Thursday, July 27, 2017

Movie review - "Jet Across the Atlantic" (1959) **

The disaster film cycle of the 1970s was well known; less was the disaster film cycle of the 1950s, where a bunch of drama played on on a plane - No Highway, The High and the Mighty, Zero Hour, Jet Pilot, The Crowded Sky.

This is one such entry (shot in Mexico!), where the subplots include: FBI agent George Raft bringing back accused murderer Guy Madison; Madison's fiancee Virginia Mayo; nutter George MacReady, so traumatised by the death of his child that he's decided to take down the plane and kill everyone; diva Illona Massey.

The story has a few flaws and contrivances (eg how Madison's innocence is proved - it just happens) but something's always going on - a little old duck taking pity on Madison and Mayo and arranging for them to be married is unexpectedly sweet; the pilots get poisoned so Madison has to land the plane (just like in Flying High); there's poison in the airvents; a little romance between Brett Halsey and another girl.

Raft isn't a very good agent - he falls asleep allowing Madison to steal his gun and later Madison knocks him out and Raft shoots Madison with all these other people around. I liked his relationship with Madison and wish there's been more of it. Virginia Mayo's character is a wet drip, just hanging off her man.

Some of the acting is very good - eg Macready, Massey; everyone is professional. I enjoyed seeing old Raft in this movie, well cast and tough. Madison's not bad - he'd learnt a few things by now. Byron Haskin directs with competence and pace.

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