This is Do Not Get on That Plane week. The Concorde: Airport 79 is currently available on instant Netflix.
AVOID: The Concorde: Airport 79 – Rated PG.
“In the fourth installment of the air-disaster series, a ruthless businessman (Robert Wagner) tries to destroy the Concorde and kill a corporate spy, forcing the flight crew to contend with an errant missile, the French air force and a midair explosion. George Kennedy reprises his role as Joe Patroni — now piloting the hypersonic jet — alongside a bevy of 1970s stars, including Charo and Jimmie Walker”
“My boy is starting college, my wife has been dead for about a year.” – Said with no emotion at all by Patroni (George Kennedy).
“Last night I woke up in a cold sweat. I dreamt I was being chased by a giant banana.” (No I am not making that up)
To paraphrase Thumper, “If you do not have anything nice to say then say nothing at all”. Well that will not make for good reading so let me think a moment.
I have it – the good part about this movie is that it is broadcast in high definition for those with set top boxes. that is pretty much it.
In 1979, we are a half decade away from the height of the disaster genre, The Towering Inferno (pun intended). While Robert Wagner does appear in both of them, Inferno stars Steve McQueen, Paul Newman, Faye Dunaway and William Holden. Airport 79 stars Alain Delon, Eddie Albert, Susan Blakely, and George Kennedy.
George Kennedy reprises his role as Joe Patroni from the previous three Airport movies. Apparently when asked to appear, he must have told them “only if I get to fly the Concorde and have sex with a hooker this time “. Thus, inexplicably, he is now a pilot.
After treating the Concorde like the jet in the arcade game Afterburner, he dazzles the passengers with a story about what a minor problem it was. They proceed to give him a standing ovation (seriously).
What this movie lacks in star power, it makes up for in sheer mind-boggling quantity of low-tier celebrities.
Apparently the European nature of the Concorde inspired them to hire some international actors. My guess is that they were able to acquire them on the cheap. Alain Delon, Bibi Andersson, and Sylvia (Emmanuelle) Kristel all appear here.
For old TV and movie fans we have Mercedes McCambridge and Eddie Albert. For genre fans we have David (Time after Time) Warner and Sybil (Chained Heat) Danning.
Martha Raye makes her final appearance here as a bladder-challenged passenger. Jimmie (Dyn-O-Mite!) Walker appears as a dope-smoking, jive-talking musician (way to fight those stereotypes!). Charo (coochie coochie) is Margarita.
What are the odds that not one, not two but three consecutive news stories would all relate to our plot? Admittedly the first two are related to each other but seriously how often do we have news stories on state-of-the-art military hardware? I wonder if those drones will show up later in the film.
Since the sick kid ploy worked so well in Airport 75, here we have a 7-year old boy who needs a heart-transplant. Apparently they could not find a cute boy so they are transporting the heart to the boy. Do not worry though we have Cicely Tyson talking incessantly about it.
If that is not treacly enough for you, we also have a little deaf girl on the plane. Avery Scheiber plays her Russian coach father.
I have to say that I really do not understand why we do not have Concordes in the military. In this film the most sophisticated drone ever made (news story) is unable to shoot down the Concorde and neither is a jet armed with missiles and machine guns.
Of course, and I assure you that I am not making this up, when you have a missile locked onto you the obvious answer is to open the window and fire a flare gun. If this does not work, you can always turn the Concorde upside down for a second shot.
You would think all of those would be spoilers but they actually occur in the first half of the movie. I thought it was utterly ridiculous before they land in Paris but then they up the ante.
Really the only people I can imagine this appealing to are Concorde fetishists and train-wreck aficionados. This movie is just awful.
People Watch: Ed Begley Jr. has an early role here as the aptly named, Rescuer #1.