Today's review is of ZERO HOUR! It was directed by Hall Bartlett, who co-wrote the screenplay with Arthur Hailey (AIRPORT) and John C. Champion. The movie was shot in black and white and runs 81 minutes. If the plot of this movie sounds familiar it should. The makers of Airplane! (1980) bought the rights to Zero Hour! (1957) to remake it. This suspenseful air-borne adventure can rightfully lay claim to being the Mother of All subsequent in-flight disaster films of the '70s.
Cast: Dana Andrews -Ted Stryker Linda Darnell -Ellen Stryker Sterling Hayden -Treleaven Elroy "Crazylegs" Hirsch- Capt. Wilson Geoffrey Toone- Dr. Baird Jerry Paris- Tony Decker Peggy King- Stewardess Charles Quinlivan- Burdick Carole Eden -Mrs. Wilson Steve London -Copilot Stewart Russell Thorson -Flight Dispatcher David Thursby- Whitmond Raymond Farrell- Joey Strycker Willis B. Bouchey -RCAF Doctor Richard Keith -Station Manager
Crew: Hall Bartlett-Director, Producer, Screenwriter John C. Champion-Producer, Screenwriter Ted Dale-Composer (Music Score) John F. Warren-Cinematographer John C. Fuller-Editor Arthur Hailey-Short Story Author
This suspenseful air-borne adventure can rightfully lay claim to being the Mother of All subsequent in-flight disaster films of the '70s. Zero Hour! tells the tense story of a Ted Stryker (Dana Andrews), a former Canadian WWII fighter pilot and squadron leader who's battling horrific memories of his war experience. Having indirectly killed six of his men due to an error in judgement (going for a primary target, Stryker leads his men too low in a fog bank, where they crash into the ground), Stryker has been unable to shake this devastating memory, which has caused him no end of trouble in his post-war personal life. Unable to hold onto a steady job, Stryker's marriage is now about to end. Coming home after finally winning another chance at a job, Stryker finds a note from his wife, Ellen (Linda Darnell), telling him that's she's leaving him and taking their young son Joey (Raymond Ferrell). Stryker catches up with the plane before it departs, and rides along, hoping to convince Ellen to come back with him now that "things will be different."
Unfortunately, disaster strikes when passengers start to come down with severe food poisoning from tainted fish. Ted and his wife are fine, having ordered the lamb, but young Joey is critically ill, as are many on board - including the pilot, Captain Bill Wilson (Elroy "Crazylegs" Hirsch) and First Officer Walt Stewart (Steve London). Although there's a doctor on board, Dr. Baird (Geoffrey Toone), there's little he can do but instruct Stewardess Janet Turner (Peggy King) to find anyone who can fly the plane. But when Stryker is brought into the cockpit, he's terrified of the challenge before him - as well as riddled with self-doubt after years of personal failure. Pressured and convinced there's no other option, he takes control of the plane, with his wife helping out on the radio. As a vicious rain and ice storm rages outside (preventing them from landing in Calgary and forcing them over the mountains to Vancouver), Captain Martin Treleaven (Sterling Hayden), a former colleague of Stryker's during the war, tries to hide his contempt and defeatism as he attempts to talk Stryker down through the difficult flight and almost impossible landing.
Nothing worth mentioning!
Problems with Movie:
*Even though the plane is banking and dipping nothing is flying around the interior of the plane. The overhead bins are full of luggage. They should have had a beverage cart rolling up and down the aisle.
*Static-suspended airplane models wobbled by off-screen fans
*When Ted Stryker is flashing back to his men crashing their planes into the ground, the scenes show planes with German insignia on their wings. Stryker was in the Canadian Air Force.
Treleaven: I guess I picked the wrong week to give up smoking.
Dr. Baird: Our survival hinges on one thing - finding someone who not only can fly this plane, but didn't have fish for dinner.
Former pro football star Elroy "Crazylegs" Hirsch plays the captain of the airliner
This is a funny B Movie. Probably not Sterling Hayden's best work. Linda Darnell and Dana Andrews do a good job with what they are given to work with.
Dark Victory, Imitation of Life, Valley of the Dolls, The Barefoot Contessa, Yankee Doodle Dandy, Night of the Hunter, Waterloo Bridge, That Hamilton Women, The Women, The Apartment, Some Like it Hot, Niagra ,The Seven Year Itch, Designing Women, Camille, East Side West Side, In the Good Ole Summertime, Mogambo, To Catch a Theif, Rear Window, Marnie,Random Harvest,Peyton Place,Darling,Victim,The Servant,The Spanish Gardener and From the Terrace. There are really too many to list.
What is on TCM?
My Bookshelf- Classic Hollywood
Songs My Mother Taught Me, Marlon Brando (Reading Now)
Richard Burton,A LIFE by Melvyn Bragg (Finished)
VIVIEN LEIGH-A BIOGRAPHY- Ann Edwards (finished)
MY FATHER'S DAUGHTER-Tina Sinatra (finished)
DON'T MIND IF I DO-George Hamilton (finished)
ELIZABETH-J. Randy Taraborrelli (finished)
SHELLEY ALSO KNOWN AS SHIRLEY-Shelly Winters-(finished)
MY STORY-Ginger Rogers-(finished)
BRING ON THE EMPTY HORSES -David Niven-(finished)
OLIVIA AND JOAN-Charles Higham-(finished)
CARY GRANT-Marc Elliott-(finished)
DARK VICTORY,THE LIFE OF BETTE DAVIS-Ed Sikov-(finished)