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High and the Mighty


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"...so what was the reason for asking the passengers their age?"

 

MrsL, since Hawaii was an American territory and not a state at the time of this movie's production, I believe that each passenger was asked specific information about themselves to verify their identity--a device that also served the dramatic purpose of introducing the characters in a kind of thumbnail version of themselves. Looking back from 2007, the security measures at the airport are laughably relaxed.

 

Yes, as numerous individuals have pointed out, it's cornball, but what an enjoyable time trip that this movie can be, if you can close that critical eye for the duration. When The High and the Mighty finally came out of the deep freeze last year, my siblings and I, who all gather in one spot about once a year, used the airing of this movie--which seemed to run constantly on the tube when we were kids--to gather in a party to see it. What a blast! From the first, that unforgettable Dimitri Tiomkin theme just thrills me, and each of us used to try to whistle just like John Wayne's character (actually Muzzy Marcellino). We all fell off our seats laughing and yelling in the scene when the Duke unloaded a little whup*ss on Robert Stack's weak-kneed pilot and darned if we didn't get a little choked up when Wayne murmured, "Now I lay me down to sleep..." just as they tried to land that "busted old pelican" they were flying.

 

The attitudes, setting and acting--socially, politically, artistically and aeronautically, are a hoot. TCM's promo for the next showing of this film on Feb. 1st is terrifically entertaining too.

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Glad to see there's a thread on this movie as I was gonna write something about it. I know it's really dated and a bit slow here and there but I have to make mention of the fact that this movie truly was the template for the AIRPORT films and the first AIRPLANE! movie.

 

In fact there were a few moments when watching this movie that I thought "If the actors just portray themselves a little more broadly it would be just like AIRPLANE!" The Phil Harris story in the movie about how bad his trip to Hawaii was is a perfect example of something that if played just a little more broadly would be perfect in a spoof film.

 

The elements to AIRPORT and AIRPLANE! were all there in this film and I can't help but think that this movie more or less inspired those films. The only part of the movie that really disappointed me was the ending. I guess the folks in the '50s couldn't handle a plane going in flames as it crash lands :(

 

Still, as a time capsule and as a movie that inspired the disaster genre and was the template for the greatest spoof movie of all time (IMO at least) it was very much worth watching.

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Good to see "The High and the Mighty" again, especially the ensemble of stars in danger high in the air, notably Jan Sterling (Anne, her character was suppose to look older than her years), the always dependable Claire Trevor (Larry, she died at 90), John Wayne (although a cameo role), dandy character actors John Qualen and Paul Fix. And that super stewardess played by Doe Avedon. Of course the rousing score of Dimitri Timokin topped it all off.

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What a great comedy! This movie was a laugh-a-minute ride for me. Memorable moments as in the recounting of "the crying towel" story...dialogue such as "It's a sweater" (and Robert Stack wasn't talking about his cardigan)...how can you not love it?

 

Susanb

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Very disappointed when I finally saw it recently. Not at all the classic I remembered--in fact, it was so hokey I thought I was watching one of the "Airplane" spoofs. Just awful in every department--not to mention the most badly dated airline film ever--with no security precautions, handgun on board, smokers, the usual trite flashbacks and a whimper of a climax after all that luggage was thrown out.

 

Only compliment I can give it is the title tune.

 

Neil

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> Very disappointed when I finally saw it recently. Not

> at all the classic I remembered--in fact, it was so

> hokey I thought I was watching one of the "Airplane"

> spoofs. Just awful in every department--not to

> mention the most badly dated airline film ever--with

> no security precautions, handgun on board, smokers,

 

 

Ahh, the good old days!

 

I remember the time when I was able to take a machete on board on a flight from El Salvador to the US. All the flight attendant said was that she would have to store it in a safe compartment in the pilot's cabin. I guess so it wouldn't go flying around if we hit some turbulance.

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I guess this is another example of how "old fashioned" I am in my tastes! I can't really get into action movies that show exploding bodies, etc. I love when they focus on the personal stories---because nothing is more interesting to me than human relationships.

 

Of Wayne's airline movies, I prefer No Island in the Sky---has anyone seen it? It's excellent.

 

Miss G

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> I guess this is another example of how "old

> fashioned" I am in my tastes! I can't really get

> into action movies that show exploding bodies, etc.

> I love when they focus on the personal

> stories---because nothing is more interesting

> to me than human relationships.

