Wednesday, 6 February 2008

A Successful Disaster

I was browsing through HMV the other day, seeing what special offers they had, and came home with the box set of "Airport" (1969), "Airport 1975", "Airport 1977" and "Airport 1979" (only £15). I've never seen any of these films. I've seen some of the imitations and spoofs, but never these films. I've always imagined they wouldn't be very good.

So the other night I watched the first one. I was very pleasantly surprised. Unlike, say, "The Poseidon Adventure" or "Towering Inferno", there's a lot of (intentional) fun - the old biddy who's pretty much a professional stowaway, for example. And it was nice to see Myrna Loy and Jessie Royce Landis.

The disaster is caused by a man trying to pull off an insurance fraud. He takes out life insurance then gets on a transatlantic flight carrying a bomb, intent on detonating it once they're over the water.

He is spotted by an eagle-eyed customs official, but by the time they find out he's just bought insurance, the plane is in the air. However, they get the insurance company to void the policy, and tell the desperate man that, but he blows himself up anyway, taking the toilet with him.

Since the idea of a plane load of people on an 8 hour flight with no toilet doesn't appeal, not to mention the problems caused by having a large hole in the fuselage, they decide they'd better make an emergency landing back where they started (Chicago). But, just for a change, it's snowing there and in addition they've got a plane stuck on the runway.

The would-be suicide frauster could have saved everyone a lot of trouble if he'd seen "Double Indemnity" - he could have just thrown himself off a train. But presumably he couldn't afford to go to the cinema because he was saving all his money for a plane ticket.

He got the explosives for his bomb from his last job on a building site. You'd have thought that the easiest thing of all would have been to stage some kind of industrial "accident", but unfortunately he couldn't stick any job long enough to manage that.

One interesting thing I noticed was how little flying appeared to have changed in the last 40 or so years. Other than airport security, of course. Hopefully someone with a briefcase full of dynamite would get stopped sooner...


Bee said...


be back.

Bee said...

I've never seen any of those movies but I'm surprised that bomb didn't take out more of the plane. Couldn't they make it more believable? Kind of like my favorite show Lost.

SPEAKING of snow! It's really crappy out there right now so that part they got right.

Tracy said...

I've never seen them but my husband is always talking about how great they are. Now if you could just review the other ones, I can tell him that I've seen them and maybe he'll leave me alone..;)

Brian o Vretanos said...


If the bomb had completely blown the plane to smithereens it wouldn't be much of a "disaster" film ;-)


Well, according to IMDb and Leonard Maltin, the third one's not bad, the second one is rubbish, and the last one is dire. But I'll have more detail when I've watched them...

Jean Knee said...

I watched airport 77 around the time it came on tv but I don'r remember any of it so really it's like I haven't seen em at all.

Gawd, the excitement that must be building up in yer house.....

Brian o Vretanos said...

Jean Knee:

I'm easily excited.

Though Airport 77's got Jack Lemmon, Jimmy Stewart, Joe Cotton and Christopher Lee in it. So I am looking forwards to that one. I've got to watch the 75 one first, though...

Jean Knee said...

mmm hmmm

Jean Knee said...

Ha, you're asleep and now and can insult you with no rebukes

crap, that's the wrong word isn't it

you know what I mean

Brian o Vretanos said...

Jean Knee:

You could. But I'm sure you'd never do that ;-)

Jean Knee said...

and I didn't, no thanks needed

Anonymous said...

Hmm. Once I dig my minivan out of the drive I need to run to the video store. I think I get 3 free rentals this week so maybe I will check them out :-)

Gotta be better than watching Lost! ;-)

Jean Knee said...

Bee says we're invited over for gin and tonics. can you change it to frozen mudslides?

Brian o Vretanos said...


Certainly the first is worth it. Not sure about the others. Yet.

Jean Knee:

I've never been that keen on Gin. I don't think I've ever tried G + T. It would certainly be a good drink for Bee, since she gets bitten by deadly mosquittos.

Bee said...

I can just picture those little bastards lying in wait for summer to come and attack me!

Brian o Vretanos said...

Has anyone made a disaster film about deadly mosquittos?

I think we should have a go - we could make millions.

I'll direct it.

Bee can write the script.

Jean Knee can be the Artistic Director.

Chris can be producer.

Tracy can play the scientist, who whilst trying to save the planet is worried about her kids back home.

Ingrid can do the camera.

Dan can do the stunts.

Jean Knee said...

Can I also star in it and get sucked dry by a mosquito? then my body would be like a dried out mummy husk. yesss

Halloween you're so far away

Bee said...

If I write the script can I say who I want as the male lead?
3 guesses as to who it would be.

Brian o Vretanos said...


Well, that's usually the director's decision, but since you insist, of course I'll play the male lead ;-)