Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Burt Lancaster, Dean Martin, George Kennedy, Jean Seberg, Jacqueline Bisset
Directors: George Seaton, Henry Hathaway
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
One of the first of the big disaster films, this stodgy Hollywood product lumbers and creaks as it tries to sort out the various plot threads of Arthur Hailey's doorstop of a novel. Set at (what else?) a busy metropolitan ... more »
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The original airplane disaster movie
Daniel Jolley | Shelby, North Carolina USA | 08/02/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This first of the big airplane disaster movies features an outstanding cast, a host of distinctive characters, and a widely interesting web of subplots. While all things lead to disaster in the air, there is a much greater human component to Airport than what you will see in the disaster movies of today. Perhaps the human drama does not play out to perfection on one or two occasions, yet it all kept my rapt fascination even as I wondered why disaster had not yet struck an hour and a half into the film (which lasts for two hours and seventeen minutes). Airport (1970) picked up ten Academy Award nominations, including best picture, Helen Hayes walked away from it with her second Oscar, and a host of sequels followed in its wake, so obviously it did many things right.
The first half of the film actually seems like some kind of 1970s TV pilot. Mel Bakersfield (Burt Lancaster) is the airport manager working himself to death in order to keep the place running smoothly, campaigning when he can for expansion and modernization. His brother-in-law pilot Vernon Demerest (Dean Martin) assumes the role of Bakersfield's antagonist, criticizing airport measures for keeping the runways operational and the flights on schedule, especially on nights such as the one in question, when a major snowstorm is wreaking havoc on the ground as well as in the air. Bakersfield is locked in an unhappy marriage with a regal yet noxious social gadfly, facing the fact that the woman he now cares about may be leaving her job at the airport for a better opportunity elsewhere. Demerest has some kind of marriage of convenience to Bakerfield's sister, and he is carrying on with a lovely and suddenly pregnant stewardess (they still called them stewardesses back in 1970) played by the engaging Jacqueline Bisset. Then you have the heavy of the group, Joe Patroni (George "If it's an airplane movie, I'm in it" Kennedy), the only man for the job of getting an airplane stuck in the snow out of the way of the main landing strip. Helen Hayes plays a delightfully entertaining serial stowaway, and while she is naturally fantastic in her role, the size and importance of her part would not seem to merit the Best Actress award she received for her performance. About the time you start looking for Aaron Spelling's name to come up in the closing credits, we are finally introduced to a nervous fellow putting together an attache case of explosives. He is presented in the most sentimental of lights, and one can't help but feel sorry for him and for the rash decision he has made, nor can one do anything but curse the otherwise forgettable character who plays the dumbest airplane passenger in history.
Eventually, the plane takes off for Rome with both the stowaway and the bomber on board; soon thereafter, puzzle pieces begin to fall into place, and the pilots, aware of the danger, try to turn around and head for home. Their safe return faces two major obstacles: the bomber on board and the stuck airplane jutting out on the only landing strip they can safely attempt to land on through the roaring blizzard. Don't expect a lot of special effects or outrageous acts of unrealistic heroics (although there is a priest who delivers a most unorthodox and intensely satisfying blessing to the aforementioned dumbest airplane passenger on earth). What happens is presented very well, but the real drama lies in the characters' relationships. I am a huge Dean Martin fan, and I thought the man delivered a terrific dramatic performance in this movie, standing equally beside the likes of the legendary Lancaster, Bisset, and Hayes. The story may seem to develop slowly for those used to or expecting quick and impressive action and special effects, but this movie follows the old creed that there can be no real tragedy unless the audience knows and cares about the characters."
A+ DVD for the GoodTimes
Robert E. Rodden II | Peoria, IL. United States | 06/17/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I'm going to do something I thought I'd never do; give GoodTimes Video an A+ for this DVD. They took a step into the 20th century for their Thirtieth Anniversary DVD release of Airport. I held onto my old Airport VHS tape well after I stepped up to DVDs, because no one had released a widescreen DVD of the classic disaster film. GoodTimes had earlier released a DVD of Airport, but it was in standard aspect ration, so I passed on it. Then last week, there it was, Airport, WIDESCREEN, it said. And when I picked it up to look at the features on the back, I couldn't believe my eyes. GoodTimes not only released it in widescreen, but in anamorphic widescreen, AND in Dolby surround. And the price is more than perfect.You get no extras, just the movie. But it's beautiful, and it's the original, shown for the first time as it was on the big screen in perhaps thirty years.If you love classic films, then this movie is probably on your list of must-haves. This is not a perfect film, but it works. From Dean Martin's better than average performance, to Helen Hayes' Oscar winning portrayal of a fiesty trickster that sneaks onto planes. By today's standards the plot may seem to move slowly, but if you view it in it's 70's context, it's actually more like a roller coaster ride that takes off at a slow glide, tops a hill, and flies down the other side into a fairly tense climax. Don't be afraid of this DVD. For ten bucks you could get a real crappy DVD. But in this case, you strike gold. Let's hope this is a new and lasting trend for GoodTimes DVDs. Low prices, good movies. GoodTimes."
The Mother of all Airport films is the best one !
Trent Nickson | 01/30/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Airport is surprisingly faithful to Arthur Hailey's book, with regards to the screenplay. Jacqueline Bisset is perfectly cast as a stewardess, as is Helen Hayes as the stowaway passenger. Van Heflin and Maureen Stapleton share many poignant moments, and a little seen Barbara Hale rounds out the shining stars very well. While I have seen this movie called "slow and plodding", you actually get quite involved with all the characters and know about their motivation before the crucial scene in the air where it all comes to pass. Of course, this huge success at box office has been let down by a... DVD release - it's in Pan & Scan. Why anyone would do this on a DVD is beyond me. Also, it's lacking a lot of extra features that a film of this calibre should have on a DVD. Regardless, the film is an awesome piece of entertainment, faithful to the novel (without the "boring parts") and is supurbly acted by a stellar cast. It deserved to be the runaway worldwide success it was."
Classic disaster film, mixed quality DVD- 4 * movie, 3 * DVD
Rob T. | NJ | 01/28/1999
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I'll admit it: Airport is a guilty pleasure of mine. It's a classic disaster film, spiritual father to all from the Poseidon Adventure to the present day. We learn the stories of the people aboard a bomb-laden Rome bound flight, and those on the ground fighting a blizzard and blocked runway to get them home. Characters are a little thin, a little soap-opera-y, but better than many modern films. Helen Hayes in particular, is terrific in her Oscar winning role. The DVD is of mixed quality, a nice presentation of an un-remastered copy of the film. Some dirt and scratches are evident, but color and sharpness are fairly good. Screen aspect shifts, usually cropped pan & scan, but occasionally letter-boxed to preserve some wider shots. Film length is misstated on the box, at 136 minutes, not the 91 listed. Recommended for all disaster fans."