IMDb > The High and the Mighty (1954)
The High and the Mighty
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The High and the Mighty (1954) More at IMDbPro »

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The High and the Mighty -- 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.

Overview

User Rating:
7.0/10   3,709 votes »
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Director:
Writers:
Ernest K. Gann (screenplay)
Ernest K. Gann (novel)
Contact:
View company contact information for The High and the Mighty on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
3 July 1954 (USA) See more »
Tagline:
The 2-year best seller blasts to the screen with every kind of love there is! See more »
Plot:
When a commercial airliner develops engine problems on a trans-Pacific flight and the pilot loses his nerve... See more » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
Won Oscar. Another 2 wins & 7 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Wayne Disaster Film No Classic, But GREAT Entertainment! See more (156 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

John Wayne ... Dan Roman

Claire Trevor ... May Holst

Laraine Day ... Lydia Rice

Robert Stack ... John Sullivan

Jan Sterling ... Sally McKee

Phil Harris ... Ed Joseph

Robert Newton ... Gustave Pardee
David Brian ... Ken Childs
Paul Kelly ... Donald Flaherty

Sidney Blackmer ... Humphrey Agnew
Julie Bishop ... Lillian Pardee

Pedro Gonzalez Gonzalez ... Gonzales (as Gonzalez Gonzalez)

John Howard ... Howard Rice
Wally Brown ... Lenny Wilby, navigator

William Campbell ... Hobie Wheeler

Ann Doran ... Clara Joseph

John Qualen ... Jose Locota

Paul Fix ... Frank Briscoe
George Chandler ... Ben Sneed
Joy Kim ... Dorothy Chen
Michael Wellman ... Toby Field

Douglas Fowley ... Alsop

Regis Toomey ... Tim Garfield

Carl 'Alfalfa' Switzer ... Ensign Keim (as Carl Switzer)
Robert Keys ... Lieutenant Mowbray

William Hopper ... Roy (as William Dewolf Hopper)

William Schallert ... Dispatcher
Julie Mitchum ... Susie Wilby
Doe Avedon ... Miss Spalding

Karen Sharpe ... Nell Buck
John Smith ... Milo Buck
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Scotty Beckett ... Coast Guard Navigator (uncredited)
John Close ... Mechanic (uncredited)
James Conaty ... Mrs. Joseph's Doctor (uncredited)

Robert Easton ... Cargo Clerk (uncredited)
Dorothy Ford ... Mrs. Wilson (uncredited)
Al Hill ... San Francisco Ground Crewman (uncredited)
William Hudson ... Reporter (uncredited)
John Indrisano ... Radar Operator (uncredited)
Douglas Kennedy ... Boyd, Reporter (uncredited)
David Leonard ... Scientist (uncredited)
Al Murphy ... Lighthouse Dispatcher (uncredited)
William H. O'Brien ... Restaurant Cook (uncredited)
Walter Reed ... Mr. Field (uncredited)
Philip Van Zandt ... Mr. Wilson (uncredited)

Directed by
William A. Wellman 
 
Writing credits
Ernest K. Gann (screenplay)

Ernest K. Gann (novel "The High and the Mighty")

Produced by
Robert Fellows .... producer (uncredited)
John Wayne .... producer (uncredited)
 
Original Music by
Dimitri Tiomkin 
 
Cinematography by
Archie Stout (photographed by)
 
Film Editing by
Ralph Dawson 
 
Art Direction by
Alfred Ybarra  (as Al Ybarra)
 
Set Decoration by
Ralph S. Hurst (set decorations) (as Ralph Hurst)
 
Makeup Department
Loren Cosand .... makeup artist
Margaret Donovan .... hair stylist
Web Overlander .... makeup artist
 
Production Management
Nate H. Edwards .... production manager
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Andrew V. McLaglen .... assistant director (as Andrew McLaglen)
 
Art Department
Joe LaBella .... property man (as Joseph La Bella)
Patrick Wayne .... props assistant (uncredited)
 
Sound Department
John K. Kean .... sound recording
 
Special Effects by
Robert A. Mattey .... special effects (as Robert Mattey)
 
Stunts
Tom Hennesy .... stunts (uncredited)
Bill Keating .... DC-4 stunt pilot (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
William H. Clothier .... aerial photography (as William Clothier)
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Gwen Wakeling .... wardrobe designer
Joan Joseff .... costume jeweller (uncredited)
 
Music Department
Dimitri Tiomkin .... conductor
Manuel Emanuel .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Paul Marquardt .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Charles Maxwell .... orchestrator (uncredited)
George Parrish .... orchestrator (uncredited)
John Qualen .... composer: additional music (uncredited)
David Tamkin .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Herbert Taylor .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Dimitri Tiomkin .... music arranger: "Aloha Oe", "Kaua I Ka Hua Hua'i" and "The Barber of Seville" (uncredited)
 
Other crew
Wm. H. Benge .... technical advisor
Robert C. Cannom .... technical advisor: U.S.C.G. (as Lt. Commander Robert M. Cannom)
Sam Freedle .... script supervisor
Loren Riebe .... camera plane pilot
Muzzy Marcellino .... whistler: dubbing for John Wayne (uncredited)
 

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies
  • Post Logic Studios  digital restoration (uncredited)
  • Transocean Air Lines  our sincere appreciation for the technical advice and cooperation given us by (as Transocean Air Lines, Oakland, California)
  • United States Coast Guard  we wish to thank: for their cooperation and advice (as the United States Coast Guard)

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"William A. Wellman's The High and the Mighty" - UK (complete title), USA (complete title)
See more »
Runtime:
147 min
Country:
Language:
Color:
Color (WarnerColor)
Aspect Ratio:
2.55 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
4-Track Stereo | Mono (RCA Sound System)
Certification:
Australia:PG | Australia:M (TV rating) | Finland:K-8 | Netherlands:AL (orginal rating) | Sweden:15 | UK:U | UK:U (video rating) (2007) | USA:Approved (PCA #16801) | West Germany:12 (f)

Did You Know?