 

I dunno if you were responding to me or just in general. I liked the personal stories too. I had a good chuckle when Phil Harris' character talked about the trip to Hawaii and how bad it was for he and his wife. When he finished relating the story I thought to myself "OMG if that was me hearing that story i'd want to be far away from that man!"

 

The movie was a bit plodding at times but you have to admit the ending was a bit of a whimper. I was expecting to see a fire or SOMETHING as the plane lands.

 

Anybody know how faithful the movie was to the book? I know the author of the book wrote the screenplay so it has to be pretty close.

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I saw "Island In The Sky" on that other channel because it was the only major Wayne picture I had never seen.

 

I liked it better than "High and Mighty." It stretches your belief when dealing with the cold but found it to be enjoyable and with enough tension to carry it along. It's an air disaster of a different sort. Good flying footage.

 

Conversely, "H&M" was longgggggg. I remember fast forwarding over some of the personal stuff as it just seemed to drag it out. I thought those parts could have ben a little shorter.

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Re: AIRPLANE! - I JUST happened to have watched the other night the AIRPLANE! DVD with the directors' comments activated...

 

AIRPLANE! was directly based on a 1957 flick called ZERO HOUR which was written by Arthur (AIRPORT) Hailey of all people. Paramount actually bought the rights of ZERO HOUR, to avoid any lawsuits. On the DVD the Zuckers and Abrahams said that they actually had a tape of ZERO HOUR on the set, so they could match some of the scenes better! ZERO HOUR was probably a H/M rip off to start, so any similarities are probably very intentional,and in fact, most likely became some kind of weird temporal loop or something....

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What a nation of jaded individuals we have become. This movie was made 9 years after WWII had ended, everything was great here in the U.S. We had a fine president that we all loved even though we were unsure of his policies, he was an American war hero and that was enough for us. Now this next part is going to sound hokey and I know it, but I'm speaking from a 1954 movie fans' view.

 

All we do is talk about how dumb the people were, how dumb the airports were, and how foolishly the dialog was given, instead of looking at the perspective of two pilots trying to save their plane and passengers rather than taking a chance on them drowning or dying from exposure. That was the point of the movie. Seeing it in 1954, the ending would have been cheered and I believe it was, because the audience didn't want to see all those people harmed (like they seem to want to nowadays.) The airports were lax in security because there were no crazy people trying to hi-jack our passenger planes, they learned what America did to those people when the Lusitania was sunk 30 years earlier. As for smoking, everybody smoked at the time, you almost never heard, 'no thanks, I don't smoke' then, it was as common as wearing shoes. This movie was made in one of the rosiest periods in U.S. history, everything was great and we all loved one another. We didn't lock our doors and we could walk through the park at night, and we didn't worry about our kids being abducted. I know it happened, and we just were not informed as much, but that could very well be where a lot of our problems started - all the media info, giving ideas to nuts on how to do things. I digress.

 

Try to watch vintage movies with the mindset of the audiences who watched them in their first runs, and you may come away with a different perspective of the story itself.

 

Anne

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> What a nation of jaded individuals we have become.

> This movie was made 9 years after WWII had ended,

> everything was great here in the U.S. We had a fine

> president that we all loved even though we were

> unsure of his policies, he was an American war hero

> and that was enough for us. Now this next part is

> going to sound hokey and I know it, but I'm speaking

> from a 1954 movie fans' view.

>

> All we do is talk about how dumb the people were,

> how dumb the airports were, and how foolishly the

> dialog was given, instead of looking at the

> perspective of two pilots trying to save their plane

> and passengers rather than taking a chance on them

> drowning or dying from exposure. That was the

> point of the movie. Seeing it in 1954, the

> ending would have been cheered and I believe it was,

> because the audience didn't want to see all those

> people harmed (like they seem to want to nowadays.)

> The airports were lax in security because there

> were no crazy people trying to hi-jack our passenger

> planes, they learned what America did to those

> people when the Lusitania was sunk 30 years earlier.

> As for smoking, everybody smoked at the time, you

> almost never heard, 'no thanks, I don't

> smoke' then, it was as common as wearing shoes.

> This movie was made in one of the rosiest periods

> in U.S. history, everything was great and we all

> loved one another. We didn't lock our doors and we

> could walk through the park at night, and we didn't

> worry about our kids being abducted. I know it

> happened, and we just were not informed as much, but

> that could very well be where a lot of our problems

> started - all the media info, giving ideas to nuts

> on how to do things. I digress.

