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A routine flight turns into a major emergency as passengers and crew succumb to food poisoning - is there anyone on board who knows how to fly a plane? If that sounds vaguely familiar, it's because 'Airplane' was a send-up of this forerunner of the 1970s disaster movie..Written by
Michael Brooke <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Linda Darnell, who played Ellen Stryker, was actually married to an airline pilot in real life at the time the movie was filmed. See more »
The stricken airliner was to land at Vancouver, British Columbia. At one point it was indicated on a map that the Vancouver airport was bordered by dense clusters of apartment buildings and various other civilian structures in close proximity. In reality, the Vancouver airport is situated on an island at the mouth of the Fraser River, is bordered all around by water, and has no such apartment complexes or other civilian structures anywhere nearby. See more »
Ted, that was probably the lousiest landing in the history of this airport. But there are some of us here, particularly me, who would like to buy you a drink and shake your hand. We're coming over.
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"Our survival hinges on one thing - finding someone who not only can fly this plane, but didn't have fish for dinner."
It's like déjà vu all over again. Until last night, I had never seen Zero Hour!, but I feel as if I've seen it a dozen times. I knew that some of Airplane! (the sick girl and singing nun for example) came from Airport, but I had no idea just how much was taken from Zero Hour! Airplane! is like some weird comedic remake or re-imaging of Zero Hour! - and they nailed it right down to the exclamation mark. And it's not just ideas or concepts that were taken from Zero Hour!, entire sections of dialogue were lifted and used in Airplane! I'm shocked to discover that lines like "I guess I picked the wrong week to give up smoking" weren't written especially for Airplane! The dialogue is so similar that when little Joey visits the cockpit and the captain asks if he's ever been in cockpit before, I kept waiting for him to ask "Have you ever seen a grown man naked?" as he does in Airplane! Even some of the performances in Airplane! are eerily reminiscent of Zero Hour! Take Robert Stack in the role originally done by Sterling Hayden. Amazing stuff! The funny thing to me about this example, however, is that Hayden is actually more intense in the role than Stack could have dreamed.
Giving a rating to Zero Hour! is difficult. Even if you've only seen Airplane! once (and I've probably seen it a couple of dozen times over the years), it's all but impossible to keep a straight face (Who am I kidding? It's impossible not to downright laugh out loud.) when Johnny goes to make coffee or when Stryker straights sweating buckets behind the controls of the plane. It's impossible to take the melodrama of Zero Hour! seriously. So I don't know how I would rate the movie had I never seen Airplane! I would like to think I would have still enjoyed the experience and would have formed a similar opinion. But I have seen Airplane!, so I have that built in bias. In the end, because the movie kept me entertained (for whatever reason) throughout it's brief 81 minute runtime, I'm rating Zero Hour! a 7/10.
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