Crash Landing (1958)

76-77 mins | Drama | February 1958

Director:

Fred F. Sears

Writer:

Fred Freiberger

Producer:

Sam Katzman

Cinematographer:

Benjamin Kline

Editor:

Jerome Thoms

Production Designers:

Paul Palmentola, Cary Odell

Production Company:

Clover Productions, Inc.
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HISTORY

The working title of this film was Rescue at Sea . The film opens with an offscreen narrator introducing the crew and passengers of Trans Atlantic flight 627. ... More Less

The working title of this film was Rescue at Sea . The film opens with an offscreen narrator introducing the crew and passengers of Trans Atlantic flight 627. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
10 Feb 1958.
---
Daily Variety
29 Jan 58
p. 3.
Film Daily
31 Jan 58
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Aug 1957
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Jan 58
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
1 Feb 58
p. 697.
Variety
5 Feb 58
p. 20.
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Rescue at Sea
Release Date:
February 1958
Production Date:
6 August--16 August 1957
Copyright Claimant:
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
28 February 1958
Copyright Number:
LP10270
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound Recording
Black and White
Widescreen/ratio
1.85:1
Duration(in mins):
76-77
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
18817
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Midway in its journey from Lisbon, Portugal to New York City, Trans Atlantic flight 627 develops serious trouble when two engines flame out. As Capt. Steve Williams tries to pilot the crippled craft, he reflects back on his rocky relationship with his wife Helen and young son Barrie: At the Williamses’ apartment in Lisbon, Barrie eagerly anticipates attending a party. On a forty-eight hour layover until his next flight, Steve returns home and learns that Barrie gave away his new bike because he was afraid to ride it. Angry that the reticent Barrie prefers listening to music over engaging in more boyishly roughneck activities, Steve forbids him to go to the party. Helen, disturbed by Steve’s martinet-like attitude toward his family, accuses him of failing as both a husband and father. At the airport, Steve’s crew—co-pilot John Smithback, engineer Howard Whitney and navigator Jed Sutton—grumble about being assigned to work under the autocratic Steve. Outside the terminal building, John assures little Teddy Burton, a passenger on the flight, that his dog Wilbur will be safe in the rear of the plane. At baggage check-in, Bernice Willouby anxiously checks her luggage and meets first-class passenger Maurice Stanley while standing in line. After the plane takes off, the womanizing John tries to make a date with stewardess Ann Thatcher, but she rebuffs his overtures. In the first-class cabin, self-made tycoon Arthur White belittles Calvin Havelick, a member of his board of directors, for having inherited his social register status and never having to fight for anything. White then threatens to remove Havelick from the board unless he supports his positions. At ... +


Midway in its journey from Lisbon, Portugal to New York City, Trans Atlantic flight 627 develops serious trouble when two engines flame out. As Capt. Steve Williams tries to pilot the crippled craft, he reflects back on his rocky relationship with his wife Helen and young son Barrie: At the Williamses’ apartment in Lisbon, Barrie eagerly anticipates attending a party. On a forty-eight hour layover until his next flight, Steve returns home and learns that Barrie gave away his new bike because he was afraid to ride it. Angry that the reticent Barrie prefers listening to music over engaging in more boyishly roughneck activities, Steve forbids him to go to the party. Helen, disturbed by Steve’s martinet-like attitude toward his family, accuses him of failing as both a husband and father. At the airport, Steve’s crew—co-pilot John Smithback, engineer Howard Whitney and navigator Jed Sutton—grumble about being assigned to work under the autocratic Steve. Outside the terminal building, John assures little Teddy Burton, a passenger on the flight, that his dog Wilbur will be safe in the rear of the plane. At baggage check-in, Bernice Willouby anxiously checks her luggage and meets first-class passenger Maurice Stanley while standing in line. After the plane takes off, the womanizing John tries to make a date with stewardess Ann Thatcher, but she rebuffs his overtures. In the first-class cabin, self-made tycoon Arthur White belittles Calvin Havelick, a member of his board of directors, for having inherited his social register status and never having to fight for anything. White then threatens to remove Havelick from the board unless he supports his positions. At Ann’s behest, Maurice goes to calm the nervous Bernice. After Bernice tells him that she is an unmarried New York City schoolteacher, Maurice confides that he is a widower and describes how the death of his wife made him unable to function in his business and social life. While visiting the passenger cabin, Steve observes Teddy’s warm relationship with his father and wonders why he and Barrie are so estranged. As the plane passes the point of no return, Steve senses that there is something wrong with one of the engines. His thoughts returning to the present, Steve radios a nearby U.S. destroyer for help. After receiving permission to ditch the plane in the sea, Steve notifies the passengers about the emergency landing. As the passengers don their life jackets, the tough-talking White crumbles in fear. After John reassures the passengers and explains the importance of staying in their seats to maintain the balance of the aircraft, he comforts the shaken Ann and hugs her. Fearing that the passengers will stampede and throw the plane dangerously off balance, Steve decides to ditch the plane as soon as possible, even though it means crashing into the ocean at night. As Bernice holds Maurice’s hand, Teddy refuses to leave his dog in the rear of the plane. Steve intervenes to reassure the boy and promises to put Teddy’s cap in Wilbur’s cage so that the canine will know he is thinking of him. Back in the cockpit, Steve, hoping to increase the odds of survival, resolves to wait until daylight to crash-land the plane. As dawn approaches, Havelick screws up his courage and informs White that he will not rubber-stamp his decisions. When the plane hits the water, the passengers are violently tossed about in their seats. After the life rafts are launched, the travelers climb out the windows and onto the inflated rafts and are met by sailors in life boats. As the last passengers disembark, Steve risks his life to go to the back of the plane and save Wilbur. Back in Lisbon, Steve kisses his son, and after giving him a package of phonograph records, apologizes to Barrie and Helen for his sternness. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.