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I finally managed to track down copy of this CONCORDE: AIRPORT 79
cash-in directed by the the violence-obsessed Ruggero Deodato. I'm
surprised this flick doesn't come up in discussion more often since it
does have a pretty fantastic cast and crew and a pretty good storyline
Joseph Cotten and Edmund Purdom are big New York executives who are informed that the Concorde has failed numerous safety checks, yet they have them fly anyway. Right away of course, a Concorde crashes into the Carribbean Sea leaving a stewardess (Mimsy Farmer) as the only survivor. Of course she is first picked up by some members of an international mob (including Richard Raymond and Venantino Venantini). They demand a million dollars ransom for the girl to the hotshot executives, who respond by unleashing their hit men on everyone who knows about the crash in a vain attempt to cover it up. Enter James Franciscus as the heroic journalist who steps in and rescues the stewardess from the mobsters and barely gets her to the authorities in time to learn a second Concorde (piloted by Van Johnson!) is experiencing similar trouble and may also crash if she doesn't remember what caused her flight trouble. Turns out the mobsters were behind the whole thing and that they're all in a little over their heads.
This oddity certainly doesn't pack the best special effects I've seen (the Concorde footage is all either stock footage or cheesy little model airplanes), CONCORDE AFFAIR 79 still manages to be a lot of fun. There's murder, mobsters, & mayhem, and an underwater scubadiver fight or two. The cast is top notch, with even Robert Kerman dropping by as an air traffic controller who has to talk Mimsy Farmer to her senses at the end. Genre veterans may also recognise that same black guy from ZOMBIE and DOCTOR BUTCHER M.D. as one of the fishermen who rescues farmer and is promptly killed off. The photography, in this case by both Federico Zanni and Gianlorenzo Battaglia is pretty good, but fails to make the Godzilla movie-ish miniatures seem realistic. Stelvio Cipriani's musical score is about exactly usual for his work, yet adding a couple interesting new variations.
All in all, I think this flick was alright. It's totally rare and impossible to find in a decent quality print, but in my opinion it's well worth the effort tracking down.
It's tempting to call "Concorde Affaire '79" (a.k.a. "Concorde Affair")
a rip-off since its title is so close to the hilariously awful "The
Concorde: Airport '79," but beyond that the only similarities the
movies share is the crashing of their titular plane. They're not even
in the same genre, with the Italian-made "Concorde Affaire '79 " more
of an action thriller than a disaster movie.
The action kicks off right away when an airline CEO (a bored Joseph Cotten) orders the sabotage a rival's Concorde test flight, causing it to crash in the Caribbean Sea, killing everyone on board. News coverage is routine, but then New York-based freelance journalist Moses Brody (James Franciscus) gets a scoop from his ex-wifewho just happens to run a restaurant in the Antillesand though she's irritatingly vague he heads to the islands anyway. By the time he arrives his ex is dead and there are thugs trying to kill him. The plot thickens from there, with Brody discovering that there was one survivor of that Concorde crash: Jean (Mimsy Farmer), a flight attendant (because who else was going to get the pilots' coffee?) now being held captive by gangsters who are using her to blackmail Cottenwho pays them as part of "the cost of doing business." Can Brody rescue Jean and escape the gangsters in time to thwart Cotten's sabotage of another Concorde flight out of the U.K.?
Though hardly a great movie, "Concorde Affaire '79" is far better than it has any right to be (and 10 times better than "The Concorde: Airport '79," as other reviewers have noted). It certainly has way more plot than expected though the storytelling is a bit rickety at times. Case in point is Brody acting surprised to discover the exact location of the Concorde wreckage as if this were some big secret. And apparently it is, as it's revealed the gangsters are actually Cotten's henchmen, sent to destroy all traces of the wreckage. Guess the FAA didn't waste too much time investigating plane crashes in the late '70s. Just as rickety is the way director Ruggero ("Cannibal Holocaust") Deodato relies on stock footage for all scenes showing the Concorde in flight. Even worse are the unconvincing miniatures used to represent the plane at the bottom of the sea. Otherwise, Deodato does a competent job in the director's chair, seldom letting the movie's pace drop below a cruising altitude. Incidentally, though helmed by a man known for including liberal amounts of gore, sex and nudity in his other movies, "Concorde Affaire '79" is strictly PG-13, with no sex, little gore and even less skin (Franciscus wearing a Speedo is as close as you'll get to nudity, though at times Farmer's billowing white blouse barely covers her breasts).
