Sunday, September 06, 2009
Hold On, We're Goin' for Broke!
When Airport shows up on my boob tube, I always end up watching just to see this scene. George Kennedy chewed up the scenery as well as that cigar. At least he was nominated for a Golden Globe award - the Academy didn't think enough of his performance to give him a nod.
Airport also has a lot of negative baggage these days - it was the first ensemble star packed disaster movie, it had crummy sequels piggybacked on it's success, plus there were a slew of lesser movies that attempted to follow the apparent formula for it's success. Taken on it's own, the movie is good in it's own right as a great popcorn show - were it a western, it would be an "oater." It's really the failures of the later sequels and copycats that give us the collective groan and eye rolling associated with the disaster movie genre. It certainly is not an example of artistic genius -Burt Lancaster claimed it was "the worst piece of junk ever made."
But ol' Burt wasn't always the nicest guy on the planet, and I get a charge out of watching this movie on several levels. It was definitely made in different times - just the amount of smoking on the plane kinda clues ya in there. It did have a solid story that had a lot of character threads that were all brought to a conclusion (Tarantino for contrast?). Edith Head was nominated for her costume design, and Helen Hayes won for best supporting actress as the little old stowaway. This was also the last movie for Van Heflin - who will always be Joe Starrett in Shane for me. Dean Martin stepped out of his standard alcoholic character to portray a philandering pilot in a convincing manner.
So what if Airport is considered "campy." If it is, then it's one of my guilty pleasures.