This last film in the 'Airport 'series ends fast - with an SST (supersonic transport); Concorde. Joe Patroni (George Kennedy) Murray deal with nuclear missiles being fired at the'speed-bird... See full summary »
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 »
Watching AIRPORT today is like watching a parody of the film because of all of the spinoffs that followed, including the hilarious AIRPLANE! And sometimes you have to wonder about the humor--especially the scene where the priest slaps a hysterical man across the aisle without even a glance at him.
But the sub-plots (and there are quite a few) hold together very well and at the center of all the suspense is a humorous plot involving a little old lady stowaway (Helen Hayes). Her interrogation scene with Jean Seberg is priceless and all the way through she shows a remarkable talent for scene-stealing. It's hard to watch anyone else when she's going through her paces.
The suspense build-up is slow but steady once the plane takes off in a snowstorm--and by the way, the snow effects are very realistic for a change--almost as though the film was shot in a real blizzard, which it probably wasn't.
This is well played by the entire cast--with the exception of Dean Martin who looks too casual even when the plane is making a final, desperate landing. He never gets inside his role as a pilot. Burt Lancaster doesn't do much with his character either--but everyone else shines. Maureen Stapleton is touching as the worried wife of the bomber (Van Heflin). Heflin was in his last film role here, looking rather flabby and worn but good as the paranoid bomber.
Too bad that two of the male leads gave less than adequate performances. It would have helped considerably to make us believe more in the overall tale. By today's standards, the film looks dated and a bit overwrought almost to the point of comic foolishness--but that's what we get for seeing all the subsequent 'Airport' films.
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