A Live Blog
1:17 As disaster movie openers go, anything that promises me both snow and Dean Martin is already kind of winning. Also: Burt Lancaster! Jean Seberg! Jacqueline Bissett!
2:37 A guy named Don W. Weed worked on this film. I’m going to immaturely assume I know what work he did based solely on his name.
3:40 The music is relentlessly jaunty.
4:30 Snow is wildly blowing around past the control tower windows. There are a lot of super-realistic snow effects happening, people! It forces an airplane to pull over on the runway. This is going to be a weather-related disaster movie and weather plus airplanes equals awesome.
9:42 There are a lot of interpersonal problems being laid down. I don’t really know who anybody is so basically there are two dudes in charge of digging the sidelined plane out and both their wives want them at home instead of at work. One of the dudes works with a hot blonde administrator. And somebody else is concerned about media coverage of protestors. I don’t even know what they’re protesting. Weather? Air travel? Either way, that’s where we are with plot.
12:12 Dean Martin! He’s a disgruntled pilot. I bet a disgruntled pilot who sings jazzy songs in clubs at night, though.
13:25 Ginger said Dean Martin is being an asshole. He is but by god he’s Dean Martin! He can be whatever he wants. "When the moon / hits your eye / like some kinda asshole guy..."
14:41 So Deano is totally cheating on his wife with a young little air hostess. He is kind of an asshole, I guess. But he’s also Dean Martin. If he started singing ‘Sway’ right now I’d still melt. I’d just call him an asshole once the song was finished.
16:56 Somehow the two plane-extraction dudes are talking on car phones. Are car phones a thing the 70s had?
19:11 This argument between Burt Lancaster and his wife is full of visual flashbacks explaining the entirety of their disgruntled married history. They argue a lot. And attend a lot of society dinners.
22:30 I think a little old lady was just busted for being a stowaway? She can’t afford tickets so she just walks onto airlines and flies. I don’t quite understand... are there no security checks? Or ticket checks? Or assigned seats? Also, what kind of disaster movie is this?
22:34 Answer: the boring kind.
28:48 Blonde administrator (who is quite cool) is I think sleeping with Burt Lancaster? Or wanting to? She also wants a job where there’s no snow. Solidarity, blonde administrator! Me too.
33:18 Who is this guy? Fat smoking man in a dingy apartment with weapons is making a bomb. I don’t know what’s going on but basically everybody who’s married shouldn’t be and everybody who works at the airline hates snow and all the passengers are trying scams. And now there’s a bomb.
37:04 Bomb guy is a down-on-his-luck husband who wants to “provide better” for his wife. Cue violins.
39:20 Plane-extraction dude just said “let’s get going - I got a beautiful dame waitin for me at home” and grammar aside, that’s disaster movie code for “I’m never going to get home”. Don’t ever talk about loved ones you’re in a rush to get back to unless you’re Bruce Willis.
43:36 We’re getting a 1970s “the future of airlines” talk now. 500 seater jumbo jets! Noise pollution! What about no more smoking in airports, that’s the real concern - put out your cigarette, Burt.
49:00 Air hostess is pregnant with married Dean Martin’s baby and she wants to have it. He obviously doesn’t want that. And there’s a very 70s oboe-heavy soundtrack underscoring the dramatic tension. This scene is either about to turn into a supper club that serves pork chops or a porn, judging by the music.
52:21 The only disasters thus far are romantical ones and I am getting bored. I have low patience for disaster movies that don’t involve actual disasters.
57:12 Disaster tally: still no disaster unless you count the total annihilation of my stash of Turkish Delight.
59:18 Surprising nobody with a brain, the scammy little old lady scammed away from her watcher and is illegally boarding the same flight to Rome that Dean Martin is co-pilot of, pregnant air hostess is working, and bomb guy is booked onto.
1:06:01 Why yes, stranger seated beside me, I would like a random pill from your stash to enhance my flight. I feel like the 70s were awesome.
1:07:15 Of course scammy little old lady is seated beside bomb guy.
1:08:10 I’m not sure what’s up with the special effects but the plane, moments after taking off, appears to be flying through outer space.
