Airport (1970)

GEORGE SEATON

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBB

USA, 1970.  Universal Pictures, Ross Hunter Productions. Screenplay by George Seaton, based on the novel by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Music by .  Production Design by , .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  

What’s most laughable about this ridiculously soapy melodrama is the possibility that anyone took it seriously as “great drama” in 1970. Today, most of it is either cheesy or just plain fun, but as a thriller-in-the-air it pales in comparison to even the sub-standard fare (Turbulence) being made today. Of course, that doesn’t mean it is without merit; the all-star cast of ensemble characters is appealing and enjoyable, well cast with famous names who are the main reason you might be hooked into watching the whole thing. It takes place in a busy airport the night of a huge snowstorm, with weather threatening to clog up the runways while a pilot () struggles to decide between his bossy wife or chippy flight attendant mistress ().   Burt Lancaster is managing the airport and trying to keep everything under control, personally supervising the de-icing of a major jumbo jet while his assistant () tries to decide what to do about a perpetual stowaway passenger (Helen Hayes) who keeps sneaking onto airplanes without paying any fare. Trouble comes when disgruntled and unemployed Van Heflin decides to board a plane with a bomb that he means to commit suicide with while his bartender wife (Maureen Stapleton) wonders where their next meal is going to come from. If you can handle watching Days Of Our Air Miles, dive right in and have a great time!

Academy Award:  Best Supporting Actress (Helen Hayes)
Nominations: Best Picture; Best Supporting Actress (Maureen Stapleton); Best Adapted Screenplay; Best Cinematography; Best Art Direction; Best Costume Design; Best Film Editing; Best Sound; Best Original Score

Golden Globe Award:  Best Supporting Actress (Maureen Stapleton) (tie)
Nominations: Best Picture-Drama; Best Supporting Actor (George Kennedy); Best Original Score

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