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The High and the Mighty

Old 18th Nov 2007, 09:19
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The High and the Mighty

Maybe this thread could be called 'good aviation movies.' Had a lazy Sunday afternoon to myself for a change and pulled out this old classic John Wayne film based on an Earnest K. Gann novel. Got the remastered DVD on my last trip down South (home entertainment takes on new meaning when living in a place with no other options!).

Really enjoyed the movie anyway and thought I would fish for more suggestions on good aviation movies to add to one's collection. Some of the others in my collection include:
- The Right Stuff
- Apollo 13
- Those Magnificent Men and Their Flying Machines
- Flight of the Intruder

The High and the Mighty had some good special features including a little section on flying in the 50's which makes for interesting comparison to the industry now... What it must have been like to live through the golden years of aviation....!
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Old 18th Nov 2007, 09:30
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There's that one with Tom Cruise in it I think...
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Old 18th Nov 2007, 09:32
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"The High and the Mighty" was all right, but it spent too much time on educating viewers who had never been on an airliner on what the experience was like. I also found the Christian cross imagery of the approach lighting at SFO extremely clumsy.

"Island in the Sky" is another Gann/Wayne effort that's worthwhile.
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Old 18th Nov 2007, 10:20
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The Pilot

This was another technicaly very good movie from the early 70's.
Can't remeber the actors name now (may have been Cliff Robertson), but it was about a DC8 skipper who had a drinking problem.

The ILS scene was really accurate with all the appropriate lights and callouts, obviously filmed in a real simulator.

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Old 18th Nov 2007, 10:20
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Sorry a bit off track but I for one have watched all the Wayne/Gann films and really think they don't even come close to matching the imagery and emotion of Gann's books. Fate is the Hunter really is a true classic, not just in the aviation genre and his earlier work on the other aspects of his life; A Hostage to Fortune is well worth the read.
As for other aviation films, The Great Waldo Pepper isn't too bad.
The Comet.
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Old 18th Nov 2007, 10:36
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Have to say that "The Right Stuff" immediately comes to mind as one of the best movies ever to portray the lives of the test pilots and early astronauts - and ranks as my personal favourite. A brilliant film that sadly never found a mainstream audience upon its release, in spite of having been nominated for numerous Oscars at the time.

Whilst the movie does lean more towards spaceflight than atmospheric flight, at the core they were all aviators - whatever kind of vehicle they "flew." And I particularly like how Yeager's character seems to be like the glue that holds the story together, interweaving through all the other daring exploits of the original seven Mercury guys. The astronauts may have received all the public attention, but they knew it was those unsung heroes out in the Mojave Desert that truly had the "right stuff."

Just brilliant!
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Old 18th Nov 2007, 17:02
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E.K.Gann's books


I agree with your comments about the books & the films, the books are far better.

Whenever I had a student undertaking an instrument rating course, the E.K. Gann book "Fate is the Hunter" was mandatory reading.

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Old 19th Nov 2007, 01:03
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Battle of Britain, absolute clasic. Some of the best beatups you'll ever see in the first 5 mins.
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Old 19th Nov 2007, 01:55
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..........battle of britain, yes a top show, saw it about 5 times when it came out at the pics...........obviously hooked well & truely by then !
Another couple of great pics where the "flight of the Pheonix" with Jimmy stuart in it. The original one that is not the crap more modern one staring Denis Quade I think he is. I believe the original plane in the original movie they made from the wreck did fly & the pilot was killed upon landing it, the scene at the end of that movie shows the 'contraption' actually flying over a dam & dissapearing out of sight, I assume this is where the pilot perhaps met his fate!
Also the old classic (probably not a classic to most) & that was another staring Jimmy Stuart called "no hwy in the sky"............B&W & to some degree corny I guess but was loosely based around the British Comet era, metal fatigue.

Capt wally............ahhh the good 'ole days !:-)
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Old 19th Nov 2007, 02:08
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The original Flight of the Phoenix plane was crashed on the very last take as they wrapped up filming. The take was already completed but the director asked for another just 'in case'. Paul Mantz was the pilot. Mantz at the time was the most famous ( and richest ) stunt pilot in Hollywood. His company pretty much did the majority of stunt flying for movies from the thirties ( Howard Hughes 's time ) onwards. He was practically a star himself. Mantz was well into ( I think ) his fifties at the time and a life of surviving some incredible flying mishaps/risks as well as serious partying with the 'ratpack' of Hollywood finally caught up with him....the fact that the plane - which was cobbled together from various pieces - was fairly unbalanced and tricky to fly did not help.