1:13:16 The pilot is smoking a pipe in the cockpit like a total boss.
1:18:02 Angry wife of Burt Lancaster appeared at his office in the middle of a disaster movie to talk divorce because of course. Timing is everything in these kinds of situations.
1:21:28 Blonde administrator and Burt are onto the scent of bomb guy now. Which, not for nothing, but he’s already on the plane with the stowaway they lost so I’m going ahead and saying they’re not running a very tight ship here.
1:23:16 Can we talk about how they have zero proof the guy has a bomb other than “he held onto his attaché case too tightly” and he “seemed nervous”? CSIs they aren’t.
1:25:05 Though I guess the musical cues are a bit of a giveaway.
1:26:54 “What did your husband do in the army?”
“And in his work he used explosives?”
Um... what sort of demolition expert doesn’t use explosives?
1:28:58 Burt, blonde administrator, and plane-extraction guy are all having a frank discussion about exactly what happens if bomb guy explodes his bomb - detailed descriptions of what parts of the plane will be blown out, what will get sucked out the hole, who will die. If you dislike flying, skip this part of the movie. If you dislike flying, why are you even WATCHING this movie?
1:33:05 The plane is doing a slow turn back to Chicago! I repeat, we are engaged in a slow turn! This disaster movie is amping up now.
1:36:34 The flight crew has enlisted the help of the scammy old lady in distracting bomb guy. Pregnant hostess grabbed the attaché case but bomb guy snatched it back.
1:37:47 Dean Martin just said “bomb” to bomb guy aboard the crowded plane. That is definitely the best way to calm a tense situation. It works for him, though, because he’s Dean Martin.
1:39:09 By which I mean bomb guy blew himself up in one of the lavatories, knocked pregnant hostess unconscious, and sucked a lot of random crap out of the hole.
1:40:50 Dean Martin is walking the aisle in an unpressurized plane taking hits off oxygen masks as he passes. Like a boss.
1:43:14 There’s a giant tear crossing the ceiling from the hole location which essentially means the plane may lose its tail. Just like Lost!
1:49:28 Pregnant hostess is in bad shape.
1:50:56 Dean Martin is rattling cages over the radio. He’s pissed and he’s not taking crap from anybody on the ground.
1:52:39 So here’s where the stuck plane on the ground is a problem - it’s blocking the only runway long enough to accommodate the bomb-damaged plane. Plane-extraction dude is working like crazy so Burt doesn’t have to shove a perfectly undamaged plane out of the way with an army of snowplows so a perfectly damaged plane can land. Is it wrong of me to hope for the snowplow option? Just for purposes of visual entertainment. We’ve been very light on disaster thus far. Even the explosion was kind of lacklustre.
1:57:47 Plow option is a go!
1:58:29 Plane-extraction guy refuses to cut the plane’s engines to accommodate the snowplow army so now the plows are advancing on a full throttled plane.
1:58:50 Plane is clear! Plow option is a no go. *sigh*
1:59:33 Um.... plane-extraction guy just tossed his lit cigar over his shoulder onto the floor of the cockpit. LIKE A BOSS.
2:00:32 Meanwhile, back in the air, the tailies are about to crash on a different part of the island.
2:01:36 Sadly the tail is yet intact and this continues to be the most plodding, interpersonal, non-disastrous disaster movie ever filmed for something involving a stowaway, a bomb, and snowstorms.
2:03:13 Well the music is exciting, anyway.
2:03:55 The pilot lands the plane ridiculously smoothly, really.
2:04:31 And it looks like a near-miss at the end of the runway with the wing almost clipping the fence but... no. Nothing happened. The plane stopped in time.
2:06:11 Blonde administrator’s coat is gorgeous. Coat envy.
2:09:18 The passengers all disembark safely (minus bomb guy), pregnant hostess is taken to hospital, the hole isn’t really that big, and everything ends sort-of happily. Happily Ever After, you guys! It was barely even a disaster. It more like A Series of Unfortunate Mid-Air Events That Resolved Sort of Tidily (Except for That One Guy Who Blew Himself Up). With Dean Martin.