Franciscus brings the swagger and rugged charisma a role such as Brody requires (think of him as a half-priced Steve McQueen, or a younger, cheaper Charlton Heston), his performance really elevating the movie's entertainment value. Cotten and Edmund Purdom do little more than wait for their paychecks. Van Johnson, another Hollywood legend, at least invests a little effort in his small part as the pilot of that second doomed Concorde flight. Farmer is under-utilized in a damsel-in-distress role, though she does get to freak out a couple times ("I CAN'T REMEMBER!"). It also appears Farmer wasn't available for all her scenes as an obvious stand-in is used for Jean's first scenes aboard the test flight. Also look for '70s porn stars Michael Gaunt, Jake Teague and Robert Kerman (a.k.a. R. Bolla) as London air traffic controllers, speaking with dubbed English accents.
Concorde Affaire '79 (1979)
** 1/2 (out of 4)
Entertaining non-sense from director Ruggero Deodato is an Italian rip-off of the American film THE CONCORDE....AIRPORT '79 but this here is actually much, much better. The wild plot deals with a crazy businessman (Joseph Cotten) who plans to take down every Concorde plane that he can so that it keeps him in business. The first plane goes down but a woman (Mimsy Farmer) survives the crash and then gets held captive so that no one finds out. Thankfully a reporter (James Franciscus) finds out about the plot and tries to get to the bottom of it. CONCORDE AFFAIRE '79 is one crazy little film that pretty much has everything you could possibly think of in regards to just downright silliness. The plot is all over the place but it's so wild and crazy that you really can't call it anything other than original. I went into this movie expecting something really bad but I must admit that I was surprised by how entertaining it was. It's certainly not going to make you forget CITIZEN KANE but it's still a fun little movie. There are some really crazy scenes and sequences here and one of the strangest has to be when the reporter is at the bottom of the ocean checking out the wrecked plane and he must battle people on the surface who are trying to kill him. This sequence runs a very long time but it keeps you drawn up in its action and the underwater photography is actually excellent. We've also got some other crazy scenes, mostly dealing with the surviving woman who is constantly coming under attack. This includes a couple scenes where she tries to break free and there's a real crazy sequence towards the end inside a bank. Director Deodato pretty much throws everything in the picture and for the most part it's fun no matter how dumb it is. This includes the really campy music score, some poor dubbing and a hilarious performance from the lead. I found Franciscus to be extremely entertaining in the lead and he certainly kept you interested in what was going on. This is especially true because he was playing the part like Charlton Heston and the (I believe) dubbed job makes him sound like Heston. Farmer doesn't offer a "good" performance but the over-the-top nature of her breakdown towards the end is priceless. Both Van Johnson and Cotten are obviously just picking up paychecks but it was fun seeing them. Fans of serious cinema will want to skip this but those just looking for a good time should get some entertainment value.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Incredibly bad, but I loved it. Particularly the quasi disco song
played through the action scenes and the closing credits. And the
passengers having panic attacks while the plane seemingly is crashing,
Which is the most accurate part of any of these type movies. There was
only a skeleton crew of big stars from Hollywood Golden Years. No
Gloria Swanson here. But we do have Joseph Cotton and Van Johnson and
The big difference with this movie and the other movies of this type like all of the Airport movies is that this plane actually crashes in the beginning. Which sets off the events for the rest of the movie The plot was a little bit like the the Airport 75, also a Concord. Some corporate bigwigs know the plane is faulty but doesn't care and are after anybody who survives the accident or anybody who knows her. Opposed to a reporter having the goods on her boyfriend and he wants to target her by crashing a whole plane. Which was the plot of Airport 75. The reason for the plane crashing was sort of like one of my favorite plane disaster movie which is actually a good movie, Fate is the Hunter with Glenn Ford. Ford puts on a great performance. Like this movie the only survivor is a stewardess and she serves coffee right before the disaster. I think Fate is the Hunter is so underrated a lot of people never saw the connection between this movie and that.