I.T.O movies vs books - You really have to read Gann - his books are incredible. He wasnt always happy with the movies made from them - he went as far as to remove his name from the credits of one - and never received royalties. He was also an accomplished sailor and his sailing books are equally good.
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Old 19th Nov 2007, 03:02
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It's not fighter jock stuff but Memphis Belle is a pretty good movie showing what it was like on the receiving end of AA
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Old 19th Nov 2007, 06:22
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I read Fate is the Hunter when I was a brand new commerical pilot; it killed hours lying on an airbed under the wing of a C310 in the bush waiting for the clients to return.

I dug it out again recently and managed to get about half a dozen pages into it before tossing it in the trash can. 20+ years flying jets in various locations around the world changed the perspective enormously.

It is a junk book aimed at learners; they're the only ones who would be impressed by it. My comment would be "He can't be serious!!"

It reminded me of a few crusty old QF captains I came across over the years.
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Old 19th Nov 2007, 06:29
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..........tnxs 'missingblade' for the further info on the fate of the Pheonix mythical plane & it's hapless pilot.

Capt Wally:-)

p.s............does anybody passing by here remember that old movie I mentioned "no hwy in the sky"?
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Old 19th Nov 2007, 08:19
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Kaptinzz - Sorry to hear you've become jaded - haven't we all...

However -
Gann is an extraordinarily skilled wordsmith - he puts sentences together like few can, his character descriptions especially are very good. He does sometimes dramatize a bit - I 'll give you that - put the fact is people like him did some of the most risky civil flying of all time.
They opened up the mail routes, the transpacific, transatlantic, himalayas and others. His generation created the airlines. Without radar, navigation facilities, de icing or backup. They were the first and many many of them died. I don't think your average crusty Qantas Captain qualifies when it comes to that kind of thing....civil commercial flying was created by Gann's generation and handed to us all under control and safe and boring.
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Old 19th Nov 2007, 10:24
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Have to concurr with the admiration for Gann's writings. I only have 'Fate is the Hunter' but that book is mighty good reading. Sorry to hear CapZZ that you have changed your mind. Maybe you are forgetting some of the roots to our now very safe and sophisticated industry? Most of our laws were written in blood and Gann knew a lot of people that paid the ultimate price to make the industry better for all of us.

I don't know why he wrote novels as well, he has enough true stories to captivate better than any novel! He is a great writer although some may find his vocabulary and style somewhat old fashioned but that also makes it authentic in my view.

Thanks for the hints on some other good movies - I'll put them on my list of titles to look up next time I'm in the land of milk and honey...!

I do actually have Memphis Belle and Battle of Britain - prefer the latter personally. As for 'The Right Stuff' - yes, one of my all time favourites. Some may not have noticed but the old guy in Pancho's bar is actually Chuck Yeager himself. That is another good book too - 'Yeager' the autobiography. Yet another book to make one marvel at the golden years...(Sigh)! Compadre Bob Hoover's book 'Forever Flying' is also on my bookshelf and is equally captivating.
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Old 19th Nov 2007, 12:06
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How about,

Airport 75 and 77 .........oh dont forget the original one from the 60's.

There was one i saw years ago about a B-47 squadron but cant remember its name. One of those movies they used to show on a sunday avo on tv.

if you really want trash, you could get the BIG Sky series. man i wanna be Jimbo
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Old 19th Nov 2007, 20:50
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If memory serves, I think the one with the B-47's was "SAC - Strategic Air Command," with Jimmy Stewart. Also some great footage of those huge Convair B-36's too.
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Old 19th Nov 2007, 21:23
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Air America - great scene where they land a single (Pilatus Porter...??) on a very steep strip.

Pearl Harbour - although it was probably mostly cgi.

You Only Live Twice (I think) - BD5J flying through a hangar.

Mosquito Squadron

Battle of Britain gets the prize for me, though.
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Old 19th Nov 2007, 21:34
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633 Squadron - the Mossie's attacking the factory under an overhang in a fjiord............
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Old 19th Nov 2007, 21:48
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The Final countdown was a terrific movie. Loved the F-14 gun kill or the look on the Japanese pilots faces when the 2 ship F-14's give 'em a rev.
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