The High and the Mighty

Director: William A. Wellman
Year Released: 1954
Rating: 1.5

While on a flight from Hawaii to California, passengers discuss their personal lives with each other - once the engines blow and they realize they might not land safely, the best (or worst) emerges from each. Often compared to Grand Hotel in the air (yet without any of Grand Hotel's staying power), this is an artificial, pretentiously scripted film where the characters from the beginning all expect the plane to crash and burn far before the midway point - their on-flight altercations and conversations are all pointed and pre-planned, designed to meticulously flesh them all out. There were films from 1954 that held up over time without being called 'quaint' - Johnny Guitar and Rear Window, to name two - but this is just begging to be lampooned ... and mercifully, it was: in Airplane!