(out of 5)
Hilarity reigns in this stupendously funny movie, an effective spoof of the airplane disaster movies (Airport, Airport ’75, Airport ’77, etc.) that flew across cinema screens all too frequently in the seventies. Julie Hagerty plays the wispy-voiced flight attendant who is in a jam when disastrous circumstances remove the key flight crew from the cockpit and leave her alone to fly the airplane. Thankfully, her ex-boyfriend (Robert Hays) was a fighter pilot in the war and, despite his psychological scars, might be able to help. That is, if the blow-up doll which serves as the “automatic pilot” would only get out of his seat. Jokes like having gas station attendants wiping down the windshield before takeoff or the intercom announcers fighting for the whole airport to hear are just the start of some classic gags, and this film hardly stops for a second between laughs (my personal favourite is the “let’s take a few pictures”). In a film full of gemlike performances, Lloyd Bridges steals the show as the air-traffic controller who goes back to drinking, taking amphetamines and sniffing glue in an effort to keep his head straight while trying to ensure the plane’s safe landing. Make sure you watch it twice so that you get all the stuff you missed the first around from laughing so much!
Cinematography by Joseph F. Biroc
Music by Elmer Bernstein
Production Design by Ward Preston
Costume Design by Rosanna Norton
Film Editing by Patrick Kennedy