“Airport” (1970) Starring Burt Lancaster, Dean Martin, Jean Seberg, George Kennedy, Helen Hayes, Van Heflin, Maureen Stapleton, Lloyd Nolan. Directed by George Seaton. Written by George Seaton, based on the novel by Arthur Hailey. The film credited with instigating the disaster movie trend of the early 70’s, Seaton’s film actually takes it’s model from the soap opera, with the dialogue advancing plot exposition rather than exploring character. The “all-star” cast is an interesting mix of genuine stars, fading screen personalities and eclectic hangers-on and the whole film is approached with the earnestness of an industrial instructional short which should minimize dramatic interest, but strangely makes the blatant hokum far more appealing than it has a right to be. Oddly, the least sympathetic characters in the roster are the ones chosen for possible doom and it’s more a credit to the sturdy conventions of the genre than to filmmaking cleverness that the film manages to maintain a moderate level of suspense.
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