Richard Attenborough plays Ernest Tilley, a man who lost his daughter in a hit-and-run accident. He tracks down the man responsible for the accident and boards the same plane, threatening ... See full summary »
Richard Attenborough plays Ernest Tilley, a man who lost his daughter in a hit-and-run accident. He tracks down the man responsible for the accident and boards the same plane, threatening to blow up himself and everyone on board as an act of vengeance. What follows is an Airport-type movie with all the passengers having their own little subplots and fears. Written by
The Aircraft on which this film is set is a Tupolev Tu-104. This was a Soviet (Russian) made passenger jet, codenamed 'Camel' by NATO. In the film, the airline the passengers fly on is a British one running a London-New York service. However it does seem highly unusual that they are operating this service with a Soviet-made Jet aircraft, especially since this film was made during the height of the Cold War. In the film when the Jet takes off, its Aeroflot markings and Soviet flag are easily visible. The Tu-104 was only operated by the USSR and other Communist-affiliated countries, and the aircraft would not have been able to run a full passenger London-New York service without a stop over (as occurs in the movie). Why the producers chose this Aircraft and not the British-made Comet 4 or Boeing 707 (both aircraft had the range to cross the Atlantic) is a mystery. See more »
The man who looks the other way is one with the sinner.
Jet Storm is directed by Cy Endfield, who also co-writes the screenplay with Sigmund Miller. It stars Richard Attenborough, Stanley Baker, Hermione Baddeley, Bernard Braden, Diane Cilento, Barbara Kelly and David Kossoff. Music is by Thomas Rajna and cinematography by Jack Hildyard. Plot finds Attenborough as Ernest Tilley, a man still angry and grieving over the hit-and-run killing of his seven year old daughter. Tracking down James Brock (George Rose), the man responsible for the accident, he boards the same aeroplane flight as him and threatens to blow it up as an act of vengeance against Brock and mankind for allowing him to get away with his crime.
It's a real hard film to track down. Packed to the rafters with British acting talent, it has rarely been licensed to even be shown in the United Kingdom. I myself had to order a DVD copy from Australia, but the wait was very much worth it.
As has been noted by the very few reviews of the film on the internet, it's a British prototype disaster movie, but that in no way means this is cornball stuff, it's a very human and intelligent drama. Endfield's film is looking into how a number of people react differently when faced with the possibility of death, while it casts a scathing eye towards a society that creates someone like Ernest Tilley. How would you react if you faced impending death on board a plane? How would you react if your child was killed and the man responsible got away with it? Searching questions that of course don't bare thinking about, but that's why we have cinema, to let us escape into a dramatic world that paints possibilities for us.
The ream of character sub-plots are excellently performed by the huge cast, but it's Attenborough and Baker who shine brightest. The former has Tilley as hollowed and tragic, a man tipped over the edge, pain seeping from every pore. The latter has Captain Bardow as silky smooth, calm during crisis, it's an elegant portrayal by one of Britain's most under valued actors. Elsewhere, Endfield does a marvellous job of threading so many character strands together, making one successful whole and he deftly paces it and brings it in under 90, exposition free, minutes. The lovely title song is called Jetstream (a working title for the film), not Jet Storm as is listed on IMDb, and it's warbled by Marty Wilde (lyrics by Endfield) who also features in the cast.
An under seen British classic of entertaining substance, one that also has the requisite drama and suspense as it dangles its questions. 8/10
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