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The High & the Mighty: Latest Info


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As you may remember from the last chapter of the continuing saga of the "lost" John Wayne movie, "The High and the Mighty"(1954), there were a few notices in Variety and The Hollywood Reporter since the Duke's son, Michael Wayne passed away, indicating that the Wayne estate would be actively pursuing re-release of this adventure flick, which alot of youngsters have never seen and alot of us over-40 folk long to see again.

 

If you don't know this film, it's one of the movies, along with "Zero Hour!"(1957) & "Airport"(1970), that led to the uproarious parody "Airplane". Yet, with masterful William Wellman as director, its glorious Dmitri Tiomkin score, John Wayne's wonderfully enigmatic tough guy pilot and other fine performances by, among others, the late, underrated, Jan Sterling, "The H & M" is far superior, and alot more fun, at least in my memory. Of course, I only saw it on tv in the bad old days as a kid, in B&W with, (horrors!), commercial intteruptions!!! Yes, we really suffered in the pioneer days of movie appreciation.

 

Well, I just came across a new report that "The High And The Mighty" was still undergoing extensive restoration in anticipation of its DVD debut late this year or possibly early 2005. Still no official date yet but it's now confirmed that Paramount Home Video has obtained the DVD rights. Warners released the film theatrically but the John Wayne estate owns the film. However, they are mulling a possible limited theatrical re-release prior to its home video debut. (BTW, you can still pre-register for the dvd at Amazon). Still, I'd definitely enjoy seeing it in a movie house, how about y'all?

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I'll be first on line at the movies and first on line for the DVD of "The High and the Mighty".

It is one of my favorite films and Jan Sterling (as you mentioned moira) gives an outstanding performance as well as the rest of the fine cast.

I can't wait.

 

Mongo

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Leo, I hope it'll be on tv sooner rather than later too. But I also wouldn't mind having a real old-fashioned movie going experience. I'm glad that you asked TCM to show this movie, as it seems ideal for their core audience, but I don't think that TCM controls when it will be available to them. Why does a shared interest in this film this seem to make you angry--isn't it kind of fun that some of us are eager to see this film and looking forward to its re-release?

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Leo, do you have a recording of the score for "The High and the Mighty"? I've checked around in the past and looked on that great site, FilmScoreMonthly.com, that you mentioned in one of your previous posts to see if there are any versions of Tiomkin's music available. So far, I've come up empty. Perhaps this pending re-release will be an opportunity for some enterprising music publisher to reissue a version of the music on cd, complete with that haunting whistling melody line.

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I would also be thrilled to see this movie on the big screen, especially since I've never seen it before, and the best way to experience a movie that you've never seen is in a movie theater. The first times I saw "Vertigo" "My Fair Lady" and "Its a Wonderful Life" were all in movie theaters and they were memorable experiences. In fact I was shocked when I first saw "Life" since I thought it was a "Christmas movie" and yet it's not, it's only gained that false reputation over the years. Part of it might take place during Christmas, but it's all about George Bailey's life - that's the story. And "Vertigo" kept me on the edge of my seat. I remember getting chills when we see Kim Novak for the second time. There's nothing like a theatrical experience, and I'm sure that "The High and the Mighty" would thrill me like the others did.

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You're so right, moviejoe, about the joy of movie going. I was lucky enough to see "Rear Window" for the first time in an old moviehouse during its re-release in the '80s. It was marvelous. Only trouble was that I went with some coworkers who criticized the sexual politics inherent in any movie of the '50s, rather than relishing the look, sound and expertise of the story and players, especially Miss Thelma Ritter. Say, I read recently that Hitchcock, who had a somewhat contentious relationship with David O. Selznick, deliberately had Raymond Burr, as the villain, dye his hair gray and wear spectacles like Selznick. Guess, ole Hitch could hold a grudge.

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Moira, I was a kid on the floor playing a 45 (remember them) and all I recall was the record had Leroy Holmes who did it. As an aside, don't you find scores nominated for academy awards are so lacking than years ago like 'Love is a many splendid thing' and 3 coins in the fountain which won I think...

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Sure, I remember 45s, Leo--especially the songs that were on the "B" side of them--they were usually songs that were really lame or, sometimes, a bit better than the alleged "hit". One particularly vivid memory connected to 45s was the time that my eldest sister played "Baby Love" by the Supremes about, oh, a 174 times. My mother, who was quite a fiery lass, finally grabbed the record off the turntable, opened the front door and sent Diana Ross and friends flying into the bushes. Ah, the smell of napalm in the morning brings back a nostalgic tear to my eye.

 

As to the Academy Awards--they're fun as something to goof on, but I don't take them seriously, especially in the "Best Song" category. Think of all the wonderful actors such as Edward G. Robinson and Cary Grant who never won one!

 

My personal taste in songs in movies runs to Gershwin and Rodgers and Hart, though I know alot of people love "Love is a Many Splendid Thing" & "Three Coins in the Fountain". Most of the time, the nominated film scores aren't necessarily the best either and don't seem to have ever been anything than a Hollywood popularity contest. After all, George Gershwin never even won an Oscar, despite his glorious contributions to American song, (perhaps in part due to much of the music having first been heard on Broadway), and Aaron Copland wasn't even nominated for his wondrous score for "The Red Pony".

 

I suppose that this oversight occurred in part because they were not seen as company men--and didn't necessarily have a large studio to rally their employees and clients to vote for the composer. At least that's how it seems to me.

 

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