Island in the Sky is directed by William A. Wellman and adapted by Ernest K. Gann from his own novel of the same name. It stars John Wayne, Lloyd Nolan, James Arness, Andy Devine, Harry Carey Junior, James Lydon, Hal Baylor, Sean McClory, Wally Cassell and Allyn Joslyn. Music is by Emil Newman and cinematography by Archie Stout and William H. Clothier.
Captain Dooley (Wayne) and the rest of the crew of the Douglas C-3 Skytrain are forced to emergency land in an icy unchartered section of Labrador, Canada. While waiting and hoping for rescue, the men have to suffer hunger and extreme winter conditions. But as the rescue team formed back at ATH soon finds out, locating the stricken men will not be easy, thus the days start to tick by...
Long out of circulation due to legal issues, Island in the Sky came out of the clouds in 2005 to be rightly reappraised. It's a film that is very much a mixed bag yet easy to recommend to classic movie fans.
Tech credits are near exemplary, with Stout, Clothier and Wellman really making this something of an aviation themed essential. The cast, too, are almost across the board impressive with the principals each contributing something of worth to the story, and while Newman's score is not for everyone, it pitches the blends just right for dramatic and emotional worth. However, much of the drama is shunted off the runway by cutaways to scenes of pointless comedy relief, flashbacks that do nothing but take you out of the human survival interest and the narration tool is badly used. Yet with an air of authenticity about the portrayal of the search and rescue operation, the men under survival circumstance dynamic at film's core, picture comes out in credit to defy its obvious flaws. 7/10