AIRPORT 1980 - CONCORDE
US, 1979, 108 minutes, Colour.
Alain Delon, Robert Wagner, Susan Blakely, Sylvia Kristel, George Kennedy, Eddie Albert, Bibi Andersson.
Directed by David Lowell Rich.
Airport 1980 - Concorde is easy to poke fun at (though enjoyable while on screen). Airport films are inevitably predictable and this one borrows from predecessors. Concorde has an international crew (Alain Delon, Sylvia Kristel, David Warner, George Kennedy) who have to work wonders (manoeuvre at over 50,000 feet to evade a U.S. missile, do the same much lower to elude French rockets), crash land on tarmac with nets, survive a hole in the floor and crash land in snow. Emotional stars abound, multinational sabotage is afoot with arch villain Robert Wagner. (There was a funny parody some years ago, The Big Bus. It more than resembles this film.)
1. The popularity of the Airport series during the '70s? Audience expectations of plot, characters, crises and coping with them, star passenger lists and pilots and crew? The standard of this film within the series?
2. The popularity of the disaster films during the '70s, identifying with characters and dangerous situations, survival, death? The affluent world of the people involved in such disasters? The sharing in the experience of danger? The reality and fantasy of vicarious sharing in such danger?
3. The presentation of the Concorde? The pros and cons of supersonic communication and travel? The demonstrators at the beginning of the film and the near crash? The capabilities in speed and manoeuvrability of the Concorde? The way this was illustrated?
4. The impact of the stars, their international background? The guest stars on the plane? How persuasive the presence of the stars and their characters? The inclusion of them for enjoyment?
5. The introduction of the Concorde and its flight, the crew and their capability of saving the day? The American background and the French background? Maggie and her television programme. the introduction to Harrison and his industry. missiles. his own status and award? The world of science and technology. development? The melodramatics of Carl and his murder, the attack on Maggie? Her discussion with Kevin Harrison and his telling lies about arms deals? The melodramatics of the plot with American businessmen selling arms illegally for twenty years? The importance of the documents? The background of cover-ups and exposures? Carl's wife getting the documents to Maggie before she boarded the Concorde? The set up for disasters for the Concorde? The melodramatic aspects of the plot, their plausibility?
6. Paul as a French pilot, type, romantic, skilful? His love for the hostess and liaison with her? The having of Alain Delon and Sylvia Kristel as romantic leads? The contrast with Joe Petroni? George Kennedy's solidity and his presence in the other airport films? The background of his story and his being a widower? The discussions about sex and the jokes? Paris and Petroni's evening with Francine, her leading him on. his enjoyment of the night, the discovery that she was a prostitute? Peter O'Neill and the English contribution to Concorde flying, his personality, discussions about diet. his capabilities in crisis? A reliable crew.
7. The passengers and the types that they represented ? the woman who was taking the heart to Paris for her son., the doctor assistant? The melodramatics about the heart and the sentiment? The head of the corporation and his joking. his young wife and her fears, the dangers with his seat and his almost falling through the hole? The American journalist and his interviewing the Russian gymnast? The romantic interludes, their presence on the plane, the sentiment of their marrying each other in crisis, the coach and her approval? The humour of Martha Raye and her going to the toilet, her being cured of this and her decision to drink champagne? Charo and the interlude with the dog? The Russian Olympic team and the big man with his deaf child and the stories, the visit to the cockpit etc.? How typical a passenger list?
8. The background of multinationals, the arms race, the use of the missiles and the illustration of the tests, the speed of the missile coming towards the Concorde. evasion tactics., the missile being shot down, the repetition of the missiles being fired in French territory, the evading of all the missiles and the devices used e.g. the flares?
9. The manoeuvres for dangers, the effect on the passengers, the plane turning, the plane surviving?
10. The Paris interlude as an intermission for the audience? The pilots and their tine off? The sabotage and the expectations for the second part of the journey? Maggie and the meal with Kevin, his hurrying to Paris and trying to persuade her? His failure?
11. The sabotage and its effects, the re?routing of the flight in Southern Europe, the effect of the hole in the plane, the cracking of the floor., the passengers having to cope with the difficulties again? The preparations for the crashlanding in the snow? The parallel of the landing in Paris with the nets catching the plane and the snow catching the plane in Austria? The irony of Kevin watching the disaster on television? His hoping for the plane's crash? The audience hoping for survival? The quick rescue of everyone and the plane's exploding?
12. Kevin failing with the documents. Maggie exposing the situation, the melodramatics of his shooting himself?
13. The happy ending for this kind of film? The basic conventional values presented in the situation and audience response to these? Did the film deserve the strong criticisms it received and the accusations of being the mst ludicrous film of the year?