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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 <email@example.com>
Spencer Tracy was originally cast as Dan Roman. He backed out of the film, however, after hearing several negative comments about how strict a disciplinarian director William A. Wellman was. See more »
When Dan Roman stumbles from the burning wreckage of an airliner in a flashback sequence, he sees and reaches for a burning teddy bear. When he picks it up, it's no longer burning. See more »
Soundtrack music is important. Try thinking of 'Star Wars' without John Williams' symphonic score, and you'll see what I'm saying. Dimitri Tiomkin knew exactly how to write for this picture, and how to move the audience, for without his classic and at times choral-accentuated theme and the rousing orchestral cues throughout, this would have been merely a good film rather than the near-great film that it is. Had it been made this year, for example, using a contemporary film composer, I believe TH&TM wouldn't carry it off.
There doesn't seem to be a replacement for Tiomkin on the horizon, and we couldn't afford to lose him.
The best lines belong to Jan Sterling (that cosmetics scene is still gripping), Robert Newton, and lovely Claire Trevor, and there's a great low-keyed, anticlimactic finale.
A Nine from me.
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