No matter what kind of movies you prefer to watch on the usual, we all seem to have our own guilty pleasures. Some of us like films that are somewhat questionable, such as Twilight or Catwoman. However, others partake in the more absurd, films such as Snakes on a Plane, Scary Movie, and The Naked Gun. Though, if you want a mix of both, and something a bit more serious with an ensemble cast to make it all the more fun, look no further than Airport.
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The Movie Review
The story takes place at Lincoln International Airport in Chicago, where the airport manager, Mel Bakersfield (Burt Lancaster), is struggling to keep the airport running smoothly amidst a snowstorm. Meanwhile, a bomber (Van Heflin) sneaks onto a passenger plane and demands a ransom of $1.7 million or he will blow up the plane.
The airport staff, including Bakersfield, his assistant (Jean Seberg), and the head of security (George Kennedy), must race against time to locate the bomber and prevent disaster. As the drama unfolds, tensions rise and the clock ticks down to a thrilling conclusion that will test the skills and bravery of everyone involved.
Based on Arthur Hailey’s novel, the film manages to retain the essence of the book’s intricate plot while also streamlining it for the big screen. Despite having to cut some of the subplots for the movie adaptation, Airport remains a gripping and entertaining watch even after so many decades. The film takes place in a bustling airport setting, juggling multiple storylines with deft ease.
The film’s immersive setting captures the frenzied energy of a busy airport during a snowstorm and so much chaos and director George Seaton utilizes it to his fullest potential.
Airport is a masterclass in suspenseful storytelling, gradually building tension until it reaches a fever pitch in its climactic moments. The film’s slow-burn approach to suspense allows the audience to become fully invested in the characters and their struggles, despite so many subplots and character arcs to juggle. This approach makes the eventual payoff all the more satisfying.
The tension is particularly effective once the plane takes off in the midst of a snowstorm, with the threat of disaster looming over the passengers and crew. The only thing that doesn’t live up to modern standards is how corny this film can get, with one-liners, some immature unfunny slapstick moments, and some scenes for comedy that don’t add much to the story.
The ensemble cast, featuring industry stalwarts like Burt Lancaster and Dean Martin, deliver solid performances that bring their characters to life. However, it is Van Heflin who delivers a haunting performance as D.O. Guerrero, the disturbed individual who threatens to detonate a plane mid-air. Heflin portrays the character’s twisted psyche with chilling authenticity.
While Helen Hayes earned an Academy Award for her portrayal of the endearing Ada Quonsett, it is Maureen Stapleton’s performance as Guerrero’s wife that truly stands out. Stapleton brings a raw and emotional depth to her character, infusing her with a palpable sense of despair and grief as she struggles to come to terms with her husband’s horrific plans.
Ernest Lazlo’s cinematography is an effective tool in transporting viewers back to the era in which the film is set. Through his lens, we are transported to the bustling world of 1970s air travel, complete with all the glamour and excitement that entails. The cinematography also manages to capture the finer details of the airport environment, from the hustle and bustle of the terminal to the serene beauty of the snowy tarmac.
The contributions of Alfred Newman’s score are not to be overlooked either. Newman’s music enhances the drama and emotion of the film, adding an additional layer of intensity to the already tense narrative. From the opening credits to the heart-stopping climax, the score is a vital component that helps to elevate the film to new heights.
Airport is a genre-defining film of its era, it draws you into a world of glamour, danger, and human drama with a touch of corniness and humor as an additive. Through masterful cinematography and a haunting score, along with an incredible grasp of its characters, the film explores timeless themes of love, sacrifice, and redemption.
With its slow-burn approach to suspense and a talented ensemble cast, Airport will calmly sit in your brain, as moments from the film marinate within your head.
- Airport boasts an impressive ensemble cast, all of whom deliver strong performances
- Alfred Newman's score is absolutely beautiful
- Ernest Lazlo's cinematography captures the beauty of the airport environment
- The slow-burn approach to suspense allows the film to build tension effectively
- The film’s story is simply phenomenal, and imitated brilliantly on the screen
- The film's sprawling narrative can feel disjointed at times, with too many characters and subplots vying for attention
- Corny one-liners and slapstick make the film feel a bit goofy, which isn’t the style it's going for
- Some of the special effects can come across as dated or cheesy to modern audiences
- The film's melodramatic tone and soap opera-like plot may not appeal to all viewers