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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

"Significant Glances" Theater Presents: "San Francisco Five-O"

Author: lemon_magic from Wavy Wheat, Nebraska
1 October 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

OK, here's how the movie works.

There is the barest germ of an interesting detective story plot here to drive the movie: thieves use a kidnapping at the San Francisco Airport to serve as a distraction from their attempts to smuggle stuff into Mexico. Watching Pernell Roberts (the airport administrator), Clu Gulager (the airport security chief) and Van Johnson (a newspaper columnist who happens to be in the airport at the time) try to assemble the clues, figure out what's happening, and scramble to thwart the bad guys before the bad guys can 'get away with it'...is mildly diverting in the same way that the 'caper plots' from "Hawaii Five-O" used to be.

But because this series pilot is supposed to be setting us up for a series similar to "The Grand Hotel", and not just a detective series, the filmmakers have to flesh things out with human interest and character tags. So we get Pernell's battle with the senators over modernizing the airport. We get a divorce subplot between Van Johnson and his wife which in turn generates an ABC after school special segment with son Davey, who is so upset by his parents' impending separation that he...um....gets into an unguarded plane on the tarmac and takes off. (What?????). And we also get a public service announcement subplot in which it is revealed that businessmen tend to be stuffy and prejudiced, while guitar playing hippies and airport security chiefs can relate to each other. Or something.

The results are, well....watchable. All the actors here are competent in a made-for-TV way. Pernell Roberts' character is incredibly smug and self-important, but I think that was a deliberate choice by the director and the screenwriter - don't forget that "McGarrett", the hero of "Hawaii Five-O" (a very successful hit in the same era) was also arrogant and hard-nosed, and I think the writers were hoping to mimic that series success with a similar protagonist.

But it's obvious that the makers of "SFI" spectacularly misjudged the drawing power of the airport setting in generating viewer interest, especially when they made the airport and everything in it muddy orange and brown. And the screenplay is pretty much stuck in 2nd gear for the duration of the film. You've never seen so much screen time devoted to actors giving each other meaningful glances in your life.

Anyway, no one bought it, and the pilot sunk without a trace, to be revived by "Mystery Science Theater" over 30 years later. The MST coverage is mildly amusing (as always) and helps you pass the time until the pilot winds to its inevitable close and everyone lives happily ever after.

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Travel back (by jet) to a simpler time...

Author: editguy from United States
7 December 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

OK, so this movie and the subsequent series tanked...but it's brought many evenings of joy to us as cannon fodder for the rapier-like minds at MST3K, who hit this one over the 400- foot sign. It succeeds in a way its makers never intended...

Pernell Roberts struts around "his" airport, annoying congressmen and local bureaucrats alike. Clu Gulagher mumbles and mutters his lines while trying to be the sheriff on the spread, though his thunder is stolen by the postal inspector. A Mr. Hunter inserts "Tab A" into this B-movie with a plot to steal either a million bucks or a crate of old magazines, I'm never sure which. Weaving through this plot (sic) is Davey, who stumbles through the action like Billy in the Family Circus. Will he find the radio? Will the plane land safely? Will we even remotely care? And who gets to ask David Hartman, "Why the long face?"

Previous reviewers have been much too harsh -- this one should be viewed as a monument to all the things the 1970s brought us -- B movies, no Homeland Security checkpoints, planes with aisles as wide as city streets, three-martini lunches, and made-for-TV hippies...

Having expectations just means disappointment in the end. Let it wash over you and laugh!

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7 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Toupee and Greyweave..they're cops!!

Author: Michael H from Coastal Maine
24 February 2005

A tense and thrilling drama is what this show tries to be, but fails in all aspects except becoming great ammo for the guys at MST3K. If it has Tab Hunter and David Hartman, well you know it's good. Facially disfigured crooks try to smuggle a large reserve of cash to El Paso while idiot Davey, upset that his parents can't communicate steals a plane and doesn't know what to do. Pernell must rescue him and figure out how to foil the bad guys with the money and save David Hartman's bad hair-do wife. Show also stars Clu Gulager, Van Johnson (who doesn't sing in this)and a bunch of nobody's who don't do a lot else but stand and stare wondering what their next move should be. Is this anyway to run an airport? Sure it's 1970. Metal detectors? We don't need no stinkin metal detectors!!

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

"I said the wheel felt mushy!"

Author: bensonmum2 from Tennessee
16 July 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

San Francisco International (SFI for the rest of this) follows what I've started calling a Love Boat style of plot development. You know – a movie or television show with an ensemble cast where each character has their own storyline that may or may not have anything to do with the other characters. One plot line is deadly serious, another is romantically charged, the next is played for laughs, and on and on it goes. I don't know where the Love Boat plot style first originated, but SFI follows this to a "T". The story lines in SFI include: a boy, upset over his parents divorce, climbs into an abandoned plane and takes off; a band of crooks robs a shipment of cash going through the airport; seeking additional funding for the airport, airport head honcho Jim Conrad (Pernell Roberts) fakes an emergency landing with a planeload of government officials; a businessman and a hippie get into an altercation; etc. But being a 70s made-for-TV movie, you know everything is going to work out fine in the end – not that you really care or anything.

There are several reasons why SFI never made it to our television sets as a regular series. And chief among them as far as I'm concerned is Pernell Roberts. Being self-assured is one thing, but Roberts' character comes off as one of the smuggest in history. He's too unlikable to care about any of his problems and whether they get resolved or not. You can't build a series around a horses rear-end like Jim Conrad and expect anyone to watch.

As with a lot of the "bad" movies I've been watching lately, I saw SFI courtesy of Mystery Science Theater 3000. And as far as a MST3K episode goes, SFI is a keeper. A laugh at every turn. If you're a fan of the show, do yourself a favor and seek it out. This one gets a 4/5 on my MST3K rating scale.

