American based Federation World Airlines has just acquired a Concorde jet, which will make its inaugural commercial flight from Washington D.C. to Paris and then to Moscow as a goodwill ... See full summary »
This precursor to later "epic" 70's disaster films illustrates 12 hours in the lives of the personnel and passengers at the "Lincoln Airport." Endless problems, professional and personal, are thrown at the various personnel responsible for the safe and proper administration of air traffic, airline management and aviation at a major US airport. Take one severe snowstorm, add multiple schedules gone awry, one elderly Trans Global Airlines stowaway, shortages, an aging, meretricious pilot, unreasonable, peevish spouses, manpower issues, fuel problems, frozen runways and equipment malfunctions and you get just a sample of the obstacles faced by weary, disgruntled personnel and passengers at the Lincoln Airport. Toss in one long-suffering pilot's wife, several stubborn men, office politics and romance and one passenger with a bomb and you have the film "Airport" from 1970. Written by
Burt Lancaster, who headlined the film above the title with Dean Martin, made a great deal of money from the film, which was a huge hit. Lancaster's contract gave him a 10% profit participation once the movie hit $50 million, and the film grossed $45.3 million in North America alone. Despite the financial windfall, Lancaster said that the movie was "the worst piece of junk ever made." He said he only made this film in return for the studio agreeing to finance several non-commercial films he was interested in. See more »
The board at the customs hall pointing to the exit is badly translated in French: "Escalier au sortie." It should say: "Escalier vers la sortie." See more »
[the precocious nerd figures out they're turning around]
Captain, our son has a question. Schuyler, here's our captain.
[pointing out the window]
Before, Virgo and Leo were right there, sir. Now I'm beginning to see Ursa Minor and Cassiopeia. We MUST be turning around.
Capt. Vernon Demerest:
You have a young navigator here! Well, I'll tell you son... Due to a Cetcil wind, Dystor's vectored us into a 360-tarson of slow air traffic. Now we'll maintain this Borden hold until we get the Forta Magnus clearance from Melnics.
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"Cosmetics by Universal Pictures Professional Cosmetics" See more »
Watching AIRPORT today is like watching a parody of the film because of all of the spinoffs that followed, including the hilarious AIRPLANE! And sometimes you have to wonder about the humor--especially the scene where the priest slaps a hysterical man across the aisle without even a glance at him.
But the sub-plots (and there are quite a few) hold together very well and at the center of all the suspense is a humorous plot involving a little old lady stowaway (Helen Hayes). Her interrogation scene with Jean Seberg is priceless and all the way through she shows a remarkable talent for scene-stealing. It's hard to watch anyone else when she's going through her paces.
The suspense build-up is slow but steady once the plane takes off in a snowstorm--and by the way, the snow effects are very realistic for a change--almost as though the film was shot in a real blizzard, which it probably wasn't.
This is well played by the entire cast--with the exception of Dean Martin who looks too casual even when the plane is making a final, desperate landing. He never gets inside his role as a pilot. Burt Lancaster doesn't do much with his character either--but everyone else shines. Maureen Stapleton is touching as the worried wife of the bomber (Van Heflin). Heflin was in his last film role here, looking rather flabby and worn but good as the paranoid bomber.
Too bad that two of the male leads gave less than adequate performances. It would have helped considerably to make us believe more in the overall tale. By today's standards, the film looks dated and a bit overwrought almost to the point of comic foolishness--but that's what we get for seeing all the subsequent 'Airport' films.
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