Flying commercial has never been so exciting!
Danger in the air as a bomb, a mid-air collision, an ocean crash-landing and a missile attack bring all kinds of trouble to 1970s air travellers.
And you thought today’s commercial flights were fraught with difficulty due to Covid-19 or because you had to leave your moisturiser at security?
THAT TRANSLATES INTO?
The movie that started the whole 1970s disaster-movie cycle.
Up in the air, Captain Dean Martin (cool!) and stewardess Jacqueline Bisset flirt over the in-flight meals while, on the ground, Burt Lancaster butches it up as a snowstorm closes down his airport.
An exploding bomb on Martin’s very bright and shiny 707 brings them all together in a fraught "Will they, won’t they crash?" finale.
Actually quite gripping, though very, very long, and actually won an Oscar, don’t you know.
Airport 1975 (1975)
A little plane crashes into a much bigger plane (a Boeing 747, photographed here with such loving care that the movie is practically a commercial for the thing), leaving cross-eyed stewardess Karen Black to bring the big bird down.
Charlton Heston is in the Burt Lancaster role, Helen Reddy plays a singing nun (yes!) and it’s all rather exciting.
Funnier than Airplane!, which is essentially a pretty affectionate partial reimagining of this movie and camp classic Zero Hour!
Airport '77 (1977)
Another 747 filled with businessmen on a private party collides with an oil rig and goes to the bottom of the ocean. Will the survivors be found in time? Will some of them drown?
In this slow, slow movie do we really care?
Jack Lemmon fixes his jaw and does it for the money, and check out the Navy Seals once they turn up to bring the plane to the surface. It’s like the Village People. On water.
In very tight shorts.
Camp and dull.
Concorde: Airport '79 (1979)
Utter nonsense, partially redeemed by the Concorde of the title, which is sleek, fast and the best thing in this.
Some sort of rouge state terrorists, or something, plot to bring down le Concorde as it flies to the Moscow Olympics (huh?). Sylvia Kristel is a stewardess (possibly as a result of some mix up in casting), George Kennedy is in the pilot’s seat chewing on a cigar, and the model work is risibile.
THE BEST OF THE LOT IS?
Controversially, it has to be Airport 1975.
OK, so it’s pretty silly and the dialogue appears to have been written by a class of primary school children, but the 747 in jeopardy storyline does the business, the whole thing is put together with genuine skill and, damn it, you will applaud when that big old bird finally comes down to earth (without anyone dying in the process).
AND, OH DEAR, THE WORST?
It should be Airport '79: The Concorde, simply because it’s so shoddily put together; models on strings, out of focus back projection and so-called actors doing their best to get their lines out without laughing.
However, the Concorde just looks great. Enough said.
Which means the prize goes to Airport '77.
Corporate types? Waiting to be rescued on a soggy carpet?
And they’ve run out of champagne in the galley?
It’s hardly edge of your seat stuff, is it?