1980 - Dir: Jim Abrahams, Jerry Zucker, David Zucker
Shown at The FeckenOdeon on 27th September, 2008
It seems improbable but this piece of jolly chaos is a a groundbreaking motion picture milestone - honest! The studios had been churning out increasingly pompous high budget disaster movies - "Airport", "Earthquake", "Towering Inferno", "Jaws", etc - in which vast casts of Hollywood’s fading stars were incinerated, drowned, crushed, eaten or otherwise disposed of amid loud rumblings and lashings of screaming. When "Airplane" appeared it seemed that it was just another dose of the same... and then word got out. It was if, all of a sudden, Hollywood had discovered how to laugh again. It’s a gloriously silly movie - a bit hit and miss if truth be told - but it made us all think that, surely, the terrible things that happen in life are just too terrible to be taken seriously... DON’T CALL ME SHIRLEY!
Four years earlier "The Big Bus" had tried the same sort of thing (a rocket powered Greyhound bus runs out of control) but, although it’s a very funny film, it didn’t succeed at the box office.
Universal threatened to pull out of "Airplane" several times during production because it ridiculed their own disaster pictures. It later overflew all of them at the box office.
The catchy German title for "Airplane" translates as "The Incredible Trip in a Crazy Airplane"... Ho Ho? Is funny - Ja?