Jump Cuts: “Airport 1975”

“Jump Cuts” is my latest recurring feature idea for A.D.D., in which I write down the thoughts that swirl through my head as I watch famous (or infamous) movies. This time it’s Airport 1975, the first of three sequels to the highly successful, Oscar-winning Airport from 1970.

The plot is simple: a small plane crashes into a 747, killing two of its three pilots and incapacitating the captain. It’s up to the stewardess (Karen Black) to fly the plane under instructions from pilots and air traffic controllers. Naturally a mid-air rescue is attempted, with the Air Force seeking to insert a pilot into the plane through the hole in the cockpit. Oh yeah, and Linda Blair’s ill character has a kidney waiting for her in L.A., if she can survive the flight. Tension, melodrama and unintentional hilarity commence.

Here are my random musings on Airport 1975. They are the types of things that just pop out of my brain when I watch movies.

1. For a little girl who is sickly, Linda Blair looks too radiant. She doesn’t need to be Exorcist sickly — although that would have been a great in-joke — but somewhere in between would have been realistic.

2. Charlton Heston was the action badass of his day, and he and the brusque George Kennedy made a good team.

3. In what other Seventies movie could you see Ponch, Mr. Roper and Regan all together? Too bad none of them interacted here.

4. Man, Sid Caesar is annoying in this movie.

5. “You mean the stewardess is flying the plane?!?”

We are so screwed...
(Still courtesy of CinemaDeMerde.com.)

6. Karen Black may have been known for her wild roles in horror flicks (I loved her in Burnt Offerings), but her crazy eyes really worked well here.

7. Can an Air Force helicopter really keep up with a 747? Is it really possible for someone to be lowered from a copter to a plane that size and succeed? Probably not. But it looks awesome.

8. Jerry Stiller and Normal Fell proved that even in the Seventies it was clearly bad to let people drink on planes. And they really should stop it now. You can’t deal with flying, take a sedative. If you have emotional problems, that’s your own issue. Don’t drink and make things worse.

9. You ever notice how a lot of “all-star casts” from back in the day were comprised of a lot of regular looking people? Today it would only be beautiful people, many of whom have had plastic surgery. I miss the average looking character actors of the Seventies.

10. Can an airport executive really bully the Air Force like that?

11. I totally get why the Airplane! team parodied Helen Reddy’s spontaneous singing nun bit. Hilarious.

12. As a cinematic hero, Heston is cool, but I disliked his hardline gun rights and anti-abortion stances. He did, however, support civil rights and opposed the Vietnam War. I guess you could say he wasn’t easy to pigeonhole.

13. It’s interesting how disaster movies became the sanctuary for many aging Hollywood stars who might not have fit into more current blockbuster films. But hey, talk about marketing to multiple generations!

14. After his airport executive character is harassed by a pushy news reporter, George Kennedy utters this immortal line: “Sometimes the public’s right to know gives me a huge pain in the ass!”

15. Shouldn’t the stewardess practically be frozen after sitting for a lengthy period of time in a cockpit with a huge hole in it in an airliner flying roughly two miles above ground?

16. I’m kind of impressed that this only cost $3 million. That’s roughly $13.25 million today. Who says you need crazy amounts of CGI for a disaster movie?

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