This is an all time classic in the thriller genre and perhaps the best air flight thriller ever made, although films on this matter tend to always be superb. It's difficult not to make an air flight exciting, especially under a bomb threat. The bomb man here isn't just anyone but Edmond O'Brien in one of his most unforgettable characters, a man at the end of his tether, disqualified, calling himself both a chemist and engineer but reduced to a mechanic, and he sets about for a joy ride that will be his last, although staying on the ground, but he sure will have his kicks out of it.
The second gang leader of the plot here is Van Johnson in also one of his most remarkable characters, although he always makes an impression by highly sustained and sorely tried characters, and here he is in charge of a flight that can't get down. It is doomed to remain hanging in the air forever, reduced to atoms on the way.
But things are happening that neither the bomb man nor the flight captain have no idea of, no control of and totally beyond their wildest imagination. There are many memorable scenes here, but everything is perfectly credible and genuine, the reactions, the individuals, the veteran from Vietnam and the change he is going through although a nervous wreck, the struggle of the personnel, everything is perfectly realistic.
My favourtite scene must though be the long drama at the bar, which never ends and constantly goes from one lucid moment to another. In brief, it's a wonderful film, gilded all the way by a splendid dialogue, - and what fun Edmond O'Brien must have had in making this part!
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