>

> Try to watch vintage movies with the mindset of the

> audiences who watched them in their first runs, and

> you may come away with a different perspective of the

> story itself.

>

> Anne

 

YAAAY!

 

http://www.dws.org/sousa/mid/starstrp.mid

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Anne, the reason I fell in love with old movies was the innocence, hope, and message they often conveyed. But I've never been big on the crime stories or disaster flicks in general, the former because I can't dredge up any sympathy for the characters, the latter because they usually do drift off soap-opera-like. Just not my cup of tea. But I'd never belittle the sappiness that often oozed from the oldies, that's what I love, and long for.

 

This movie was made in one of the rosiest periods in U.S. history, everything was great and we all loved one another.

 

??? Unless you leaned a tad to the left or knew someone who did, or were homosexual, or were a person of color wanting a better education... :-(

 

I consider WWII the rosiest period, we were at our best and working together, forgetting differences. It's been downhill ever since.

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Try to watch vintage movies with the mindset of the audiences who watched them in their first runs, and you may come away with a different perspective of the story itself.>>

 

Anne,

 

Clapping, clapping, clapping, clapping!

 

Excellent post!!!!

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> Re: AIRPLANE! - I JUST happened to have watched the

> other night the AIRPLANE! DVD with the directors'

> comments activated...

>

> AIRPLANE! was directly based on a 1957 flick called

> ZERO HOUR which was written by Arthur (AIRPORT)

> Hailey of all people. Paramount actually bought the

> rights of ZERO HOUR, to avoid any lawsuits. On the

> DVD the Zuckers and Abrahams said that they actually

> had a tape of ZERO HOUR on the set, so they could

> match some of the scenes better! ZERO HOUR was

> probably a H/M rip off to start, so any similarities

> are probably very intentional,and in fact, most

> likely became some kind of weird temporal loop or

> something....

 

Interesting....I wonder if TCM has the rights or can easily obtain the right to show that flick. Well I don't usually do this but I think i'll suggest it via the suggestion section of the TCM site.

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movieman1957 -

I tried to dig the TCM Programming Article on the Movie Spoofs Salute out of the archives but it is AWOL - http://www.tcm.com/thismonth/article?cid=33746 - at least on my computer.

 

Got out an old schedule instead -

September 2003

- Friday September 5th -

 

5:00 pm - The Naked Gun: From The Files Of Police Squad! (1988)

6:30 pm - Top Secret! (1984)

8:15 pm - Airplane! (1980)

9:45 pm - Zero Hour! (1957)

 

(Seeing all those exclamation points listed together is hilarious in itself.)

 

That was the line-up on the first night of the salute. Also showing that month -

Austin Powers: International Man Of Mystery / Casino Royale / The Fearless Vampire Killers / Blazing Saddles / Spaceballs / Support Your Local Sheriff / Murder By Death and others.

 

Just provided for the edification of the others.

 

Kyle In Hollywood

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i.e. "American movie audiences have certainly become acustomed to a lot more violence and tension in recent years. "

 

Wow, folks have a terrible sense of humor here. Maybe TCM should show a few more comedies; refresh the palette.

 

...It was just a little jokey thingey, ...you know funny..."It's a sweater...".....Ahem.....

 

Guess I will sign off for another year.

 

Susanb

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"Guess I will sign off for another year. - Susanb

 

Please don't go. I like your sense of humor. And I have always wanted to ask how "a hyperbolic redhead [became] married to a stoic scandinavian."

- susanb, 03/11/2006

 

Just keep repeating the Lake Wobegon motto - "Could Be Worse"

 

Kyle (And Rusty isn't around enough lately for my taste either.) In Hollywood

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> What a nation of jaded individuals we have become.

> This movie was made 9 years after WWII had ended,

> everything was great here in the U.S. This movie was made in one of the rosiest periods in U.S. history, everything was great and we all

> loved one another. We didn't lock our doors and

> we could walk through the park at night, and we

> didn't worry about our kids being abducted.

 

Ah yes the good old days. We only had to worry about total annihilation from a sneaky Hydrogen Bomb attack from Russia with love. The memories of diving beneath our desks at school during H bomb drills so we could "Duck and Cover" bring tears to my eyes. Also the teacher instructing we children to cover yourself with wet newspaper to avoid H bomb burns make me long for the good old days of the 50's! ( Said with tongue in cheek)

 

Bartlett

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