Maury Dann (Rip Torn, in one of his most memorable performances) is a not-so-nice country-Western singer. He ruthlessly manipulates everyone around him to suit his selfish needs...he even ... See full summary »
A strange series of solar flares proves fatal for inhabitants of the Earth, except for the fortunate few who are somehow immune to the effects. Animals go insane and human beings turn to ... See full summary »
John Llewellyn Moxey
George O'Hanlon Jr.,
Early in 1939 Sir Robert Hunter (Peter O'Toole) takes aim at Adolf Hitler (Michael Sheard) with a high powered rifle, but the shot misses its mark. Captured and tortured by the Gestapo and ... See full summary »
While on the brink of a military confrontation with China, Air Force One crashes in the desert, killing the President. This brings Vice-President Kermit Madigan to power who, having been left in the dark by the president, must now rely on his predecessor's aides to guide him. But they have markedly different viewpoints and hidden agendas. Will he blunder his way into a nuclear exchange with the Chinese?Written by
Filmed in 1971 but delayed for airing by ABC because that was the year of President Richard Nixon's trip to China and they didn't want to show the Chinese as villains. See more »
While the President is not aboard Air Force One when it crashes, the plane uses the call sign Air Force One instead of the correct call sign SAM 26001. This is because the flight is a cover for the President's actual, top secret, destination on another aircraft. See more »
Excellent cast, good filming, unfortunate oversights in plot
The film turns on whether or not the President of the United States is, in fact, dead or simply missing. A number of excellent performances including by Arthur Kennedy and Peter Graves. Some filming was done in DC and shows well - other filming was done in LA and this unfortunately is quite apparent. This is a serious film and merits the attention of a more attentive audience as it involves clues and procedures. That makes it all the more disappointing that the procedure by which the Vice President becomes Acting President afforded by the 25th Amendment is not mentioned. Instead, there is no reference to any Constitutional mechanism and even talk of the Chief Justice being summoned should the the Vice President elect to swear himself in to office (!). This amateurish, inexcusable oversight ruins what is otherwise a solid plot carefully and faithfully executed in the filming and performances. It is particularly hard to accept given that filming occurred in 1970-1971, just 3 years after the 25th Amendment dealing with exactly this topic was ratified. That Amendment itself came into force at the time it did in large part due to the assassination of President Kennedy and the swearing into office at Love Field of President Johnson in 1963 - a historic and tragic event that ought to have been on the minds of the script writers. Because the film asks us to take it very seriously and doesn't, in return, provide a Constitutionally-accurate plot with at least a mention of the then-new 25th Amendment, it does not fully succeed in its aspirations as a thriller. Fortunately, (mostly) good acting helps keep the suspense alive. Other quibbles are the fake, semi-British Hollywood accents affected by Rip Torn (whose performance is otherwise bang-on) and Louise Sorel (who unfortunately plays a damsel in semi-distress with a case of the nerves rather than the competent lone female reporter in a man's world that would have been much more credible for the setting). Mercedes McCambridge is denied a larger role which is unfortunate given the strength of her very limited appearances.
Interestingly, the Wikipedia entry cites a source as listing this film as having been released a 'period piece' ( meaning that it was released 2 years after having been filmed, and thus was dated ) - it is amazing how, in 2019, we would not consider, from a technological point of view, at least, something from 2017 to be so dated as to be considered a period piece, such was the pace of change in fashion, music and automotive styles at the time. Interestingly, the plot does mimic Nixon's subsequent-to-filming trip to China in 1972 in which the U.S. played China and Russia off of each other.
A worthwhile film for anyone interested in the era, whether the politics, the contemporary technology/automotive advancement of the day or just the great cast assembled.
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