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DANA ANDREWS CAUSES THE MAIN CRASH IN 'AIRPORT 1975'

Dana Andrews has a sky-high problem in Airport 1975
Like ZERO HOUR! and unlike AIRPLANE!, things are dead serious but so corny they're just begging to be morphed into punchlines, including a sick young girl played by EXORCIST starlet Linda Blair, who'd become LOVE BOAT kiddo Jill Whelan in AIRPLANE!, being serenaded by a nun (Helen Reddy, whose name is used as a punchline in AIRPLANE!)...

A stuffy surgeon in an office talking about said girl... And our main couple; one a stewardess in buried lead Karen Black and the first-billed Charlton Heston, mainliner from the original AIRPORT, who, along with another AIRPORT veteran, George Kennedy, plan to rescue the plane that'd been swiped by none other than Dana Andrews, a jet-set businessman with a fatal heart condition...

Airport 1975
The reason the plane starts going down, and why the pilots are killed, is because Dana's Scott Freeman crashes into the (side of the) cockpit, causing the famous (or infamous) visual of our heroic stewardess, Karen Black, sitting at the controls, an iconic moment in camp cinema: with her intense cross-eyes on fire and acting to the hilt, Karen not only steals the show, she practically owns it...

But the producers still got their money's worth with Heston during the 11th hour when he risks his life in a small rescue plane, eventually flying parallel with a cable "rope" connecting both: attempting to slide over into the cockpit to aid his girlfriend while injecting genuinely palpable suspense.

SUNSET BLVD meets EXORCIST Score: ***1/2
The passengers are, as is usual with the Disaster Genre, a bevy of semi-famous folk including three drunks, Jerry Stiller, Norman Fell and Conrad Janis and playing herself is SUNSET BLVD's Gloria Swanson. And although they don't share a scene together, that Noir classic's ingenue "girlfriend" of TOWERING INFERNO veteran William Holden... Nancy Olson... plays Linda Blair's mom...

And of all the AIRPORT flicks, not only does this have the most in common with AIRPLANE!, but it's arguably the most entertaining of the four-film series also including AIRPORT '77 and the franchise-killing CONCORDE: AIRPORT '79, which actually isn't altogether horrible... With a spooky harpsichord invading a cliche symphonic soundtrack, there's a bit of strange horror underlining what's considered one of the campiest pictures of all time: And another important bit of trivia that's already covered online, and isn't altogether original here: While Efrem Zimbalist Jr's jet fighter crashed into Dana's commercial airliner in THE CROWDED SKY, Dana gets his revenge... The FBI television actor is the main pilot in this film, and much unluckier than Dana was: In fact, the swarthy actor didn't have it too good in both features, making TV a much safer medium...
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