James Fraciscus and ex-patriot Mimsy Farmer are the two leads. He is the reporter who has the story about the faulty plane. The movie spends most of its time chasing those two around. Also there is some catchy quasi disco music they use for some chase scenes and the ending credits. I have to say I was entertained and that is what a movie is suppose to do. But it still goes on my so bad it's good list.
Just think 25 years from now we will have Space Shuttle 2027 staring Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt, Denzel Washington, Beyonce as the singing nun and Sharon Stone as the 80 year old grandmother escorting her grand daughter to get a new heart.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Fans of the Italian film scene will no doubt be aware that despite all
of the imaginative highs, a fair amount of cheap knock-offs of popular
movies have been made in the land of pizza and pasta over the years.
SOS CONCORDE is one of these movies, a yawningly routine variation on
the '70s disaster movie staple which was released in the same year and
with a similar title to a genuine American disaster film in an attempt
to fool viewers into thinking the films were one and the same. Although
not an entirely worthless film, this is doubly disappointing when
considering the wonderful staple cast and crew behind the movie, all of
whom had been involved in (and were later involved in) much better,
more wonderful things. Not only did top giallo screenwriter Ernesto
Gastaldi work on the script, but infamous horror director Ruggero
Deodato (here called "Roger Deodata"), best known for his highly
controversial film CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST, helmed the movie. Sadly the
direction is weak at best, with little being made of the various
suspenseful situations or action.
The stalwart cast sees James Franciscus headlining as the dashing heroic lead, a vain reporter seeking out a conspiracy behind a missing Concorde and finding himself pursued by various shifty henchmen, all invariably smartly dressed, slightly sweaty, unshaven, and with sinister glasses. Although there is plenty of scope for action, only towards the end of the movie does the film deliver with an exciting shoot-out in a bank and a couple of cool stunts and car chases. Also, for the film's finale, we are offered a genuine disaster situation, with a Concorde loaded with passengers racing towards destruction unless our hero can save it. Somewhat contrivedly, the key lies in an amnesia victim's memory, a former stewardess who must try to remember the reason the first plane crashed. A once-youthful Mimsy Farmer plays the too-often hysterical stewardess but seems miscast in the part.
Of course, ripping off an AIRPORT-style disaster movie wasn't enough, so in come scenes similar to those in JAWS and THE DEEP, two films which fuelled the late '70s underwater adventure genre. Lots of slow scuba-diving is involved, along with a killer shark and a wonderfully gruesome death for a diver, who is shot through the head from behind with a high-powered rifle, resulting in a huge wash of blood pouring from his shattered goggles. Sadly this is the film's only gory moment, again something of a surprise considering the director's filmography, although there is another cheesy moment in which an unlucky fisherman (played by a cameoing Dakkar from ZOMBIE FLESH EATERS) is mowed down by a speedboat. Other casting dependables include an ancient Joseph Cotton as one of the shady executives behind the Concorde, and his partner, the ever-hammy Edmund Purdom; Van Johnson as the unlikely pilot-in-peril; even Robert Kerman popping up for the finale as an air traffic controller who helps to guide the plane to safety. Yet despite the cast and scope for mucho excitement, the pacing is sluggish throughout, the scripting often uninteresting, and the special effects cheap, minimal and cheesy. Therefore only die-hard Euro buffs need to bother seeking this one out.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Well, I finally got my copy of the movie today. Very old version of the
movie with some mild sound and vision problems, yet this is marketed as
an official release!!!! Anywhoo, as for the plot, there is an awfully
large amount of stock footgae of British Airways Concorde's used.
The film is not necessarily a disaster movie per say, but more of a drama. The start of the movie consists of a Concorde taking a serious nose-dive into the ocean. It looks tropical. It is made to look as though everybody on the jet has been killed upon impact.
