Saturday, Aug 19 at 1:00 pm
Location: Redstone Theater
Dir. George Seaton. 1970, 137 mins. New 70mm print. With Burt Lancaster, Dean Martin, Jean Seberg, Jacqueline Bisset, George Kennedy, Helen Hayes, Van Heflin, Maureen Stapleton. Based on Arthur Hailey’s best-selling novel and epically filmed by 70mm veteran Ernest Laszlo (It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World; Star!), Airport chronicles one hair-raising night in which a terrorized passenger airliner is headed straight for a blizzard-beset Chicago airport. Though it harkened back to hoary storytelling of the pre–New Hollywood mainstream, Airport nevertheless sparked the star-studded disaster blockbuster genre (exemplified in the ensuing years by The Poseidon Adventure and The Towering Inferno) that is still going strong today. Lancaster leads the cast on the ground as Airport Manager Mel Bakersfeld, while brother-in-law Martin flies a Boeing 707 populated by his stewardess mistress (Bisset) and a suicide bomber (Academy Award–winner Heflin, in his final big-screen role). Despite receiving tepid reviews, Airport proved to be a massive hit at the box office and earned 10 Academy Award nominations and a Best Supporting Actress win for the legendary Hayes.
Airport and its sequels also gave rise to the spoofs Airplane! and Airplane II: The Sequel, which mocked plot points, characters, and even lines of dialogue from Seaton’s self-serious source material, forming an uncanny echo chamber of pop culture Americana. On the same day, see the classic spoof Airplane! at MoMI! Get tickets now!