Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Dana Andrews, Linda Darnell, Sterling Hayden, Elroy 'Crazylegs' Hirsch, Geoffrey Toone
Genres: Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Passengers on an airplane become food-poisoned causing a major emergency. This film is what Airplane! is based upon.Runtime: 81 minFormat: DVD MOVIE Genre: DRAMA UPC: 085391145127 Manufacturer No: 114512
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Taut, underrated thriller with lots of action and suspense
Matthew G. Sherwin | last seen screaming at Amazon customer service | 04/24/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Zero Hour! is a rather well done thriller movie starring Dana Andrews and Linda Darnell. The acting is very convincing and the plot moves along at a very good pace. The cinematography and the choreography both work well in the scenes on the airplane when some of the passengers are ill.
The action begins when shell-shocked war veteran Lt. Ted Stryker (Dana Andrews) just gets his first real job; he hurries home to tell his wife who's been upset over Ted's failure to bounce back emotionally after a war incident when Ted's decision cost the lives of six of his men. Unfortunately, Ted's wife Ellen (Linda Darnell) has just left him, taking with her their son Joey (Raymond Ferrell). Ted rushes to the airport and he makes it there just in time to get onboard the same plane as Ellen and Joey are on; Ted hopes he can persuade Ellen to return to him.
Things worsen, as you may well already know. The passengers who ate fish for dinner become ill with some type of life threatening food poisoning; and that includes the two pilots flying the plane! There is a doctor on board (Geoffrey Toone) but it doesn't look like he can do much for the ill passengers unless someone can land that plane in time to get the ill people to a hospital.
After the crew and the doctor find out that Ted is the only one with any flying experience, they ask him to get that plane down safely. This poses a huge emotional challenge for Ted as all the nasty memories of the war incident come back and threaten to ruin Ted's slim chances for landing the plane. The tension heightens with Ted's wife Ellen is asked to sit in the co-pilot's seat to help Ted communicate by radio with ground crew below.
Where does the plot go from here? You may know; but I'm not including plot spoilers in my review. Will Ted be able to land the plane? Will Ellen and Ted clash as they have to deal with each other as Ted tries so hard to land that plane? What about the sick passengers--will they survive the food poisoning?
Unfortunately, the DVD comes with few extras. There's the theatrical trailer and you can choose languages and scenes but that's about it.
Overall, Zero Hour! has a taut plot and it held my attention very well. It's also interesting to note that this film was the basis for the comedy Airplane! all those years later; I never knew that. I highly recommend Zero Hour! for people who enjoy thrillers and classic movies as well.
Would you like fish or meat?
Samantha Kelley | USA | 05/29/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Zero Hour! was the basis for the comedy favorite Airplane!, which is the reason why it is considered a cult classic. In fact, many of the lines and scenerios from Airplane! are lifted straight from this movie. Zero Hour! is the story of an ex-fighter pilot Ted Stryker (Dana Andrews) who finds himself chasing his discontented wife (Linda Darnell) and child Joey (Raymond Ferrell) onto a commercial airplane. Once on the plane, he discovers that there are worse problems than just his failing marriage. There is a problem with the fish (thankfully, he chose meat) and the passengers are falling ill rather rapidly. It soon becomes a matter of seriousness when both pilots take ill and Ted is the only one with any flying experience.
The problem with this movie is the fact that it is supposed to be serious. There are so many ludicrous things in it that it is impossible to take seriously, but since it was not supposed to be funny, there are many long stretches where an audience can find itself bored. One of the best examples of this is the long "suspenseful" ending. Still, it is worth watching at least once for fans of Airplane!, just don't expect it to become your favorite."
If you liked "Airplane!" you must own this film!
