Friday, June 25, 2010

THE HIGH AND THE MIGHTY (1954)

In the first scene we learn that John Wayne is the World's Greatest Pilot, that is until he wrecked a plane and killed his wife and kid! Then we're painfully introduced to all of the passengers. You got the old slut, the dorky couple, the super-in-love newlyweds, the drunk scientist and a bunch more. After an eternity they take off from Hawaii to California.  Many minutes of wonderfully painfully overly sentimental back stories are then told about all of the passengers until you just want vomit.  I loved every cheesy second of it.  Suddenly one of the engines explodes and punctures a gas tank! Do they have enough fuel to make it to land or are they gonna have to ditch it in the drink?!

Maybe this was considered serious stuff back in 1954, but it hasn't aged well at all. Let me give you an example: right before the engine conks out, Sidney Blackmer stands up and confronts another man in front of everybody about banging his wife, he then pulls out a gun and threatens to kill the other dude! One of the passengers (John Qualen) jumps the armed gentleman and disarms him. A little while later the crazy dude apologizes to Qualen, so he gives the guy's gun back!

If you like campy films as much as I do then you need to watch THE HIGH AND THE MIGHTY. It's a blast! Also I'm no film historian but I'm pretty sure that this film, the AIRPORT films and ZERO HOUR! were the main inspirations for AIRPLANE!
I guess they spelled "missile" differently back in 1954.