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Airport ’75 (1974)  

Review: written 2007

Cash in sequel ups the action, loses the tension

Airport 75 switches the drama from the airport to the air. Where the original relied on melodrama and the tension involved in running an airport, this next in the series seeks to raise the action quotient and use the inherent claustrophobia of an aeroplane based drama to greater effect. In this iteration of the franchise, Charlton Heston's girlfriend, a plucky stewardess, ends up in charge of flying the plane when a mid-air collision takes out the flight crew and leaves a gaping hole in the flight compartment. Sadly, most of the entertainment these days is in chortling at the bizarre 70's décor and fashion, as well as spotting the many moments that Airplane was able to parody some years later. This IS the movie where a nun sings to the child who HAS to get to the airport in time to have her kidney replaced. It is laudable that they managed to insert so many real shots of the plane flying among the stunning Rocky Mountains, but it only serves to highlight how poor the back projection sequences are, for example the cockpit scenes. The cast is extraordinary - Erik Estrada! Gloria Swanson - bizarrely as herself - it was her first film in 22 years, and her last. Even the sick child is played by Linda Blair. However, apart from the set-piece transfer from helicopter to the 747, a stunt performed by the mighty Joe Canutt (of Ben-Hur stunt fame), the movie fails to ignite any real tension or character development.

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