The High and the Mighty

1954

Action / Adventure / Drama / Thriller

56
IMDb Rating 6.8 10 5,142

Synopsis


Downloaded times
June 15, 2020

Cast

John Wayne as Chris Morrell
Paul Fix as Judge Ewing
Phil Harris as Ed Joseph
William Hopper as Col. Kenneth Penmark
720p.WEB 1080p.WEB
1.32 GB
1280*720
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
147 min
P/S N/A / N/A
2.7 GB
1920×1080
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
147 min
P/S N/A / N/A

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by cariart 8 / 10 / 10

Wayne Disaster Film No Classic, But GREAT Entertainment!

"The High and the Mighty", the granddaddy of air disaster movies, often falls into almost campy melodrama, but under the direction of the legendary 'Wild Bill' Wellman, and punctuated by one of Dimitri Tiomkin's most bombastic yet exciting scores (earning him an Oscar), the film maintains such a level of intensity that it remains constantly entertaining. With John Wayne heading an ensemble cast (including several co-stars from the past, as well as personal friends), it is certainly an essential for any 'Duke' film library. Produced by Wayne-Fellows Productions, and 'owned', eventually, by the Wayne family's Batjac Productions (along with "Hondo", "McLintock!", and "Island in the Sky"), the film was a BIG hit, when released, and offered one of Wayne's better performances, then gained even greater stature as it was unseen for a generation. I've always held the belief that the family planned to release the entire quartet of films in 2007, to mark the centennial of Duke's birth, but two events changed the plan; first, an unauthorized, 'remixed' VHS version of "McLintock!" was released, with rumors that a version of "Hondo" was also in the works, forcing Michael Wayne, then President of Batjac, to release authorized VHS versions of the two films, rather than have the market glutted with bad copies; second, with Michael's death, in 2003, the Wayne family rethought the master plan, deciding to release the entire collection on DVD earlier. For whatever reason, seeing "The High and the Mighty" again is a cause to celebrate! Based on Ernest K. Gann's bestseller (which would inspire Arthur Hailey's later novel, "Airport"), the story centers around a routine commercial flight between Honolulu and San Francisco, which becomes a life-and-death drama when one engine explodes, just beyond the 'Point of No Return'. With limited fuel, in deteriorating weather, the crisis brings out the best and worst in both passengers and crew. Wayne as the co-pilot, is quite good, playing a character older than he actually was (the role had been written for Spencer Tracy, who pulled out, just prior to filming); Robert Stack almost foreshadows his character in "Airplane!" as the no-nonsense pilot who goes ballistic when stressed. For cockpit 'overacting', however, the award has to go to Wally Brown, as the navigator, with his bugged-out eyes, visions of his shrewish wife, and WILDLY unruly hair... While the passengers are all stereotypes, several actors are quite good in their roles, with standout performances by Claire Trevor and Jan Sterling (both Oscar-nominated), Robert Newton, Paul Kelly, and Paul Fix. While Phil Harris attempts to inject humor into his role, it only works sporadically (and Ann Doran, as his wife, plays 'hysterical' so convincingly that you want to STRANGLE her!) Laraine Day, third-billed (and, with Trevor, a previous Wayne leading lady), is remarkably unlikable as a rich wife with a 'bought' husband (John Howard); Sidney Blackmer plays the 'mandatory' unbalanced type; and veteran character actor John Qualen adds another 'ethnic' portrayal to his long list, as a Latin family man (with a Norwegian accent!) A bit of trivia: The young boy on board was portrayed by director Wellman's son! Almost as fascinating as the story is seeing how much has changed, since the film was released; the plane's 'tail' is controlled by pulleys and wires in a rear compartment; the sole flight attendant is a "stewardess"; and everyone smokes (especially in the cockpit). On a more somber note, there is NO security, and one passenger boards easily, carrying a gun. It is, sadly, a wiser world, today... While no one would ever accuse "The High and the Mighty" of being a film classic, it's role in creating the 'airplane disaster' genre can't be denied, and it continues to be a vastly enjoyable John Wayne feature. It's great to have it back!

Reviewed by bkoganbing 8 / 10 / 10

"When your motor conked out, my motor conked out."

