Saturday, September 29, 2012

AIRPORT '77 (1977)

After falling off a little bit with Part 2, the third AIRPORT movie kicks it back into gear with an improved all-star cast and a mile a minute story of a rich dude (Jimmy Stewart) who is flying a group of family and friends (along with a cargo bay full of priceless paintings) down to Miami on his private plane piloted by Jack Lemmon and Robert Foxworth.

While the rich people (Olivia de Havilland, Joseph Cotten, Christopher Lee, Buck Rogers, Darren McGavin, Kathleen Quinlan, M. Emmet Walsh, etc.) are schmoozing it up, some hijackers put knockout gas in the air system and take over the plane.  Then they go under the radar and off course in order to land it on an island and steal the paintings, but in doing so they accidentally clip an oil rig hidden in the fog and the plane goes down, down, down underneath the waves, mermaids wavin', wavin' to mermen, wavin' sea fans, sea horses sailin', dolphins wailin', red snappers snappin', clam shells clappin', muscles flexin', flippers flippin', boys in bikinis, girls on surfboards, everybody's rockin', everybody's fruggin', twistin' round the fire, havin' fun, but they're not having fun cause the plane comes to rest on the edge of a giant underwater cliff.  Now...not only do rescuers have to locate the plane they have to get them out before the plane falls into the abyss.

AIRPORT '77 is pretty low on the Believability Scale, but it's still fun.  I especially like the scenes with Jack Lemmon being a action star.  It was pretty cool seeing him running around, tumbling, swimming and barking orders at people.  And, of course, Olivia de Havilland, Joseph Cotten, Jimmy Stewart, M. Emmet Walsh and Christopher Lee are always great.  George Kennedy returns, but he really doesn't do very much.

Word around the campfire is there was a much longer version shown of television back in the day.  I've never seen it, but I'd love to check it.

[Updated 10/17/2023: Word around the campfire is I fianlly saw the 182-minute "long version". Added some screenshots. Also, two newspaper snippets mentioning the TNT broadcast of the long version on June 15, 1997. Oh yeah, the added scenes are definitely cool to see, but I can understand why they were edited out. The only scene with dialogue that I think should have stayed is the brief scene with Jimmy Stewart and Robert Hooks.]

Part 1 - Airport - (1970)
Part 2 - Airport 1975 (1974)
Part 4 - Concorde...Airport '79 (1979)

Look at the size of that laserdisc player!!!

Inspiration for the cake scene in the "November Rain" video?

Screenshots from the "long version" television broadcast: