Classic Film Guide

Airport (1970)

O.K., so it's not a very good movie. But, it is the film that popularized the modern star studded disaster movie, and for that we should be grateful? Well, at least it served as the basis for the hilarious spoof - Airplane! (1980). This thriller, about a bomber on an airplane, was based on a best selling novel by Arthur Hailey. It features Burt Lancaster (the airport manager), Dean Martin (as the pilot, that ought to tell you something), Jacqueline Bisset (a beautiful stewardess that would distract anyone), George Kennedy (ground control to "Major Tom"?), Van Heflin, Maureen Stapleton, Barry Nelson, Lloyd Nolan, Barbara Hale, Gary Collins, Jessie Royce Landis, even Virginia Grey. With all the sex and drama, it plays like Peyton Place (1957) in the air. Helen Hayes (as a dowdy, stowaway passenger) won her second Oscar (Supporting, competing against Stapleton) 39 years after her first for The Sin of Madelon Claudet (1931)! Nominated for a Best Picture Oscar, its screenplay (by its director George Seaton, Miracle on 34th Street (1947)), Art Direction-Set Decoration, Cinematography, Costume Design, Editing, Sound, and Score.

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