Airport

There was some kind of incident with the police pursuing a suspect as I was finishing my shift, and so I took a detour to my bus stop on the way to having my hamburger.  When I got home, I watched “Airport,” the rather foolish disaster movie from 1970.  The movie would serve as the template for later, more ridiculous disaster movies in the decade.  The most notable aspect of the film is the cast.  They assembled people like Burt Lancaster, Dean Martin, Jean Seberg, Jacqueline Bisset, George Kennedy, Helen Hayes, Van Heflin, Maureen Stapleton, Dana Wynter, Barbara Hale, Gary Collins, and Jessie Royce Landis for the cast.  I kept thinking that I might be uneasy with Dean Martin as my pilot, given his reputation for drinking.  The dumbest character in the story is the passenger who gave the attache case back to Van Heflin and who made things mean worse by yelling out that he had a bomb.  He reminded me of that Cubs fan who tried to catch the foul ball.  Jacqueline Bisset was the person who really got hurt, getting the broken arm and probably becoming blind in the right eye.  It seemed almost like it was punishment for getting pregnant and being the most beautiful woman on the plane.  She did make the mistake of getting too rough with Helen Hayes.  Part of her fate is to lie down with her face covered for the rest of the movie.  It might not have been the actual Jacqueline Bisset there for the last part of the movie.  Maureen Stapleton went too far in expressing the tragedy at the end, which was typical of the overly serious cast.  The exception was Helen Hayes, who was more or less the comic relief.  Her antics were a reminder of how long ago this movie took place, in a time long before 9/11 and stricter airport security.  This is all heading to a predictable ending, although the attempts to create suspense with the shots of the damaged structure of the plane were amusing.  We still don’t want to see Jacqueline Bisset and Helen Hayes to perish in an intense ball of fire.  I didn’t have as much sympathy for the kid who commented on the constellations or the passenger who was the idiot.  The critics and Lancaster himself thought the movie was terrible, but it was a masterpiece compared to some of the disaster movies that were inflicted upon us later during the 1970s.  There is still a certain amount of fun in watching this movie, as long as you don’t take it too seriously.

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