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Wow, a series that is just like the airport films of the 70's!

Author: Aaron1375 from Alabama
31 March 2015

A series that has airport disasters every week should be cool so this series should be cool. Well it is not, for the simple reason that it is a television show, so it is not like they have a budget to show a whole lot of crashes and whatnot. So you get minor incidents and heists being pulled all at the same time in this pilot episode! Though while watching this and the way it sets itself up, it sort of resembles the typical disaster film of the era and a couple of points of it seem like scenes they made fun of in the parody film, "Airplane". There are stars aplenty in this one, the typical people you would see in many television series and made for television movies of the era as well. So, while not a particularly entertaining show as far a plot and what is going on, it does have some interesting points to look out for.

The story of the pilot episode has a person who is sort of in charge of the airport scaring some congressman, a boy whose parents are getting a divorce because the father works to much and this boy really likes planes, a kidnapping that is a set up for a heist and a man punched by a hippie. All these stories intertwine a bit, well not the hippie one. That one just seems thrown in for no apparent reason. The boy with his parents was really kind of lame as the mother's reason for wanting to separate is idiotic, as she knew going in what his job entailed and the funniest part is when the head of the airport talks to the boy at one point it so reminded me of the scene with Peter Graves and the boy in "Airplane". The one with the boy leads to some airplanes being flown and really small cheap ones, which probably all the show could afford to do. The heist was a good story to have in this film as it is in an airport, but only really affected a plane on the ground. So other than a possible crash at the beginning of the film they teased us with there isn't really any other areas where there could have been a possible crash with the big planes.

I, of course, saw this on Mystery Science Theater 3000 as I would imagine seeing a film made for television in 1970 that was basically a bit of a failure would not be easy in 2015. I guess I could have youtubed it, but no, it was released in the latest volume from my favorite television show of all time. It made for a very funny episode as they also did good with another television pilot called, "Code Name: Diamondhead". These old shows from the 70's just make for an entertaining watch because it is fun seeing all the stars in them and the groovy settings.

So, this one was not a good story, but it had its moments. You get to see plenty of television stars from years past and what is apparently the blueprint for disaster films in its infancy. Remember the film, "Earthquake" and the plot point of the couple on the plane who became a boring plot point once their plane averted the danger, it could owe some gratitude for man punched by hippie! The main reason this show probably did end up failing is simply the fact it is a television show and you just cannot do a whole lot involving planes and disaster on a television budget.

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5 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Wan Francisco International

Author: Diana from United States
25 March 2006

Boring. Befuddled. Blah. These are all adjectives that could be used to to describe this lame 70's pilot for a really crappy t.v. show. Like Stranded in Space, this loser show never got off the ground. Can't imagine why. Although, to give it credit where credit is due, Stranded in Space was actually better and more coherent than this dreadful yellowish mess.

There's a lot of 70's b grade actors in this one, from Pernell Roberts to Tab Hunter to Clu Gullagher. Pernell plays the head of security at San Francisco International, and a more annoying, uptight, moralizing, ego-ridden jerk I haven't seen in a long time. That first scene, in which he scares the crap out of an entire plane load of people just so that he can teach a 'lesson' to some Congressman just leaves you shaking your head in disgust. Where's Homeland Security when you need them?

The 'plot', such as it is, is totally incomprehensible. There are so many trailing off plot lines that you could have woven a sweater from them. There was something about some boxes, the wife of a pilot being kidnapped, a weenie kid somehow stealing a plane, a secretary being held hostage, and a weird little scene with Pete from MacGyver getting into a fist fight with a guitar toting hippie kid. None of it makes much sense, and the only closure is the kid being brought down safely(too bad, he was a really irritating kid). The film is so yellow that it looks like the 'before' pics of coffee stained dentures. Everybody is drably uninteresting, and the whole thing could be used as a sleep inducer. A total waste of time, even as an MST3K episode.

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6 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

A new low in TV viewing

Author: Brian Manville (Sterno-2) from Frederick, MD
29 September 1999

If there's anything on TV that could make "Cop Rock" look like "Masterpiece Theatre", San Francisco International is it. Pernell Roberts, long before he discovered his TV niche as Trapper John, stars here as an arrogant, self-aggrandizing, pompous head of security for the San Francisco airport. >

In order for you to get an idea of his modus operandi as head of security, he stages a crisis aboard an airplane full of congressmen in order to demonstrate his need for more security. Thankfully, the scene of these VIPs cleaning up after discovering the hoax was left on the editing room floor. > David Hartman also stars as a clueless pilot whose wife is kidnapped. The kidnapping takes place so that Hartman's character can stall his next flight long enough so that the bad guys can steal some gold, money, potatoes...who really cares?

This movie throws in every bad TV movie element of the time, missing only the opportunity to cast either Bert Convy or one of the Landers sisters. Roberts' character is neither likable nor identifiable in this film.

Sterno says keep this film on your personal radar, only to make sure that you've shot it down and to watch it go down in flames.

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0 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

the worst of the 70's

Author: jerome_horwitz from USA
29 January 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Frankly I'm surprised after watching this thing that we've made it this far. This movie is the worst of the worst, right down there with Manos, Boggy Creek, and Laserblast. It is absolute crap, from beginning to end. Some retarded kid steals an airplane, and of course his parents are getting divorced. There's some plane with 3 million dollars and some idiots have some really cheesed up plan to steal it.

I will never understand for the rest of my life how the heck this ever was green lighted to put on celluloid. From beginning to end, this movie will absolutely disappoint. Only watchable as MST, and they have a lot of fun with it. EEERRRKKEEELLLLL!


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