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
Unusually, the Universal Pictures logo animation is not shown at the beginning of this movie...it's instead shown at the end. The in-credit notice "UNIVERSAL presents" replaced the usual opening logo. See more »
TV prints and early videotape pan and scan versions have alterations beyond simple pan and scan. On some of the multi image scenes, instead of panning to the image best serving the scene, they substitute a full screen version of that segment that was originally part of the multi image shot. Like the scene where Burt Lancaster is talking to his wife and 2 daughters all at once. The theatrical version(and present wide screen DVD) maintained images of his wife, him and both daughters separately(recent pan and scan editions temporarily letterbox or otherwise modify the theatrical composition). On the early TV and video versions, only the person talking is seen in a full screen shot used for that multi image shot(showing more image information then when it was composed as part of the theatrical multi image shot). Also, on the split screen shot of Dean Martin in a cab and Jackie Bisset getting out of the shower, the split screen is recomposed for 4:3, cropping each image to better fit. See more »
I recently watched "Airport" on TCM. It was the first time I had seen it in its original widescreen format since it came out in 1970. I was surprised at how well it has held up with the passage of time. Although there have been disaster movies from the beginning of cinema in the late 19th century and one that dealt specifically with an airplane in danger ("The High and the Mighty"), this was the film that launched the modern disaster craze that produced "The Towering Inferno," "The Poseidon Adventure," and countless others including "The Day After Tomorrow." The hilarious spoof "Airplane" which poked fun at the clichés and pretentiousness of the films did much to discredit the genre until recently.
"Airport" was based on the popular best seller by Arthur Hailey. Although over two hours long, the movie moves and the viewer never gets bored. The stellar cast does an exceptional job with a standout performance by the legendary Helen Hayes. The ending is both happy and sad. So it does not cop out on several key themes of the story. Many of the roles, such as George Kennedy's Joe Patroni, are played lightly and this adds zest to the performances. When the script begins to get syrupy a new element of emergency is thrown in to pick it up and go.
Forget all the cliché-ridden disaster flicks you have seen since "Airport." You will be entertained and not feel cheated when the closing credits appear.
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