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The High and the Mighty (1954) Poster

Trivia

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.
At the time of filming, Hawaii was not a state, but it was a territory of the United States, and going through immigration between Honolulu and the mainland was not necessary. No passports for U.S. citizens were ever shown nor needed.
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During the initial scenes in Hawaii, characters are shown showing passports prior to boarding the airplane. This is because at the time the movie was filmed, Hawaii was not yet a U.S. State.
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.
John Wayne's first film in CinemaScope.
Producer John Wayne chose Robert Cummings as his co-star for the role of Captain Sullivan. Director William A. Wellman, however, overrode his producer and chose Robert Stack for the part.
Unavailable for viewing for 20 years due to several royalty disputes, the film was made available again in 2005 through the estate of John Wayne. Extensive restoration, including the recovery of a lost reel, was required before the film was in proper condition for DVD release and future television broadcasts.
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Joan Crawford, Ida Lupino, Barbara Stanwyck, Ginger Rogers, and Dorothy McGuire all turned down roles in this film.
The final film of the experienced cinematographer Archie Stout.
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When Coast Guard personnel or aircraft are on screen, the score plays "Semper Paratus", the Coast Guard hymn.
Although it is widely believed that the DC-4 airliner used to film the passengers' boarding and flying sequences was the same plane which was lost on March 28, 1964, when the plane (a former military Douglas C-54A-10-DC built in 1944, registered as N4726V, and known as the "The Argentine Queen") crashed into the Pacific Ocean about 700 miles west of San Francisco, this is a myth. As verified by the log book of the Transocean Airlines pilot who flew the DC-4 in the film, Captain Bill Keating (see his letter to the editor in the Transocean Airlines newsletter of February 2008, page 6), the actual airplane used in the film was the Transocean Airlines DC-4 "African Queen," registration number N-4665V.
Towards the end of the movie, when Robert Stack tells John Wayne to whistle something (because he works better with music), the tune that Wayne whistles is "I'm a Ramblin' Wreck from Georgia Tech".
Average Shot Length (ASL) = 11 seconds
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Jan Sterling reportedly shaved her eyebrows off for her role in the film, and they never grew back.
The lyrics to the noted title song are only heard at the very end, are sung by a large choral group, and are different from the familiar lyrics heard in the popular song released of the time.
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This film features 4 future "Star Trek" actors--Paul Fix who played Dr. Piper in "Where No Man Has Gone Before", William Schallert who played Nilz Barris in "The Trouble with Tribbles"; David Brian who played John Gill in "Patterns of Force" and William Campbell who played the Klingon Koloth in "Trouble with Tribbles" and Trelane in "Squire of Gothos".
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