Clipper ships taking the shortest route between the Mississippi and the Atlantic often end up on the shoals of Key West in the 1840s. Salvaging the ships' cargos has become a lucrative ... See full summary »
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 High and the Mighty might be called Muzzy Marcellino's movie since it was his wonderful, masterful whistling of the theme that made this movie not just good, but great. It is a pity that his talents were not more appreciated, but then most people think that anyone can whistle a sonorous tune. Far from it! Very few people could whistle in orchestral color and range which is what this man did for Dimitri Tiomkin's wonderful score which well deserved the 1955 Academy Award for "Best Music" and Scoring. Yes, John Wayne did indeed make the film his own and turned in a multi-layered performance, and yes, this is the granddaddy of the 'disaster films,' which has never been surpassed in quality, but its distinction is not the primacy, nor the casting, nor even the story by a professional pilot, but the distinctive music - distinctly rendered - which one may not notice at first, but which imbues this non-epic with the caliber of stardom.
I can remember when I was in high school in the '60s some ten years after the movie was released (I have never seen it since) and Mr. Marcellino was a guest at one of our assemblies and demonstrated his amazing versatility at whistling and even performed the letters of the alphabet as an example of how he had mastered his craft. His range was phenomenal as he portrayed the instruments of the orchestra and then performed the entire Rhapsody in Blue as well as popular works all by whistling without accompaniment, but admitted that the theme for TH&TM was his proudest achievement. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has never recognized the contributions of all musical forms to the success of pictures as gauged from their mention in passing at the annual telecast Oscar ceremonies, but if they had, this singular performance would have been guaranteed a Special Oscar. Truly, once it is heard, neither it nor the film can ever be forgotten, but will haunt one for years to come! This classic film is the fitting epitaph for Messrs. Wayne, Tiomkin, and Marcellino. Would that we all could be remembered for such an achievement.
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