Airport 1975 (1974)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Airport 1975</strong> (1974)

(In French, On Cable TV, November 2018) The original Airport may have been meant as a workplace drama made even more thrilling by the possibility of airplane crashes, but it launched the 1970s disaster movie craze and by the time its own Airport 1975 follow-up came around, the series refocused on a profitable niche: airborne disasters, in this case what would happen if a small plane crashed in a jumbo airliner? The premise doesn’t make a lot of sense the closer you look at it (or rather: it doesn’t make sense that there would be something to do after such a collision), but no matter: it’s up to George Kennedy and Charlton Heston to play the heroes, be lowered in the gaping open cockpit, and bring everyone back down to safety. That should be enough in itself, but contemporary viewers will get quite a kick out of this Airport 1975 because it’s one of the main sources of inspiration for the classic spoof Airplane! That’s right: the nun, the sick kid and other gags all find their origin here, lending an unintentional hilarity to something meant to be deadly serious. Otherwise, well, some of the airborne footage is impressive, while some of the special effects have not survived well at all. Karen Black is not bad as the heroine, despite her character bearing the brunt of the film’s unconscious sexism. Still, for all its faults, there’s a bit of a magnificence to the results—this is not meant to be a good movie, but it seems to know what it’s made for. As a result, Airport 1975 withstands an admittedly ironic contemporary look better than many of its contemporaries.

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