P. Nailon | Orange, CA USA | 05/19/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I caught some of this movie on Turner Classic Movies one evening, during a day of tributes to movies and their remakes. This film was the inspiration (and the source for many lines) for the 1980 comedy spoof "Airplane!". Just like "Airplane!" "Zero Hour" is about a former war pilot who is forced to take over an airliner when half the passengers get sick from eating bad fish! (Yes, the choice for dinner was 'chicken or fish' just like "Airplane!"). My wife and I were practically in tears, because so many classic lines from "Airplane!" were lifted directly from this film, only the punchlines never came, which somehow made it funnier.
I'll be pre-ordering this one for purchase when it comes out!"
Chris Wilson | Dallas, TX | 09/03/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"You've got to love "Zero Hour!," the 1957 thriller that most likely played drive-ins before heading straight to the blue glow of late-night TV. It's been mimicked so many times you can recite the dialog.
Airplane! (Don't Call Me Shirley! Edition), the 1980 comedy classic, was the most famous spoof, and you see variations in Airport 1975, a few made-for-TV films with Peter Graves or William Shatner, and even Executive Decision (1996). One could argue "Zero Hour!" was the first disaster film, though John Wayne's windy opus The High and the Mighty (Two-Disc Collector's Edition) came out a few years before. The irony is "Zero Hour!," possessing a fraction of that film's glorious budget, is far more exciting. Arthur Hailey wrote "Zero Hour's" screenplay, a precursor to his bestselling novel Airport, which in turn led to the famous 1970 film Airport (Full Screen Edition).
"Zero Hour!" is a time capsule, representing a more innocent time in cinema entertainment. Today, the film would be loaded with CGI effects and include a few deaths, perhaps unlucky passengers sucked out of an emergency exit. Amazingly, everyone survives the day in "Zero Hour," though the bad fish will certainly test their intestinal fortitude. Dana Andrews (what a great, underrated actor he was) is a former pilot suffering from World War II shell-shock. He can't find a job and his wife (the beautiful Linda Darnell) is fed up with his mopey demeanor. She buys a plane ticket to leave town with their son. Dana races through the airport at the last second and catches a ride to try and save their marriage. On board, there's a nice dinner choice of meat or salmon. Well, the fish is bad and, as luck would have it, the pilots (including gridiron star Elroy "Crazylegs" Hirsch) hungrily consume it and are down for the count.
The plane is hovering on auto-pilot while bouncing through an especially violent thunderstorm when Dana, sweat-drenched with trembling hands, must take the controls and fly for the first time since the war. Naturally, his wife sits in the co-pilot seat while leaving their young son to battle diarrhea alone (hey, the kid has to grow up sometime). Back at the airport, they call in hotshot Captain Treleaven (the burly Sterling Hayden) who likes to hang at the local jazz clubs with swinging babies. He's going to have to talk Dana down, but not before delivering the classic line, "I guess I picked the wrong week to give up smoking." He's not the only one, as everyone in the control tower appears to have cigarettes dangling from their mouths at all times.
I suppose we could laugh at the incredible dialog between Dana and Linda as they sit in the bouncing cockpit trying to work out their marriage. And then those obligatory war flashbacks reducing Dana to a catatonic zombie, causing the plane to plummet nose-first towards snowy mountain tops. Let's not forget Sterling, juiced with a few martinis, screaming spittle into the radio for Dana to straighten up and fly right. The landing strip, of course, is covered with a thick fog bank. A doctor on board, looking for all the world like Paul Drake, announces they must immediately land or risk losing the passengers to the worst case of food poisoning in recorded history.
Sadly, I can't imagine kids watching this film today without rolling their eyes. I saw this as a kid myself, drenched in black and white, and was on the edge of my seat. Viewing "Zero Hour" again after all these years, one can't help but be overcome by how much the world has changed. On the plane, everyone wears a tie and politely goes about their business with the threat of an excruciatingly flaming death hovering over them. It's delightful transcendence with the great Dana Andrews - one of the most dependable professionals in screen history, a man who literally hitchhiked from Texas to California to become an actor - saving the day. "Zero Hour" is like home movies of my grandfather at Thanksgiving. Those days may be gone, but you can still watch the film to remember a more innocent time."