The fourth helping of Airport adventure was subtitled The Concorde, and this time the plot dealt with international arms dealer Dr Kevin Harrison (Robert Wagner) – one of the richest and most powerful men in the world – who attempts to sabotage the Concorde on three separate occasions to destroy some incriminating evidence against him which is being carried by his lover, American television reporter Maggie Whelan (Susan Blakely).
The crew also have to deal with a ‘Buzzard Attack Missile’ chasing the plane, an emergency landing with no brakes, various explosions and doors coming off, and a crash-landing into the snow – all while on a goodwill flight to Moscow with Olympic athletes on board!
The movie was made entirely to the tried and tested formula, with two-dimensional characters taking second place to the aircraft itself and the in-flight drama threatening its destruction.
George Kennedy (again) played the hero, and the large cast under David Lowell Rich’s equally formula direction included Sylvia Kristel (fully clothed, sorry), Eddie Albert, Charo (The Love Plane?) and Cicely Tyson.
Martha Raye’s character provides an endless stream of toilet jokes, while Jimmie (“Dyn-o-mite”) Walker, as a stereotyped jazz musician, provides several doses of marijuana humour.
In case the audience has forgotten that the series of Airport films is basically an airborne soap opera, there are two little children to jerk our tears.
One is the deaf daughter of a Russian athlete (Avery Schreiber), and the other child is never seen onscreen – he’s waiting patiently in Paris for his mother and their doctor to bring him a fresh heart for his forthcoming transplant operation.
Not only is that the corniest part of the film, but – as the mother – skilled actress Cecily Tyson is sadly wasted on the microscopic-sized role.
Sure, it’s not great art, but it’s pretty lively entertainment, and the story manages to hold our interest throughout a Washington to Moscow flight with a stopover in Paris.
Captain Paul Metrand
Dr Kevin Harrison
Captain Joe Patroni
Coach Fyodor Markov
Dr Harold Stone
Stacy Heather Tolkin
David Lowell Rich