocean Airlines. The ending scene showing all the passengers and crew disembarking in San Francisco according to the pilot was actually filmed at the old and now-defunct Glendale Air Terminal , where a special outdoor movie set was constructed to replicate the terminal gates at San Francisco in those days. See more »
On departure from Honolulu the DC-4 has unpainted propeller blades, but on arrival at San Franciso, the propeller tips are painted red and yellow (an apparent safety measure to let ground crew see rotating propellers before walking into them). See more »
Probably the most popular film that has never been released to any video medium, The High and the Mighty is th4e granddaddy of all of those disaster pictures that became popular in the 70s, but they do not hold a candle to this one.
The Wayne Family in general, and I would assume sons Michael and Patrick in particular, own the film along with some others. One has to wonder why they do not release it. I have a copy I recorded from HBO many years ago and when aired it was a great print. I am fortunate to be able to see it now and then at my own leisure.
The plot of a crippled airliner in the middle of the Pacific doesn't accurately describe this film. It is a true character study with some of the finest actors of the day on hand delivering brilliant performances. Those that stand out include Jan Sterling (oscar nominee and Golden Globe winner), Claire Trevor (Oscar nominated), Phil Harris, Robert Newton, and David Brian. But each and every one in the rest of the cast can take a bow for a job well done. And That includes Wayne himself. His Dan Roman is complete, a man with strengths and weaknesses, but a man who eventually is the only one to step up in a time of crisis. It is one of his best performances.
William Wellman's direction keeps the film moving, Dimitri Tiomkin's Oscar winning score had viewers whistling along with Whistling Dan.
Mike and Pat, please let this one out before it becomes an antique. A new generation of your father's fans await this classic. It is not fair to deny them their chance to see him. And by the way. John Wayne was not the original choice to play Dan Roman. When He acquired the rights to the film he just wanted to produce it ( a la Bullfighter and the Lady). His choice wanted to play the role, but schedule conflicts prevented this, thus John Wayne had to play the role he offered to Spencer Tracy
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