Based on the Pan Am Flight 6 incident of October 1956. 24 passengers, 7 crew survived ditching of a Boeing Stratocruiser with help from USCG cutter. More details on wiki or Aviation Safety Network pages. See more »
Although not stated in the film, the film-makers clearly intended to depict a Douglas DC-7C in the movie. In the exterior scenes, we see the "7 Seas" logo on the vertical fin, and in the close-up scenes of the engines, we see four-blade props and prop spinners as on a DC-7. However, with exception of the logo, the plane shown in the exterior scenes is a DC-4, evident by the more rounded shape of the vertical fin, the length of the aircraft, and no prop spinners. See more »
Sam Katzman produced this Columbia "B" movie that's title pretty much tells you all you need to know. A plane loses a couple engines over the Atlantic on a trip from Lisbon to New York. The tough pilot (Gary Merrill) must decide to land and at what point would be best for survival. Before the landing can take place the film must flashback so that we can get to know the pilot as well as other passengers. The disaster genre has always been one of my favorites and this entry here is pretty cheap but in the end it's not too bad. No one is going to mistake this picture for one of the bigger entries like THE HIGH AND THE MIGHTY but there's enough nice melodrama as well as suspense to make it worth viewing. Director Sears and producer Katzman worked quite a bit together during this period with the best known of their work being THE WEREWOLF and THE GIANT CLAW. This film has the same charm of those two as we get a pretty interesting story mixed together with cheap thrills. The outside shots of the plane make it look obviously fake and I'd almost put the quality of the shots on the same level as THE GIANT CLAW but thankfully those here aren't as ugly. The character drama isn't too bad as we get a nice performance from Merrill who really sinks his teeth into the tough-as-nails character. I thought he did a very good job at showing off the toughness of this character and sometimes you can't help but want to dislike him, although we do get a decent story of why he's this way. The other characters are pretty standard for this type of film as we have the chance lovers, a young boy with a dog, a preacher, a couple Navy guys and a couple beauty girls. None of the side stories are all that interesting but they make for some mild melodrama. What really makes the film work is what we came to see and that's the suspense built around the landing. The actual landing sequence doesn't look too realistic but the drama building up to it works extremely well and I must admit that I was surprised to see how well Sears handled it. Running a brief 76-minutes means we never get too much character development (a major problem with the films from the 70s) and we get to see Nancy Davis (Reagan) during a couple scenes as the pilot's wife.
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