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A bunch of average guys stranded in the middle of the deadly desert, all facing their own demons - or at least imps...))),
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This review is from: Flight Of The Phoenix [DVD] (DVD)
This is a very good psychological drama mixed with an adventure film. Below, more of my impressions, with some limited SPOILERS.
Made in 1965 by the great Robert Aldrich, this is a long film (147 minutes) and it is mostly slow paced, mostly filled with dialogs rather than with drama. The first time I tried to watch it, I got tired after about 40 minutes - and had to postpone the watching of the rest a couple of days. When I resumed the watching, it went much much better - therefore my advice would be to NOT try to see this film after a long day of work (that was my mistake) or if your kids and chipmunks gave you hard time during the bed time battle or if you are at home with a flu. Wait until you are rested and ready for a two hours and a half of drama. Then you will be able to appreciate all the treats fully.
The first treasure of this film is of course the cast, of which the principal (not all) members are:
- James Stewart as Frank Towns, a bitter veteran pilot, down on his luck, captain of a battered Fairchild C-82 Packet cargo plane, belonging to a fictitious Arabco Oil Co.
- Richard Attenborough as Lew Moran, alcoholic navigator with a speech impediment,
- Hardy Kruger, as Heinrich Dorfmann, German citizen (it has importance), aeronautical engineer by trade (but having also a REALLY BIG secret!)
- Ernest Borgnine, as Trucker Cobb, a foreman on a desertic oil field, being med-evacuated for nervous breakdown
- Christian Marquand (French actor), as Dr. Renaud, a French doctor
- Peter Finch, as Captain Harris from British Army, definitely not a very bright bloke but absolutely fearless
- Ronald Fraser, as Sergeant Watson from British Army, a natural-born survivor
- Ian Bannen, as "Ratbags" Crow, a blue collar worker; wise-cracking, annoying guy - in fact kind of an @-hole...
- Dan Duryea, as Standish, an accountant, slightly removed from the real world and not fully grasping the seriousness of the whole situation...)))
- Gabriele Tinti (Italian actor), as Gabriel, an Italian blue collar worker
I am not going to tell anything about the plot - but this being a survival drama, you can reasonably expect that some people above will NOT survive. This movie covers all the stages of a cinematographico-catastrophic case of post-traumatic stress disorder - of which I will not say anything more either...
The tension in the film is due of course not only to the extended dramatic situation, but especially to the clash of characters. With the exception of Towns and Moran, those people never met before and here they are all of a sudden forced to share a very perilous adventure with a bunch of other blokes they mostly do not like at all...))) The slow, detailed study of all those psychological or even psychiatrical cases (as every shrink knows, there is no sane people - only poorly diagnosed ones) is what makes this film such a classic.
It is NOT an easy film and NOT an easy watch - but if you persist just a little in the beginning, you will be greatly rewarded! Enjoy!