The release of The High and the Mighty coincidentally came out at the same time I Love Lucy shifted it's locale from New York to Hollywood and star crazy Lucy Ricardo was stalking all the big film stars of the day. I still remember when Lucy stole John Wayne's footprints outside Grauman's Chinese Theatre and that never to be forgotten line she said to him about his latest film quoted above. I think a lot of people felt that way about The High and the Mighty. I was lucky to see it when it was broadcast in 1979 the week of the Duke's demise. I had seen it earlier, but it has not been broadcast since. And that's a pity because this film is a four star winner in every respect. This was produced by John Wayne as well as starring him and it is the second work he did with director William Wellman. In fact Ernest K. Gann wrote the novel this was based on and he also wrote the book that the Wayne-Wellman combination tackled in their first endeavor, Island in the Sky. That too, has not been broadcast for years, but I've seen it also. In fact if you look at the credits, all the Wellman behind the camera crew is virtually the same. One big addition for The High and the Mighty is Dimitri Tiomkin, writer of so many wonderful film scores for the Duke and others. Previous to this Tiomkin had done that outstanding score for Red River for Wayne another milestone picture for him. The only Oscar the film won was for it's score. It's one of the great movie themes of all time and not too many people know this, but there were lyrics by Ned Washington. The theme was also in the Best Song award category, but lost to Secret Love. Probably because I can't recall a vocal recording done of it. Lots of instrumentals though, a big seller. In this Grand Hotel cast, actresses Claire Trevor and Jan Sterling both got nominated in The Best Supporting Actress category, but lost to Eva Marie Saint. It's almost a shame that those two performances got singled out because the whole cast was brilliant. It's always the mark of a good film that even the most minute character roles are fully developed and remembered. Case in point: In The High and the Mighty Douglas Fowley as a ground attendant at the beginning of the movie and Pedro Gonzalez-Gonzalez as a ship's radio operator have tiny parts, but you will remember both. The plot concerns a flight from Honolulu to San Francisco which develops engine problems and a fuel loss. After that the suspense doesn't let up for one micro-second of film. Lots of flashbacks are well integrated into the plot. Flashbacks about the crew and the passengers. All of their lives are laid bare in brief vignettes. Two passenger performances I liked besides Trevor and Sterling were Paul Kelly as the cynical scientist and Robert Newton as the jaded Broadway producer. The crew of course is headed by Robert Stack as pilot and John Wayne as co-pilot. In his memoirs Stack said the role of Sullivan was one of his favorites and he paid a heartfelt tribute to producer/co-star John Wayne. Wayne was a controversial guy, most of his co-stars liked to work with him, a few didn't. Stack was one of his biggest boosters as a performer and his tribute to the Duke should be read by all John Wayne fans. Thank the Deity that a new generation of cinema fans will finally get to see John Wayne at his very best as Dan Roman. The unavailability of Island in the Sky and The High and the Mighty have not been good for fans and critics discussing John Wayne's work. His work with both John Ford and Howard Hawks has been rehashed time and again, but no one ever talks about his three films with William Wellman which in my book renders all discussions about him as an actor up to now quite pointless. Why he was overlooked in the Oscar sweepstakes that year is a mystery. Wayne had one of the best faces for closeups ever in screen history. Top directors like Ford, Hawks, and Wellman knew that and used him to best advantage. Both in Island in the Sky and The High and the Mighty, Bill Wellman caught a lot of the anguish and determination in closeups that said more than a page of dialog. Both as Dooley in Island in the Sky and as Dan Roman here, Wayne plays a character who is not battling bad guys, but a bad situation. In both he's the leader of a group of people who's lives are in his hands and he can't show weakness. None of the usual screen fights are in either of his Wellman roles. It's the elements and fear that are the bad guys that have to be licked. It's a pity they didn't do more actor/director classics like these two films, Wellman and Wayne. They did work together on Blood Alley, but it doesn't hold a candle to the first two films. Bill Wellman actually did work for the Duke once again in a film Wayne produced, but did not star in called Goodbye My Lady in 1956. Wellman retired two years later. The High and the Mighty represents an artistic triumph and a commercial one. When it came out, John Wayne was at the height of his career, in the midst of a string of years as number one at the box office. Catch this film by all means if you can. With it coming out on DVD, maybe it will finally be broadcast again on AMC or TCM.

