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The High and the Mighty

  • Drama
  • 1954
  • William A Wellman
  • 141 mins
  • U

Summary

A pilot loses his nerve when one of his plane's engines fails on a flight bound for San Francisco, leaving his washed-up co-pilot to fly the craft to safety and save the passengers' lives. Disaster thriller based on the novel by Ernest K Gann, starring John Wayne, Claire Trevor, Laraine Day and Robert Stack.

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Review

Rating: 2 out of 5.

As a crippled airplane flies through the sky, having passed the point of no return, it is up to washed-up pilot John Wayne (in a role originally intended for Spencer Tracy) to save the day. Director William A Wellman seems restrained by the then-new CinemaScope format, and Ernest K Gann, adapting his novel to the screen, writes mundane flashbacks which increase the length and dissipate the tension. Shallow characterisation doesn't help, either. A big hit in its day, this forerunner of the Airport series gained Oscar nominations for Wellman and supporting actresses Claire Trevor and Jan Sterling while Dimitri Tiomkin won for his dramatic score.

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Credits

Cast

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Dan RomanJohn Wayne
May HolstClaire Trevor
Lydia RiceLaraine Day
John SullivanRobert Stack
Sally McKeeJan Sterling
Ed JosephPhil Harris
Gustave PardeeRobert Newton
Ken ChildsDavid Brian
FlahertyPaul Kelly (1)
Humphrey AgnewSidney Blackmer
Nell BuckKaren Sharpe
Milo BuckJohn Smith
Lillian PardeeJulie Bishop
GonzalezPedro Gonzalez-Gonzales
Hobie WheelerWilliam Campbell
Jose LocotaJohn Qualen
Frank BriscoePaul Fix

Crew

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DirectorWilliam A Wellman

Details

Theatrical distributor
Warner Bros Pictures Ltd
Language
English
Available on
DVD
Formats
Colour
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