An airliner and a Navy jet are on a collision course in this forerunner to the Airport series of 1970s ‘disaster movies’. There are several stories within the main structure, and some are told retrospectively. Still, competent acting and direction provide an entertaining – if slightly untidy – film, culminating in a spectacular midair collision.
The Navy jet plane with two aboard – Dale Heath (Efrem Zimbalist Jr), the pilot who is trying to save his marriage to sensuous beauty Cheryl (the luscious Rhonda Fleming) for the sake of their young daughter, and McVey (Troy Donahue), a seaman facing girl trouble – flies in the opposite direction to a civilian transport plane, carrying sixty-two people.
The latter’s pilot, Dick Barnett (Dana Andrews), has his problems, too, in bringing up his motherless son. To complicate things, he and his co-pilot, Mike Rule (John Kerr from South Pacific) – who loves the stewardess, Kitty (Anne Francis), a former playgirl – don’t get on.
Barnett is flying higher than he should be to give his passengers an easy ride, and Heath is flying low because of instrument failure. They can’t avoid each other.
The Navy aircraft plummets, but the civilian plane crash lands with only two fatalities!
This aerial melodrama is finely photographed in Technicolor.
Efrem Zimbalist Jr