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A luxury 747 carrying valuable art work is hijacked and lands in the ocean, submerged in shallow water. Will the crew and passengers make it off before the plane floods with water? Written by
Brian W Martz <B.Martz@Genie.com>
Of all the disaster flicks, this seems to be the one I enjoy most, perhaps it was the first one I would see.
But looking back at the hot pants in Poseidon Adventure & Dunaway's dress and the tuxedoes in Towering Inferno, Airport '77 is quite an elegantly dressed cast, aren't they?
The movie would get famed Hollywood fashion expert Edith Head to dress the cast and it shows. Anyone else would have made Brenda Vaccarro look obese trying to put her in that pullover sweater.
Airplane! would make fun of Edith Head being credited for '77 like that, by crediting their own costumer, but 27 years later, the wardrobe makes the cast of '77 appear tremendously dashing, giving the tragedy that greater a feel as well.
Jack Lemmon was an incredible standout as the hero of the piece, in comparison to Paul Newman's sexism in Towering Inferno (he never speaks to Jennifer Jones as a human during their entire ordeal with the children) or Heston's stiffness or McQueen's inexpressiveness.
Two years after her Oscar nomination, Vaccarro was hardly the disaster flicks idea of a leading lady as well, so she is quite a one-of-a-kind casting also.
When I was little, I was most fascinated with Arlene Golonka, who I knew from the Andy Griffith show.
Later, identifying the rest of the cast just made it more and more fun. Dracula, Buck Rogers, Kolchak the Nightstalker (Darren McGavin & Jack Lemmon were a powerhouse duo).
Then the names and stars figured into it. DeHavilland, Cotten, Grant. No one looked more out of place than Olivia DeHavilland in an underwater airplane.
Robert Hooks as the crippled bartender and Tom Sullivan (who is actually blind) as the pianist added even more flavor.
There is M. Emmet Walsh, "The Name, But What Which One Is Him?" actor. He is the doctor, and I do enjoy his one scene when he explains who he really is.
Monica Lewis, disaster movie staple. She would appear in Earthquake and Concorde: Airport '79. Check out her expression as she and Olivia DeHavilland enter the lifeboat. It reads "Miss DeHavilland, I'm one of your biggest fans. I really enjoyed you in Gone With The Wind." Lucy Ricardo lives.
Should it have been a commercial airline, instead of a private plane? Not necessarily.
I enjoy watching it now and observing a few of the female extras at the beginning of the crash don't seem to be present anymore by the end. It seems that they weren't available for filming then.
I would argue, as a movie, that this one is more fun to watch than the first one. Lancaster and Seberg in the first Airport movie are comical to me trying to be so serious.
And the second Airport movie, Airport '75, is funnier than Airplane.
There is a very strong and different feel from Airport '77 than the other Airport flicks or the other disaster films in general.
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