Reviewed by silverscreen888 8 / 10 / 10

Fine Characters; Well-Acted; Most Realistic Airplane Film

Several younger reviewers, posing as critics, have projected their post-1994 angst onto "The High and the Mighty". They have tried to make its virtues into defects I suggest because they have failed to understand the normative, non-surreal self-responsibility requirements that individuals in the 1950s tacitly accepted as their price for exercising U.S. rights under regulation. They also do not understand apparently that this flight was being undertaken as a very-long flight, and barely seven years after the end of WWII. One complained that there was talk of disaster from the beginning; I found none except some fear on the part of one neurotic passenger. And there is something else that needs to be said about the film. It was directed by William Wellman, aviation's greatest champion in Hollywood history. That may be one reason why the resulting film is in my judgment the most realistic portrayal of a 1950s airport, airplane crew, airplane flight and airplane disaster-near disaster film in history--to this day... I flew on prop planes in 1950; this is the real thing. As for the emotional belief that it is "corny', its script telegraphs some of its punches concerning passengers' ideas, but only the surreal philosophy of statist-postmodernist thinkers could see in this beautifully- thought-out film as anything but what most viewers believe it to be--the very entertaining fictional account of a distrusted loner saving an entire planeload of interesting passengers from a physical disaster to whose impending happening each reacts in his own individual way. The film opens at Honolulu Airport as flight 420 is being readied for takeoff. A succession of passengers come to the desk manned by an airline official and the flight's stewardess; so the viewer is thus cleverly allowed to discover a good bit about each one at the same time as do the refreshingly judgmental pair of officers. At the same time, we are told the story of nice-guy Dan Roman, played by John Wayne; he was the pilot of a plane that once ran into wind shear; the rear of that plane was destroyed; on impact.; he survived the death of his wife and son to fly again. The list of those aboard is long and fascinating. In addition to cynical young crewman William Campbell, uxorious navigator Wally Brown, up-tight young Robert Stack and Wayne, we meet Sidney Blackmer, overwrought and insistent; ebullient Phil Harris and his wife Ann Doran, sensible and prolific Johna Qualen, intelligent Claire Trevor, Jan Sterling as an aging beauty queen worried about meeting her new mail-contact fiancée, handsome couple John Smith and Karen Sharpe as newlyweds, Paul Fix who is elderly and unflappable, Dorothy Chen, John Howard, flight-fearing Robert Newton and his loyal wife lovely Julie Bishop, secret-keeping Paul Kelly and dynamic David Brian, and a little boy, among others. The story develops as the great airplane shudders in mid-air; gradually a crisis develops with an engine losing power. Then it is hit by a bullet, and a fire disables it and must be extinguished. The exact number of gallons of high-octane fuel aboard then becomes critical. The threat of a disaster is told in five parts--the inception; examinations and worsenings; the potential of having to ditch is faced; Wayne forces Stack to try for the coast instead of ditching; and the final climax plays out as the onshore wind gives them their last chance to make one try at the runway--with ultimately only 30 gallons of fuel left. As the potential problem develops, the passengers and crew must deal with the film's plot-theme--"taking charge of one's own life"; one man pulls a gun on the man he suspects of having made love to his wife; others have to be stopped from screaming, others face issues long put aside, others express regrets, hopes or fears; others demand or ask for information; and the crew face their own problems as well. Uniting the whole taut drama is the towering experience, calm and underplaying by Wayne and the thin-voice maturity, intelligence and normalcy of Doe Avedon as the chief stewardess. The other unusual feature of the film is Wellman's use of extended flashbacks for a number of persons, which is a feature that indicates to viewers information as well as passage of time. Here it is used in several innovative ways-to indicate character, to reinforce dramatic points and to strengthen the presentation of values such as a nuclear scientist's reasons for quitting his job, etc. The script for the novel was written by the author of the original novel "The High and the Mighty", aviation fiction expert Ernest K. Gann. The cinematography was done by Archie J. Stout, and the music which uses Wayne whistling the main theme among other presentations was done by Dimitri Tiomkin, co-author of the famous and popular title song, which was a hit both with and without lyrics. Among the solid cast also one should note Regis Toomey, Laraine Day, Douglas Kennedy, and Gonzales Gonzales. Among the main characters, Wayne, David Brian, Sindey Blackmer, Claire Trevor, John Howard, Julie Bishop, Robert Newton, Phil Harris, John Qualen and Robert Stack all do standout work. The scene where luggage is jettisoned to lighten the plane, the gradual revelation of the aircraft's problems, the dialogue sequences and the entire atmosphere of the film--as well as the gripping climactic approach to San Francisco--are all memorable.achievements in my view. Watch for Wayne's explanation that they will probably have to ditch, addressed to all the passengers. This is a nearly-great and unarguably a deservedly popular film.

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