Skyjacked (Movie review)

It begins with a bomb threat on the lavatory’s mirror. It ends on a Soviet airfield. In between: action, romance and tension, in this movie that breathes the 1970s.

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Passengers boarding Global Airways Flight 502
Passengers boarding Global Airways Flight 502

It’s a scenario that’s played out countless times before: a madman hijacks an airliner and threatens the crew and passengers with a bomb if his demands are not met. Skyjacked, released in 1972, takes this idea and runs with it by placing an all-star cast at the mercy of a crazed Vietnam veteran who has a bone to pick with the U.S. Army. The result is an entertaining and technically competent film that, despite some shortcomings I’ll discuss later, is sure to please genre fans. As our story opens… Continue reading “Skyjacked (Movie review)”

Forgotten Classics (3 mini movie reviews)

Short reviews for three air disaster movie classics: Broken Journey, The Crowded Sky and Fate is the Hunter.

DC-6 prop plane posing as a jetliner in Fate is the Hunter
DC-6 prop plane posing as a jetliner in the movie Fate is the Hunter

There are many well-known air disaster movies. Airport and its sequels come instantly to mind, as does the Abrahams/Zucker Brothers genre parody Airplane! Here are three lesser known movies from earlier decades, when the air disaster genre was considered still to be in its infancy.  If you thought those air disaster stereotypes were old hat in 1970, wait until you see these.

Continue reading “Forgotten Classics (3 mini movie reviews)”

The High and the Mighty (Movie review)

A trans-Pacific flight suffers serious engine problems. It’s a struggle between pilot and co-pilot to bring the flight to a safe end.

Parked TOPAC DC-4

Considered by many to be the first “true” air disaster movie (predating Airport by a good sixteen years), William A. Wellman’s The High and the Mighty is a genuine classic. Written by renowned aviation scribe and former pilot Ernest K. Gann and starring such greats as John Wayne, Claire Trevor and Laraine Day, The High and the Mighty is as interesting and enjoyable today as it was in 1954. Continue reading “The High and the Mighty (Movie review)”

Rough Air: Danger on Flight 534 (Movie review)

AirJet flight 534 from London to Boston is crippled after its main cargo door is torn open inflight.

F/O Mike Hogan (Eric Roberts)

There are many films that start off well and seem promising, only to let you down halfway through as they fall into the same clichés and stereotypes we know all so well. Rough Air: Danger on Flight 534 is one such movie. There are some aspects of the story that are accurate and semi-believable, but the rest is the same, recycled garbage we have seen before in a hundred other air disaster flicks. Continue reading “Rough Air: Danger on Flight 534 (Movie review)”

Final Descent and The Glass Cockpit: movie and book

Comparison between the movie Final Descent and the book it was inspired from, The Glass Cockpit by Robert P. Davis.

ATC Screen showing IA19 and N54V

The book The Glass Cockpit was written by Robert P. Davis and first published in 1991. I first read The Glass Cockpit in 1995 when it was published as a condensed book by Reader’s Digest, here in Australia. The condensed version featured a few great illustrations by artist John Beswick. The Glass Cockpit would later appear as the feature film, Final Descent with the late Robert Urich, Annette O’Toole and John DeLancie. While I have not seen the film (nor own the actual book) I have read the condensed version a couple of times. Here is the synopsis. Continue reading “Final Descent and The Glass Cockpit: movie and book”