Trivia:
Jan Sterling reportedly shaved her eyebrows off for her role in the film, and they never grew back.See more »
Goofs:
Revealing mistakes: When stewardess Spalding was preparing the liquor drinks, a problem with the plane caused a severe vibration. The table and the drinks shook, jumped and nearly fell, yet she did not shake, nor did the walls, or the curtain right behind her.See more »
Quotes:
[first lines]
Ben Sneed:Hey fella, ain't you Dan Roman?
Dan Roman:Yeah.
Ben Sneed:I heard you whistlin' and I said to myself only one guy does that just so.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in The Our Gang Story (1994) (V)See more »
Soundtrack:
Kaua I Ka Hua Hua'iSee more »

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
17 out of 18 people found the following review useful.
Wayne Disaster Film No Classic, But GREAT Entertainment!, 20 July 2005
Author: Ben Burgraff (cariart) from Las Vegas, Nevada

"The High and the Mighty", the granddaddy of air disaster movies, often falls into almost campy melodrama, but under the direction of the legendary 'Wild Bill' Wellman, and punctuated by one of Dimitri Tiomkin's most bombastic yet exciting scores (earning him an Oscar), the film maintains such a level of intensity that it remains constantly entertaining. With John Wayne heading an ensemble cast (including several co-stars from the past, as well as personal friends), it is certainly an essential for any 'Duke' film library.

Produced by Wayne-Fellows Productions, and 'owned', eventually, by the Wayne family's Batjac Productions (along with "Hondo", "McLintock!", and "Island in the Sky"), the film was a BIG hit, when released, and offered one of Wayne's better performances, then gained even greater stature as it was unseen for a generation. I've always held the belief that the family planned to release the entire quartet of films in 2007, to mark the centennial of Duke's birth, but two events changed the plan; first, an unauthorized, 'remixed' VHS version of "McLintock!" was released, with rumors that a version of "Hondo" was also in the works, forcing Michael Wayne, then President of Batjac, to release authorized VHS versions of the two films, rather than have the market glutted with bad copies; second, with Michael's death, in 2003, the Wayne family rethought the master plan, deciding to release the entire collection on DVD earlier. For whatever reason, seeing "The High and the Mighty" again is a cause to celebrate!

Based on Ernest K. Gann's bestseller (which would inspire Arthur Hailey's later novel, "Airport"), the story centers around a routine commercial flight between Honolulu and San Francisco, which becomes a life-and-death drama when one engine explodes, just beyond the 'Point of No Return'. With limited fuel, in deteriorating weather, the crisis brings out the best and worst in both passengers and crew.

Wayne as the co-pilot, is quite good, playing a character older than he actually was (the role had been written for Spencer Tracy, who pulled out, just prior to filming); Robert Stack almost foreshadows his character in "Airplane!" as the no-nonsense pilot who goes ballistic when stressed. For cockpit 'overacting', however, the award has to go to Wally Brown, as the navigator, with his bugged-out eyes, visions of his shrewish wife, and WILDLY unruly hair...

While the passengers are all stereotypes, several actors are quite good in their roles, with standout performances by Claire Trevor and Jan Sterling (both Oscar-nominated), Robert Newton, Paul Kelly, and Paul Fix. While Phil Harris attempts to inject humor into his role, it only works sporadically (and Ann Doran, as his wife, plays 'hysterical' so convincingly that you want to STRANGLE her!) Laraine Day, third-billed (and, with Trevor, a previous Wayne leading lady), is remarkably unlikable as a rich wife with a 'bought' husband (John Howard); Sidney Blackmer plays the 'mandatory' unbalanced type; and veteran character actor John Qualen adds another 'ethnic' portrayal to his long list, as a Latin family man (with a Norwegian accent!) A bit of trivia: The young boy on board was portrayed by director Wellman's son!

Almost as fascinating as the story is seeing how much has changed, since the film was released; the plane's 'tail' is controlled by pulleys and wires in a rear compartment; the sole flight attendant is a "stewardess"; and everyone smokes (especially in the cockpit). On a more somber note, there is NO security, and one passenger boards easily, carrying a gun. It is, sadly, a wiser world, today...

While no one would ever accuse "The High and the Mighty" of being a film classic, it's role in creating the 'airplane disaster' genre can't be denied, and it continues to be a vastly enjoyable John Wayne feature.

It's great to have it back!

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (156 total) »

Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for The High and the Mighty (1954)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
Uhm...yeah. Okay. Metaljeeper
What is the aircraft in the High and the Mighty? clive-13
'So long.....so long, you ancient pelican!' shula1010430
Amazing Jan Sterling Scene timghe
Toss Toby out the door Sir Realist
Question about the opening scene eugenie51
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