Some impressive effects (for the time - 1979!) were used and it looks quite good. After this, two fishermen pick up a girl in a life-jacket. The only survivor of the crash - Miss Jean Beneyton, a pretty young flight attendant played by Mimsy Farmer.
Soon after, Jean is captured by the guys responsible for the previous Concorde's fate, helmed by Joseph Cotten. Coming to her rescue is the likable actor James Franciscus as Moses Brody, a reporter. His wife (also a reporter) found out about the Concorde crashing into the ocean and was subsequently murdered to keep the event's quiet.
Finally, Jean and Moses come to know that another Concorde jet is next on the sabotage list and it is up to them to stop this next Concorde from having the same fate as the previous!!!
Important Film Details:
Violence: Some, mild. Bad Language: Twice, strong. Sex/Nudity: None whatsoever. Other: One mild reference to pregnancy.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
(There are some spoilers) Cheaply made, especially in the special
effects department, disaster film about a number of big and powerful
businessmen trying to wreck the Concord Jet-plane industry. They plan
to sabotage a number of the supersonic jets killing hundreds or
passengers in the process. Released some five months before the far
more expensive and much more popular "The Concord Airport " '79" the
movie. "Concord Affaire '79" as well as "The Concord Airport '79" also
boasts, well not publicly, of having in it the same porno & skin-flick
super-stud Richard Bolla, in the movies credits.
Losing control and crashing in the Caribbean Sea off the Great Antilles Concord flight 820 goes under the waves with only one survivor being the stewardess Jean Beneyton, Mimsy Farmer. It turns out that the plane was sabotaged and the people behind it are a number of passenger plane manufactures headed by a Mr. Milland, Joesph Cotton. Theses plane manufactures feel that the supersonic jet would put them out of business.
Getting a call from his estranged wife Nichol,Flamma Maglione, from her restaurant in the Antilles US reporter Moses Brody, James Franciscus, is told that there's a big story behind the crashed jet that has nothing to do with mechanical failure. Getting to the islands Moses finds out that Nicole had been murdered. Moses also finds out that two fishermen working for her, catching lobsters and shrimps, restaurant were also killed in a tragic accident. they were really run down by a speedboat belonging to local mobster Forsythe, Venantino Ventantini. Forsythe also ended up kidnapping stewardess Jean Beneyton who the fishermen tried to rescue.
Moses finds that the surviving stewardess Jean Beneyton is being held hostage by the Forsythe Mob in their yacht and together with his and his wife's, the late Nicole Brody, friend on the island. George, Francisco Charles, goes scuba diving off the Antillie coast to rescue Jean and also find out what's left of the wreckage of the Concord only to have George lose his life in a shark attack.
Rescuing the kidnapped stewardess Jean Moses tries to get the island police and US embassy staff to help him stop an impending explosion on another Concord jet, taking off from Caracas Venzuela headed for London. It seems that everyone in authority that he gets in contact with is so lazy or on vacation that Moses has to do all the work himself in order to prevent another Concord supersonic jet from crashing into the Atlantic Ocean.
With Jeans help in knowing what was the cause of the explosion, on the plane she was on , it comes out how the sabotage of the aircraft is being planned. The saboteurs plant a crudely made acid bomb, in the food stored in kitchen area of the plane, and have it detonate when the Concord is at 50,000 feet. Lots of action on land with a very good car chase scene that's more of an advertisement for going on a trip to the Antilles, even though the movie was shot in a number of island's off the coast of Italy.
Tension and suspense high in the air over 50,000 feet with Concord pilot Captain Scott, Van Johnson, piloting the damaged and burning aircraft to a safe landing as well as the striking island photography make the movie watchable. Even though the story is a bit ridicules with only Forsythe and his boys getting the wost of it. Nothing ever happening to Milland and his cohorts who were responsible for the deaths of over one hundred people.
In the end it turned out that the Concord wasn't that great of a deal and all that it was cooked up to be, by it's supporters. By late 2003 it went out of business for good because most people unless they were millionaires, which wasn't enough to pay even for the planes upkeep, couldn't afford to pay the Concords exorbitant plane fare.
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