A slick, glossy multi-character soap opera set in London's airport. Burton and Elizabeth Taylor shine in this film, which was shot after CLEOPATRA but released to a panting public before the aforementioned epic left the "road show" theaters. Burton signed on to do the movie, and Taylor
kiddingly suggested she'd like to be in it as well; she was offered the role on the spot. As fog rolls in over London, the regular flight to the US has been temporarily grounded by the pea soup. Several people are desperate to get off the ground that night for various reasons. They are all
strangers, but in the time they must spend in the airport's waiting lounge, they get to know each other fast. Taylor is a fleeing wife who has left her immensely wealthy husband, Burton, to seek a new life in the US with Jourdan, her lover. She is convinced that Burton no longer cares for her and
she will not play second fiddle to anyone. She'd left him a "Dear Paul" letter. After reading it, Burton makes a beeline to the airport in the hopes of winning his spouse back. She thought that he wouldn't read the note until she was safe in the sky. In this, the first of the stories, Burton and
Taylor eventually do reconcile, but not before Burton has some agonizing moments as he contemplates how lonely his life would be without her. He comes out of his macho shell, tells her straightaway how much he adores her, and that problem is solved. But there are other woeful people seated in that
lounge. Welles (doing a fine impersonation of Welles as a middle-European film director) is in the lounge with his accountant, Miller, and his latest "discovery," Martinelli. He is a rich director who spends his time in various countries to avoid paying income taxes anywhere. If he's not out of
England by midnight, all of his money will be erased by their high taxes. Miller, a conniving accountant with Byzantine ideas, comes up with the answer. If Welles marries Martinelli, he can legally transfer his wealth to her, thus avoiding the Inland Revenue scythe. Rod Taylor is an Australian
entrepreneur who must get to New York by the following day to secure financing in order to hold off a hostile takeover of his tractor manufacturing company. Smith is Rod Taylor's devoted secretary and secretly in love with him. She prevails on the rich Burton to lend Taylor the money to tide him
over. The final and most delightful of all the plots concerns Rutherford as a dotty duchess. She is in danger of losing her estate because she can't afford to keep it up. Thus she has secured a job in Florida as a social hostess so she can raise the cash. Rutherford is losing her marbles and has
to take pills to relieve her fear of flying. She is rescued from having to fly by Welles' deciding to shoot his next film on her estate and paying her in advance for the rental.
Lots of humor, especially from Rutherford in a role that won her the Best Supporting Actress Award. TV's David Frost made his film debut here as a reporter, and all of the other actors were splendid. This kind of movie, a GRAND HOTEL in a smaller space, could have been a crashing bore, but
Asquith's snappy direction and some bright lines from Rattigan's script saved the day. Filmed in England for a reasonable figure, it made scads of money wherever it was shown. While shooting, the working title was "International Hotel." Smith was excellent, and it was a toss-up as to which actress
(Taylor or Smith) would be nominated for the Oscar. Rozsa's score sounded a little too much like his music for BEN-HUR.
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- Rating: NR
- Review: A slick, glossy multi-character soap opera set in London's airport. Burton and Elizabeth Taylor shine in this film, which was shot after CLEOPATRA but released to a panting public before the aforementioned epic left the "road show" theaters. Burton signed… (more)