I’ve always been loath to state my age, or even hint at it. Vanity? Maybe. But you’ll have an idea, anyway, when I post this review . . . a flight down memory lane. <LOL> So be it.
The aim of this post, and a few to come, is to review books that I enjoyed over the years, that may have influenced me (this is how to write) or stayed with me (lesson learned).
In this one-off case, it’s actually the movie (later the book) that captured this kid’s interest—and awe. Her parents, on a rare outing, took her to a mammoth cinema with draping curtains, plush seats, and fancy chandeliers (at least, that’s how this wide-eyed kid remembers it).
As soon as the lavish curtains lifted and the lights dimmed, excitement coursed through me (and it wasn’t courtesy of the sugar surge from a mega-sized chocolate bar). Then, the music started. Intense, feverish, hypnotic. On the colossal screen: a raging blizzard, hurtling snowplows, active airport. I was riveted!
American composer, arranger and conductor of film music, Alfred Newman created the fantastic music to Airport. It still brings on chills of excitement every time I watch it—which is often. That it dates back to 1970 is irrelevant. It’s still entertaining and exciting, the “comfort food” of films.
Quick background: based on Arthur Hailey’s bestselling novel of the same name, it was written and directed by George Seaton, screenwriter/playwright/producer, and starred Burt Lancaster and Dean Martin. Other central characters were tragedy-to-come Jean Seberg, destined-star Jacqueline Bisset, and ever-lovely Helen Hayes.
Years later, I picked up the book and enjoyed all 440 pages immensely. The intertwining lives of the various characters makes for a first-rate soap opera. (The next time I watched the movie, I understood the underlying relationships and reactions. Not that you need to read Airport to watch it, but it’s a nice little bonus.)
The storyline? Well, the film—the first of the 70s disaster flicks—takes place in a Chicago airport during a blizzard. One plane has managed to bury itself in the deep snow, blocking a vital, much-used runway. The King of Cool (Dean Martin for those not familiar with the nickname) is the pilot of a Rome-bound flight, one that needs urgently to turn around from its intended destination and land on that blocked runway. The reason? Ooooh, that would give away the plot. Can’t do that. But, I promise, it’s gripping.
A simple summary, but a fun watch. And an enjoyable read.
Arthur Hailey, by the by, is a British-Canadian author who also penned Hotel (on which the TV series was based), The Moneychangers (which became a mini-series), and The Evening News, among others. Interestingly enough, some critics found him a “plodding writer” while others believed he was a talented storyteller. I strongly agree with the latter.
I fly down memory lane (also known as Airport Lane) a lot film-wise. But I’ve decided I’d like to re-visit the book. I’m looking forward to a[nother] most pleasant flight.