Tuesday, August 31, 2010

AIRPORT (1970)

Starring: Burt Lancaster, Helen Hayes, Van Heflin, Dean Martin, Jacqueline Bisset, George Kennedy & Maureen Stapleton
Director: George Seaton

Airport was widely lambasted by critics for its tried-and-true technique of showcasing a raft of Grand Hotel-style big-name box-office stars in a melodramatic thriller; a critic called it "the best film of 1944." But no one could argue with its success or its influence. Director/screenwriter George Seaton displayed a masterful old hand's touch for showcasing stock characters in a soap opera format, adapting Arthur Halley's blockbuster novel with Martin as the pilot and a cast top-heavy with stars. Airport won huge audiences and six Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, with veteran Hayes, one of the first Oscar winners in 1932, winning a supporting award. The crowd-pleasing behemoth spawned almost a decade's worth of big-budget disaster films, including three inferior sequels, and then another round of disaster spoofs, beginning with 1980's Airplane! (137 mins.)

My Rating: ++1/2

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