Tired old queen at the movies

The High and the Mighty

uckle your seat belt, grab a life-jacket and say your prayers as John Wayne and an all-star cast take an ill-fated flight across the Pacific in William Wellman's The High and the Mighty. Based on the bestselling novel by Ernest K. Gann, this was one of the first airplane disaster movies and set the standard for years to come.

A trans-Pacific flight from Hawaii to San Francisco runs into trouble past "the point of no return" and pilot (Robert Stack) along with his salty and veteran co-pilot (John Wayne), must decide if they can make their destination or down the damaged plane in the drink, risking the survival of everyone on board.

And what a passenger list! There's Oscar winner Claire Trevor as a good-time -gal whose time may be up; Phil Harris as a slob always looking on the bright side; and Jan Sterling as a woman trying to cover her tracks. Then there's the crew - Robert Stack, fighting both a fear of flying and of failure at the worst possible time; Doe Avedon as the stewardess who must keep the faith despite the circumstances; William Campbell as the smarmy assistant who sees too much and talks too often; and John Wayne fighting the ghosts of his dead family by returning to the cock-pit in an effort to regain and retain his dignity.

It's big screen adventure at it's best and believe me, when you fly, you won't forget The High and the Mighty!

Steve Hayes

(Syndication is with the kind permission of Steve Hayes.)

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