You know you’re on some kind of slippery footing when you sit down to watch a movie called Airport 1975 (that’s the onscreen title) that was released in 1974. And that’s only the beginning of the parade of goofiness that is this film. It’s still better than anything Michael Bay has ever touched, though.
Another all-star cast is in place for this one, but only four or five real stars are in the film. The rest of the actors came from somewhere in the middle of the celebrity list, just in front of Rodney Allen Rippy and The Defranco Family (featuring Tony Defranco!). I mean, Erik Estrada? Norman Fell? LARRY STORCH?!
The plot, in a nutshell: Dana Andrews (Curse of the Demon) has a heart attack while flying his small plane and crashes into the cockpit of a 747, killing and/or maiming the crew. Head stewardess Karen Black (Trilogy of Terror) has to try to fly the plane via radio instructions from her pilot boyfriend, Charlton Heston (Planet of the Apes). Ed Nelson (The Brain Eaters) attempts to transfer into the hole in the cockpit while attached to a tether from a military helicopter, but fails. Charlton tries the same thing, but he succeeds in getting into the cockpit to try to land the plane. Other Psychotronic cast members include Linda Blair (The Exorcist), Beverly Garland (It Conquered the World), Roy Thinnes (Journey to the Far Side of the Sun), and Austin Stoker (Abby). Gloria Swanson (Killer Bees), making her last film appearance, plays herself, and she’s one of the most annoying and needless characters ever to be inserted into a film just for the sake of having another “name” star. If her assistant looks familiar, it’s because she’s Linda Harrison, who co-starred along with Charlton in Planet of the Apes as Nova—only this time she’s acting under the name Augusta Summerland, which she used for about three years. Go figure.
The script is awful, with some of the worst lines reserved for Gloria Swanson and Helen Reddy, who plays a singing nun. Her scene with Linda Blair was parodied mercilessly in Airplane! She co-wrote the awful song she sings as well. Here’re some of the insipid lyrics:
That’s why I am a best friend to myself,
And I take me out whenever I feel low,
And I make my life as happy as a best friend would,
I’m as nice to me as anyone I know.
–from “Best Friend,” music and lyrics by Helen Reddy and R. Burton
I’m sure that you, like me, are wondering how the Academy overlooked “Best Friend” when it came time for picking the Best Song nominees for that year.
The best line in the film comes courtesy of Charlton Heston. After he’s made it into the cockpit, he sends Karen Black back to her stewardessing duties, telling her to “Go do your thing, baby.” I’m going to try to use that line at least once a day on somebody.
Here’s the trailer from YouTube:
Psychotronica Redux: Links ‘r’ Us! Now go do your thing, baby!