Saboteurs carry out the explosion of the famous German airship Hindenburg as it docks at Lakehurst, New Jersey, on 6 May 1937 at the end of a transatlantic flight.
The 1970s cycle of disaster movies came crashing down amid the debris of this box-office bomb that has all the pace and substance of the famous German airship itself.
In Love Boat style, a variety of characters are introduced as they board the airship: a German countess (Anne Bancroft), a couple of card sharks (Burgess Meredith and René Auberjonois), a circus performer (Robert Clary), and Colonel Franz Ritter (George C. Scott) who has been charged with protecting the ship due to rumours of a bomb threat.
Ritter eventually realises that there actually is a bomb on board, courtesy of Karl Boerth (William Atherton). But Ritter has no love for Hitler and is willing to allow this symbol of Nazi power go down in flame after the ship has landed and the passengers have disembarked safely.
Unfortunately, landing delays mess up the timetable and disaster occurs.
In trying to combine their sabotage theory with the kind of soap-opera characterisation established in Airport (1970), scriptwriters Nelson Gidding, Richard A Levinson and William Link succeeded only in producing a colossal bore that an all-star cast, the glossy photography of Robert Surtees and the Oscar-winning sound and visual effects cannot redeem.
“Oh, the humanity!”
Colonel Franz Ritter
George C Scott
Mrs Mildred Breslau