Thursday, April 24, 2014

Airport 1975

Airport 1975, distaster film, 1975; D: Jack Smight, S: Charlton Heston, Karen Black, George Kennedy, Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., Susan Clark, Gloria Swanson, Sid Caesar

A passenger airplane takes off from Washington to Los Angeles. However, just as it was about to pass a small private jet, the pilot has a heart attack and flies and jet upwards and into the airplane cockpit. It causes a hole that kills two pilots, while one is injured and unable to fly. While on autopilot, one stewardess, Nancy, calls for help and instructions what to do. A military plane lowers Captain Murdock through the hole into the cockpit, and he is able to land the plane and save the passengers.

The sequel to the popular "Airport", "Airport 1975" rides only on the hype of the 70s disaster film genre that is defunct by today, and not on anything else, which makes it a weak example of the cinema of the 70s. The basic premise is implausible (a man in a private jet conveniently has a stroke that causes him to "accidentally" hit the Boeing 747; a hole in the cockpit presented here would have caused decompression on an airplane flying in high altitude...) and thus numerous events that are built around it end up equally as unconvincing, or just plain unintentionally comical. Why Charlton Heston accepted such an underdeveloped and weak role remains a mystery. However, it is fun to watch how some scenes inspired the Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker spoof "Airplane!" five years later, such as the nun playing a guitar, a little girl waiting for an organ transplant in the plane or the passenger who annoys other passengers with his endless babble. Other than that, there is little of interest in the story. "Airport 1975" is an example of the "dead epic/disaster film" - it wants to be huge, spectacular and massive, but just ends up stiff, pompous and lax.


No comments: