The World According to Keitho

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Posts Tagged ‘Burt Lancaster’

Airport!

Posted by keithosaunders on May 4, 2011

No, this is not another rant about airport security!  I was scanning through the cable channels after watching a Dodgers/Cubs game, when I came across the film, Airport.  I remember seeing this with my parents when it came out — I must have been 10 years old at the time.  Since then I’ve seen it on TV a handful of times, but not in many years.

For those not old enough to remember, Airport is a film about a bomb that goes off on a transatlantic flight, and the crew’s attempts to land the plane.  You may remember the Jim Abrahams /David Zucker send-up called Airplane, starring Leslie Nielson and Lloyd Bridges, which was released in 1980.  (It’s actually a better film!)

Airport, released in 1970, was the first disaster movie.  It presaged Earthquake, The Poseidon Adventure, and The Towering Inferno by a few years.  It was what passed for a blockbuster in the age before Jaws and Star Wars.  It had a high-wattage cast of thousands, which included a middle-aged, but still handsome, Burt Lancaster, Dean Martin, Maureen Stapleton, Van Heflin, Jean Seberg, Jacqueline Bisset, Helen Hayes — who won an oscar for best supporting actress —  and George Kennedy.

I came in just as it was getting good, as the passengers were boarding the plane.  I was struck by how different plane travel was in those days, particularly the airport security, or lack thereof.  Hayes plays a women who is known for stowing away on plane flights.  She is able to board the plane simply by telling a random airport worker that her son has left his wallet, and ‘could she please return it to him.’  “Hurry,”  the worker tells her, “run and give it to him before the flight leaves!”  Just like that she is able to get on the plane.  Come to think of it, I have memories of those days —  I once was allowed to board a plane to say goodbye to my aunt. 

Heflin, plays a down on his luck ex-GI who plans on blowing up the plane so that his wife can collect the insurance.  His bomb is in an attaché case which he clings to suspiciously as he wlks onto the plane.  One of the workers notices this, and when he mentions it to his superior he is told, “I would worry if he was arriving from overseas and going through customs.  Let the authorities in Rome handle it.” 

That was all it took for the movie to rope me in.  To tell you the truth, it was surprisingly watchable, even though the special effects are laughably primitive.  The long shots of the airplane in flight look particularly fake and the night shots contain some of the fakest looking stars I have ever seen.  The film does manage to build suspense, however, and there is quaintness to the matter of fact way that it goes about telling its tale. 

Somehow they are able to land the plane without any casualities, except for Heflin who dies when the bomb explodes.  The film ends with Lancaster driving off into the sunrise to have breakfast, and sleep with Jean Seberg.  Of course she’s  at least 25 years his junior, but hey, he’s Burt Lancaster. 

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Let’s talk turkey

Posted by keithosaunders on November 26, 2010

I spent Thanksgiving with my father in Las Vegas.   We had our “dinner” at 1 in the afternoon, which I initially thought to be way too early of a starting time.  In effect, however, it dovetailed perfectly with the NFL schedule allowing us to see most, if not all of the three games. 

The Lions were blown out in the early game but they did us the favour of jumping out to a big lead.  True, they gave us false hope of an improbable upset over Bill Belichick and the hated Patriots, but hey, they kept it close until the 4th quarter thereby giving us more joy than we had a right to expect from this ill begotten team.

We were finished with “dinner” by 2:30 which allowed us to repair to the living room for the  Dallas-New Orleans contest.  By the time we got to it the score was 17-0 Saints leading us to believe we were in for a long afternoon.  Not that either of us are Dallas fans — far from it — we just craved a competitive matchup while we digested our food.

Lo and behold the game turned around and Dallas actually went in front 27-23 late in the 4th and had the ball to boot.   When Roy Williams caught a breakaway pass late in the period it looked as if they would ice the game, but all of a sudden a defender, Malcolm Jenkins, snatched the ball away from for the turnover.  The Saints then drove 89 yards for the go-ahead score.  The game was not over, though, and Dallas actually got into position for a tieing 59 yard field goal.  The kick had the distance but went wide left.  Ballgame. 

The announcers couldn’t get over the brilliance of Jenkin’s takeaway.  To these amateur eyes, however, it looked like Williams could have covered the ball up more than he did. He has to know that even if he doesn’t score, as long as he keeps possetion, the game is probably over.   At worst it would have ended up tied going into overtime, allowing for more Thanksgiving day football!

Full disclosure:  We didn’t watch most of the Jets game.  The Kirk Douglas, Burt Lancaster film, Seven Days in May came on TCM and once we flipped to it during a break in the Jets game we couldn’t turn away.  It’s a tense, political thriller that seems just as relevant to today as it did in the cold war ’60s.

So there you have it.  I heartedly recommend the early Thanksgiving dinner.  It is the sports fan’s best friend.

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