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Airport 1975

Businessman Andrews has a heart attack while flying his small plane, which smashes into a jumbo 747, killing the flight crew and leaving a gaping hole in the cockpit. The pilot's seat is quickly taken by courageous cross-eyed stewardess Black, who flies the plane over hill and dale while the passengers recall their wicked ways and have apoplectic attacks. Heston tries to instruct the hysterical Black on how to fly the big crate but then decides to lower himself through the hole in the plane via helicopter (another pilot attempts it and gets splattered). He is successful and brings the ship to a perilous landing on the runway readied by gruff grounds chief Kennedy, who has not stopped huffing and puffing since the original AIRPORT. This film, with a whole new cast of miscasts, is even more mindless than its predecessor. Passenger Swanson spends most of her time making up that great silent-film face. Loy is wasted as a drunk oblivious to her possible fate. And nun Reddy plucks a guitar and blithely sings as the plane is about to crash, exemplifying the absurdity of the film. Production achievements were astounding, however. A real 747 was used (at $52,000 a day)--no miniature--and stunt man Joe Canutt actually spent an hour dangling out of the helicopter that followed the jet at 8,000 feet over the magnificent Rocky Mountains, while shooting the transfer scene. Heston practiced flying a 747 at the American Airlines simulator in Dallas and then really flew the monster for an hour and a half. Universal's tally sheets were black on this one, $3 million investment for a $25 million-plus return, thus assuring the world of yet another sequel.